White Island

White Island: Our most recommended tours and activities

Moutohora (Whale) Island Sanctuary Tour from Whakatane

1. Moutohora (Whale) Island Sanctuary Tour from Whakatane

Departing from Whakatāne Wharf, the journey to Moutohorā is just a short 15-minute boat ride aboard a comfortable catamaran “The Moutohorā Cat”. Designed to be able to nestle right onto the shore, disembarking is as easy as walking down some stairs and stepping onto the beach. Once ashore, a fully-guided tour means you can learn about the island's unique flora and fauna and the conservation effort focused on Moutohorā for the past 50 years. Since becoming pest-free, bird life on Moutohorā has flourished and there is a chance to see a number of different species including saddleback/tieke, kakariki/red-crowned parakeet, little brown kiwi, bellbirds, tui, grey warbler; many of which are endangered or seldom seen on the New Zealand mainland. The walk includes a visit to the island's saddle (the dip between the two highest summits) for spectacular views out to White Island and a visit to Sulphur Bay where geothermal hot springs come up through the sand allowing for you to dig your own hot pool on the beach. Please note there are no changing facilities or bathrooms on the island. After enjoying a swim, you will return to Boulder Bay and re-board “The Cat” where, if conditions permit, the catamaran may circumnavigate the island before returning to Whakatāne.  There may also be an opportunity to stop and spend time with any marine life encountered along the way. Due to the precious nature of this pest-free island, access is highly restricted to the general public. The only way to visit the island is with a Department of Conservation approved concessionaire. This tour operator is permitted to take a small number of visitors to the island each day. 

White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

2. White Island & Whale Island 1-Hour Volcano Scenic Flight

Take to the skies to admire the marine volcano of White Island from above. Your friendly and professional crew will keep you thoroughly entertained throughout your experience. You’ll receive a flight and safety briefing before heading out onto the tarmac to your aircraft. Be sure to bring your camera, as everyone gets a window seat. Enjoy fantastic views as your enthusiastic pilot shares local insights. Fly over the township of Whakatane before heading offshore over Moutohora (Whale) Island, an extinct volcano that is now a wildlife refuge. Continue on to White Island, keeping a lookout for a bird's eye views of dolphins and large schools of fish. During several turns around the island, you’ll have the opportunity to see the volcano from all angles and shoot plenty of stunning photos. You’ll get closer each time and the pilot will dip the wing for uninterrupted views. Your pilot will give you tips for capturing the best photos and alert you when a good opportunity arises. Peer directly into the crater, smell volcanic gasses and admire incredible views of sulfur vents, bubbling mud, and acid lakes. Enjoy the most time above the crater out of any of the local flight operations before the scenic return flight to Whakatane airport.

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What people are saying about White Island

Overall rating

5.0 / 5

based on 22 reviews

I turned 45 in July. A significant milestone! To celebrate I took my son and I on the scenic flight out to Whakaari. The day was typical Bay of Plenty perfection and the views were absolutely stunning. I did two different land based boat tours years ago before the eruption. It was a unique experience seeing the islands barren geological activity from the air. One in a million experience would highly recommend!

Beautiful weather and excellent commentary from pilot Jo. Very professional and gave us plenty of time for close up look at Whakarri [White Is] and Whale Island. Best viewing for photos probably from the rear seats. Interior of plane warmed by heater. Very comfortable

A great trip, really well organized and friendly knowledgeable guide. Well priced for the timeframes. I recommend this trip right on our doorstep for all the locals who have never done it.

This tour was amazing the Guides were extremely knowledgeable about the area and the island was beautiful. I would definitely recommend.

Relaxing, educational, minor trek, beautiful day, couldn't ask for more