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New Zealandís North and South Islands are separated by Cook Strait crossed by ferries sailing between the small town of Picton in the South and the nationís capital Wellington in the north. Further north, New Zealandís volcanic plateau is the location of a number of active volcanoes: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. To the west is Taranaki with its distinctive symmetrical cone shaped peak.
North of the plateau are a number of lakes formed by volcanism including Taupo and Rotorua, both situated inside ancient volcanic craters. Throughout the thermal region steam vents and hot water from beneath the earth bubble to the surface. During our aerial journey over the plateau we pass surreal jade green sulfate lakes and at times the entire landscape appears to fume and boil. Maori have lived within the geothermal landscape for generations and the region is home to the Te Arawa people who cook food in the boiling spring water.
White Island situated just off the north eastern coastline is actually the summit of an undersea volcano located on a fault in the earthís crust known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.