Water activity

Moutohora (Whale) Island Sanctuary Tour from Whakatane

Activity provider: White Island Tours

Moutohora (Whale) Island Sanctuary Tour from Whakatane

Activity provider: White Island Tours
Likely to sell out

From US$ 82.29 per person

Likely to sell out

Come aboard for a 4 to 4.5-hour journey to Moutohorā (Whale Island) one of New Zealand's little-known treasures and home to a number of New Zealand's rare and endangered plants, birds and reptiles.

About this activity

Free cancellation
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Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures are in place. Check your activity voucher once you book for full details.
Duration 4 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Live tour guide


  • Enjoy the unique opportunity to visit this highly-restricted pest-free island sanctuary
  • Learn about the island's unique flora and fauna and the conservation efforts.
  • Spot the wildlife - count how many birds, reptiles and mammals you can spot
  • Dig yourself your own spa pool at Moutohorā's very own hot water beach
Full description
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. 
  • 4 to 4.5-hour island experience
  • Transport by catamaran
  • Experienced guides
  • Island landing fees
    Not suitable for
    • Children under 6 years
    • People with mobility impairments

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    Meeting point

    Meet at Ngati Awa Tourism in Awa Motel.

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    Important information

    What to bring

    • Comfortable shoes
    • Jacket

    Know before you go

    • Island landing fees are included in the ticket price. Island landing fees support Department of Conservations work on the island and the Whakatane Coastguard.
    • Tours operate daily, however, the supplier does require a minimum of 8 passengers for it to proceed. The maximum is 24 passengers per trip.
    • As part of efforts to help maintain Moutohorā’s pest-free status, all passengers are required to undertake a bio-security check before boarding the boat. Because of this, check-in is required a minimum of 30 minutes prior to departure.
    Customer reviews

    Overall rating

    5 /5

    based on 7 reviews

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    We had a wonderful trip. It’s a very unique island. The guides are very friendly, informative and passionate about conservation. I loved how close we could get to the seal colony. I enjoyed the swim at the hot water beach. We got to see many native bird varieties and a huge amount of native lizard life in particular I loved being up so close to a real Tuatara.

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    November 6, 2022

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

    October 24, 2022

    September 7, 2022

    Product ID: 113068