Mayor Island, (Tuhua) New Zealand

Mayor Island is the visible portion of a 700m high, 15km-wide shield volcano which has produced virtually every known style of eruption, including Hawaiian fire-fountaining, Strombolian explosions and Plinian pumice falls. Currently resting between volcanic displays (which are usually several thousand years apart), it’s strikingly beautiful and peaceful with crater lakes, hot springs and soaring native forest. A wildlife refuge for more than 50 years, the island is home to nectar-feeding bellbirds and tui, wood pigeons, morepork, fantails, kaka (brown parrot), grey warblers, waxeyes, kingfishers and, soaring on the thermals, harrier hawks. Walks through the impressively tall forest lead to Lake Aroarotamahine, which is green, and Lake Te Paritu, which is almost black. Some of Mayor’s eruptions created obsidian, a black volcanic glass that results from the rapid cooling of silica-rich lava. It’s possible to find pieces of obsidian on the beach. The waters around Tuhua are prized by game fishermen - marlin, mako and swordfish are regularly caught here.

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