Mount Taranaki looms majestically over New Plymouth, on ithe west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. The mythical mountain that is obscured from view most days of the year, shrouded by its own low-hanging clouds. But now it stood there, clearly visible, 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.
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 snow fields 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.
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 is the namegiver of eruptive mountains we now know as volcanoes. Regular ferries from Naples or Milazzo on Sicily going to Stromboli, Lipari and Vulcano make it easy to go island hopping on the Aeolian Islands.
The walk to the top of Eldfell is the one every visitor to Heimaey wants to do. It’s that famous volcano that spectacularly erupted out of nowhere in January 1973. Eldfell is very colourful, the track is easily accessible, and the views are absolutely stunning in all directions. From the top you can gawk onto the impressive lava flow that was furiously roiling & boiling only a few decades ago, and single-handedly enlarged the island by several square kilometers. It’s incredible to think it didn’t even exist 50 years ago.