New Zealand

The best geysers in the world

If you love nature as much as we do, you will definitely have to keep an eye out for our new inspirational series: natural wonders of the world. We will take you on a journey along the most amazing glaciers, geysers, rock formations, volcanoes … and more!

First up in this series is something that can only be seen in very few places in the world … geysers! According to Wikipedia, which can be a very useful source of information from time to time, there are only 5 major geyser fields in the world. We have been to 4 of them, not a bad score at our age we think. Here is an overview of the best geysers in the world!

Lady Knox, New Zealand

The first geyser we saw was Lady Knox close to Rotorua, New Zealand, back in 2002. It was our first time ever in an environment where steam comes out of the ground and everything smells like rotten eggs. We were told that Lady Know would erupt every day at 10.15 am so we had high hopes. So when we arrived it sure did erupt . .. after the men of the park put some soap into the opening of the vent. What a disappointment! To be honest, we wouldn’t go see this again. The rest of Rotorua, Taupo and volcanic part of the Northern Island are well worth visiting though!
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El Tatio, Chile

Although the geysers of El Tatio are not the highest nor the most active in the world, they still left me stunned. I (Anto) went to see them during my trip to Chile about a year ago. The 40 something geysers are located at an altitude of more than 4.200 meters above sea level, high enough to cause me a headache just thinking of going there. They are about an hour and a half driving from San Pedro, a small oasis in the Atacama Desert.

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I will admit, these geysers were not the most impressive I’ve seen. When visiting I took some snapshots and you can hear the guide say: that’s all ….  However their location was just stunning! We drove up in the dark and arrived just before the sun rose from behind the Andes mountains across the border with Bolivia. Seeing all the smoking plumes and the sun lighting up the world was magical. Add some curious Andes foxes and friendly facing vicuñas to the scenery, as well as a tasty breakfast and what you get is a great blend of Chilean beauty and natural wonder.

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If you plan on going to El Tatio, make sure you go with a tour. The geysers are most active during sunrise when the ground is warming up, by the time we left they had all calmed down and there was not much going on anymore. The road over there is poor and not lighted so I wouldn’t dare to drive by myself. Plus on most tours you get to pay a visit to the town of Machuca as a bonus.


Strokkur, Iceland

Within Europe, Iceland seems to be one of the hot and upcoming destinations for traveling. 10 Years ago we knew no one who had been to Iceland but nowadays many have either been there or want to go. We can just say: good choice! And we consider ourselves very fortunate to go there every now and then.

No matter how many times you have seen it, the explosion of world famous Strokkur geyser keeps on amazing you. It’s currently the only very active geyser on Iceland, because of the movements of the earth many geysers are no longer active. You can easily get to Strokkur by rental car or by taking a daytrip around the Golden Circle from Reykjavik. When you rent a car you can try to avoid the crowds and (our advise) stay as long as you want. Strokkur erupts every 5-8 minutes which easily leaves you there for  “just one more time”. In our case, this ended in a marathon session, trying to get the best blow up picture possible.

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Let’s be honest: the world’s most amazing geysers are in Yellowstone, no discussion about that. With that however, you will also get herds of other tourists with it for free. When trying to book our Yellowstone campground 3 months in advance, it was pretty much booked up already and we only traveled in June. See our Yellowstone Park Post for more useful information about planning your stay here.

The best known geyser in Yellowstone is Old Faithful, the biggest one is Steamboat. When we were at Steamboat (which only erupts every couple of years) we couldn’t help but talk to it because how amazing would it be if it erupted while we were right there? Well…  it started with a small plume, then a gurgle and then … nothing. We tried to talk Steamboat into erupting (making sure there was no one else around and saying “come on Steamy, we know you can do it!”) but I think he didn’t hear us. Eventually he exploded late July, only a month after we were there… for the first time in 8 years.

Luckily you will get to see some action when you are going to see Old Faithful. This geyser will erupt every 70 minutes (more or less) and with a bit of luck you won’t even have to wait long. We got to experience the eruption twice, the best blow was just before sunset when there were almost no other tourists there, they were probably stuffing themselves in one of the nearby buffet restaurants. So if you are ever around, go around sunset, it will be much better than during the day!

This leaves us to visit Kamchatka in Russia. Who knows, never say never. Maybe the apple tree in our garden will change into a money tree and we can afford to go there.


Which of these have you seen? And enjoyed seeing the most?

Want to see more natural wonders of this world? Check out our following blogs, too:
Natural wonders: the prettiest waterfalls
Natural wonders: the most impressive volcanoes 
 Natural wonders: rivers of ice
Colorful Yellowstone: a photo essay

Thank you for sharing!


  • Serena

    stunning pictures and places!
    it’s been interesting to read, because i was rather ignorant about it: i only knew about iceland’s geysers and the steamy in yellowstone.
    i bet it’s an amazing experience to see one live… and i hope i’ll be able to one day 🙂

    • anto

      Definetely the start of a geyser must-see list. Although after Iceland you will just have to go to Yellowstone and you’ve seen the best of them. Happy traveling in 2014!

  • Romancing The Globe

    Good story. I’ve also been to Rotorua, Strokkur, and Yellowstone and agree with all your geyser assessments. Once you’ve seen the Yellowstone geysers, everything else is a distant second. Just gotta go in off season – fall is best.

    • anto

      Thanks for the suggestion to go to Yellowstone in the fall, will definitely keep that in mind for planning. The winter would be awesome too, saw some great pics on the internet of a completely white Yellowstone …

  • Tori D

    DUDE the fox is my favorite animal and also, I’m writing a report on geysers for school so if anyone has more info or other websites I would love to hear them! 🙂

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