Take an adventure of a lifetime with White Island Tours

On a clear day, the shape of our beautiful Whakaari, or White Island, can be seen on the horizon. With a constant puff of steam hovering above, White Island looks very different to the other islands off our coast.

That’s because White Island is New Zealand’s only active marine volcano.

White Island is one of the world’s most accessible volcanoes as most of the island sits below sea level. What we can see is merely the tip of a 1.6 km submarine mountain. As we know, the tip of a volcano is where all the action is and, with White Island Tours, you’ll be able to get right among the action.

If you want to see this incredible volcano up close, the team at White Island Tours are your go-to tour group for the ultimate White Island experience. Although you’ll only travel 49 km offshore, you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped onto the moon.

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Whakaari - New Zealand’s only active marine volcano

White Island has been continuously active for over 40 years but has owned its ‘active’ classification for 150,000 years in total. Most of the island is occupied by the main crater so, make no bones about it, White Island’s volcano is as active as they come.

Despite its impressive geothermal activity, you have nothing to fear when visiting White Island. The team at White Island tours keep a close eye on the volcanic alert level which currently sits at level 1, indicating only minor unrest.

Get the thrill, without the danger.

We call White Island Whakaari, short for the full Maori name Te Puia o Whakaari, meaning ‘The Dramatic Volcano’. And dramatic she is… as she sits in the distance puffing away, only appearing in full view on the clearest of days.

From the mid-1880s through to 1914, several attempts were made to mine sulphur from the volcano. Mining was ground to a halt when a crater rim collapsed and released lahar, killing 10 miners in September 1914. Nowadays, White Island is only visited for tourism and scientific research.

White Island was declared a scenic reserve in 1953 which is why it can only be accessed by approved tour operators and permitted visitors.

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What happens on a tour of White Island?

The full experience with White Island Tours takes around five to six hours, allowing plenty of time to explore the surface of this incredible volcano. Tours leave from central Whakatane which is an easy 35 minute drive from Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park.

White Island Tours are one of only four tourism operators with permission to visit the island. Once you arrive at White Island, an experienced guide will take you on a 1.5 hour exploration of the inner crater while providing a commentary of geological and historical facts about the volcano.

As you make your way around the crater you’ll get close to bubbling mud pools, steam vents and a fascinating lake of steaming acid (don’t touch!).

Bring your camera because the sights on White Island will be nothing like you’ve ever seen before!

If time and weather conditions allow, enjoy a swim in the ocean before heading back to Whakatane.

On the journey to and from White Island, explorers are often treated to dolphin and whale sightings. As White Island Tours hold a special permit to interact with marine life, ending the day this way will make your adventure even more amazing.

Make the most of your once in a lifetime adventure

Visiting White Island is often referred to as a once in a lifetime experience.

As the surface of the volcano is ever changing, you never know when the ability to step onto the island will come to an end.

Many of our guests take a trip out to White Island during their stay with us. Some have pre-planned the adventure while others book a spontaneous trip after seeing White Island on the horizon. Knowing our guests will be in safe hands, we recommend White Island Tours every time.

It’s important to note that there are no rest areas or facilities on White Island, you’ll only be able to use the vessel for these purposes. You will be on your feet for the full 1.5 exploration so a reasonable level of fitness and ability is required to visit the volcano. Fortunately, you’ll have no trouble being comfortable on board one of the White Island Tours’ vessels.

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We encourage our guests to take an adventure or two while staying with us. There is so much to see in our beautiful coastal area and we love to share that with our visitors.

A trip to White Island is, without a doubt, a highlight for many people who holiday at Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park. If you’ve ever wondered what a marine volcano looks like up close, now’s the time to find out.

To get the most out of the experience, book your holiday accommodation at Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park, the most beautiful spot in the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Call us today.

Nola Morgan