Mitre Peak is probably one of the most iconic South Island mountains. It lies on the shores of the Milford Sound, which is largely revered for its hiking terrain and sublime scenery. A distinctive peak shape that largely resembles a Christian bishop’s mitre is what gives this mountain its name. Mite Peak has a height of 1,690 metres (5,560 feet) and is very difficult to climb. Boat cruises are the best way to see this natural wonder from up close.
Mount Tarawera was responsible for one of the largest volcanic eruptions in New Zealand’s history. This North Island volcano is situated just 24 kilometres (14.9 miles) outside of Rotorua, and consists of an awe-inducing series of lava dome fissures that were melded by its most recent – and most destructive – eruption, which occurred in 1886 and took the lives of approximately 120 people. These days, the Tarawera Trail is one of best ways to get familiar with this mountain’s landscape and significance. There are also guided tours around Mt Tarawera for those who want to get a bit of local insight into the majestic volcanic wonder they’re seeing.
Towering above the desert in the middle of New Zealand's north island, breathtaking Mount Ruapehu is an active volcano with unimpeded, awe inspiring views reaching all the way to the coast. The remarkable alpine terrain is capped off by its own crater lake, warmed by volcanic activity, steaming at the summit. Mount Ruapehu is enjoyed year round by hikers, skiers, snowboarders, botanists, geologists and nature lovers alike.
At the Cape, the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean in a spectacular swirl of currents. At the northernmost tip of the Cape is a gnarled pohutukawa tree, believed to be over 800 years old. According to Maori oral history, the spirits of deceased Maori leap from this tree into the ocean to return to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki.