Mount Taranaki looms majestically over New Plymouth, on its own peninsula on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The mythical mountain is obscured from view most days of the year, shrouded by its low-hanging clouds. But now it stood there, clearly visible and beckoning in all its glory. I literally skidded to a halt when I saw it, and changed my direction there & then. It was calling me and I had to go. Mount Taranaki draws you in to explore its lofty top and many hiking tracks.
The hot spring valley of Hveradalir in the Kerlingarfjöll mountains is something out of this world. Breathtaking views unfold into a steaming geothermal valley padded with snowfields clinging to the slopes, and shapes and colours so magnificient that you wonder if it’s even real. It’s like you’ve stepped into a surrealistic painting. Find out how to get to this otherworldly landscape and hike around the steaming valleys in the Icelandic highlands.
Reykjanes Peninsula is smoking hot. It may look desolate on first sight, but there are a lot of hidden treasures in its rugged interior. Including active (and sometimes erupting!) volcanoes. You will also find a myriad of steaming vents, bubbling mudpools, colourful rocks & mountains, tranquil lakes, faulty fissures and lava flows covered in thick fluffy moss. It’s a volcanic playground well worth exploring.
The Aeolian Islands in south Italy are the stuff of legends and a geological paradise. Stromboli, the ancient lighthouse of the Mediterranean, is famous for its fountain eruptions. Vulcano gave its name to the eruptive mountains we now know as volcanoes. Regular ferries from Naples or Milazzo on Sicily to Stromboli, Lipari and Vulcano make it easy to go island hopping between volcanoes on the Aeolian Islands.
What is it with this spell that Iceland does to you? My first visit was a sponttaneous short trip to see a concert of Sigur Rós in Reykjavík. Little did I expect to be blown away in more ways than one… I got lost in some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen. It was full of steaming fields and craggy mountains with countless waterfalls tumbling from their hallucinating green edges. The overwhelming beauty of Iceland just keeps you coming back for more.
Ngauruhoe featured as the terrifying Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies. It’s one of the many cones of the vast Tongariro complex. You can explore Ngauruhoe and its surrounding area on the Tongariro Crossing, a beautiful walking track along 20 kilometres of steaming and colourful volcanic terrain from Mangatepopo to Ketetahi in New Zealand.