Stunning blue waters light up Auckland’s beaches


Blue plankton in Auckland
What’s behind the unusual glow on Auckland’s shores?

Residents of Auckland’s Hibiscus Coast stumbled upon a surprise last Monday as bioluminescent plankton lit up the shore in a bright blue glow.

The surreal colours were caused by a unique plankton bloom. When disturbed, the plankton produce light through an oxidation reaction, used to confuse and evade predators. As a relatively rare occurrence, experts say it’s difficult to predict when these plankton blooms will happen again.

Local photographer, Alistair Bain captured the stunning images of the plankton, saying how special it was to witness the display right on his doorstep.

Alistair Bain Photography

Where to find glowing plankton around the world

Koh Rong Island, Cambodia

The tiny island of Koh Rong, located off Cambodia’s western shore, is famous for its glowing beaches. Tourists flock to this spot to witness the blue plankton, with snorkelling operators offering a unique experience to witness them up close.

Blue Grotto, Malta

Along with its picturesque sandy beaches and towering clifftops, Malta is home to a beautiful display of bioluminescent plankton. Rough waves battering the caves on the island of Filfla create an everlasting glow in the water.

Toyama Bay, Japan

It’s not only plankton that glow. On the shores of Toyama Bay in Japan, the firefly squid lights up the waters every year from March to June. Millions of these tiny squid arrive at the bay, with both tourists and fishermen seizing the opportunity to witness (or catch) these dazzling creatures.


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