Adventurous travelers may tell the world they’ve been to every continent except Antarctica. The most intrepid will include the seventh continent in their lists. But scientists now believe that the world’s most ambitious travelers now have an eighth continent to cross off their lists: Zealandia.
Although most of Zealandia is below the sea, about 6 percent of the landmass remains above water and — as Atlas Obscura notes — accessible for visitors.
An estimated 5 million people live on Earth’s “lost continent.” The islands of New Zealand are connected by the same piece of continental crust (1.9 million square miles), which is completely distinct from both Australia and Antarctica, according to a report by the Geological Society of America published earlier this year.
Zealandia includes New Zealand and New Caledonia, alongside several other Australian territories and island groups (off of Australia’s northeast coast). Those who want to delve into the lost continent have quite a bit of land to cover.
Here’s where to start.
The country makes up about 93 percent of Zealandia. Those who want to reach the peak of Zealandia should be sure to visit the Southern Alps. The highest point is Mount Cook, estimated to be over 12,200 feet tall.
Another highlight, of which New Zealand has many, is Abel Tasman National Park.
The archipelago may be part of Zealandia, but it technically belongs to France. Visitors should be sure to check out the area’s vibrant lagoons, which were named a World Heritage Site in 2008.
This small Polynesian is less than 15 square miles, however it has a rich history. It’s known for its flora, including the unique Norfolk Island pine trees, despite the fact that the island was formed from a volcanic eruption.
Lord Howe Island Group
This island has a bit of a quirky story. It’s the only place in the world that sets its clocks forward by 30 minutes for daylight savings time. Also, they engaged in a war against rats, according to Atlas Obscura, that lasted 100 years and only recently ended (depending on whom you ask).