Ice ages, fault lines, volcanic zones and tectonic plate movements have all made their mark on New Zealand. Ours is a dynamic environment, sandwiched between two oceans and perched on the Pacific Ring of Fire. When extreme events happen below or above the earth’s surface, unusual scenery is often the result.
Take the south-western corner of the South Island as an example. Here a procession of ice ages wrought an impressive collection of fiords. Further up the coast, there are two glaciers that refuse to believe the ice age is over - they’re still creeping down into the rainforest.
For absolute in-your-face phenomena, the North Island never fails to satisfy. Active volcanic regions, including a marine volcano that you can walk through, are outward expressions of internal turmoil. Take a wander through the geothermal areas around Rotorua and Taupo - fumaroles, craters and geysers are endlessly fascinating. And what about boiling mud? It has to be the strangest thing you’ll ever find in a public park.