Marine Reserves formed from Volcanoes

21st October 2014

Some of the world’s greatest islands are formed from volcanoes, and you can find three of them amongst New Zealand’s Marine Reserve collection. The volcanic landscape of these Marine Reserves makes them especially rugged in places. At the same time, volcanic islands are safe to travel to, and wondrous to enjoy. At some, you can even find hot springs, which gives you a fantastic chance to relish in nature’s answer to a spa.

Campbell Island

Campbell Island is New Zealand’s southernmost island. Made from the battered remains of a volcano, it is characterised by steep cliffs, beaches made from boulders, and some sandy areas. While you may not have as much joy at Campbell Island as a diver as you will at Volkner or Mayor, there are plenty of penguins for you to enjoy. As well as featuring an abundance of penguins, there are more than 20 species of albatross. In many cases, individuals who want to visit Campbell Island can only do so as part of a tour group. In exceptional cases, the Department of Conservation (DOC) will grant a permit to land to individuals. However, there is a strict minimum impact code you must adhere to while there.

Volkner Rocks

Even this island’s name screams that it has been formed from volcanic rocks. One of the most remarkable aspects of Volkner Rocks’ marine life is the abundance of sharks and stingrays there. Admittedly, these creatures are not to everyone’s tastes. However, if you do have a liking for nature’s wilder side, it is well worth your attention. Sharks and stingrays aside, those who love to marvel at nature’s miracles can wait for pink and blue maomao to come out to feed, which turns the water into their respective colours. Despite the marine life being a little wild in the seas surrounding Volkner Rocks, the shores closer to the islands are ideal for scuba diving. However, you must keep the history of Volkner Rocks in mind before you dive. It was once a bombing site for New Zealand’s air force. Most of the bombs are gone now, but if you see anything that resembles one you should raise the alarm immediately.

Mayor Island

Mayor Island sounds like a majestic place to visit, and the sea life there certainly ensure the area meets visitors’ expectations. Made from a collapsed volcano, this uninhabited island is even open to overnight visitors during the summer months. Cabins and tent sites are available, but you should book in advance to avoid disappointment. While there, don’t miss out on the chance to make the most of the subtropical climate. Maomao flourish in the area, alongside pretty reefs. Combined, these features make both snorkelling and scuba diving a great use of your time. If you choose to head inshore, you can walk through Pohutukawa Forest to the crater lakes and take a dip. Do bear in mind that the island’s caretaker will want to inspect your luggage and cargo when you arrive. The island has been pest free since 1953, but it still remains vulnerable.

Volcanic Marine Reserves are not dangerous, but their landscape is rugged enough to give them an ethereal feel. Make the most of your experience by visiting during the summer. This is especially important for Campbell Island, which is quite cold at times.

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