White Island is the most active volcano in New Zealand. It is located in the Bay of Plenty region where the nearest mainland town is Whakatane (takes about 4 hours to drive from Auckland). Let me show a few photos of mine before writing too much again 😛
White Island is not a very popular tourist attraction (at the time of writing this blog), and in fact quite many people do not know where this place is. Nevertheless, in my opinion it is a very unique place in New Zealand, and you definitely should visit if you have budget and time. For those who are interested, here are a few notes to help you get started:
Note #1: You must join the White Island tour as you cannot do it by your own, and you should book the tour in advance. Two options available: by boat or helicopter. The cost of White Island tour by boat is NZD$199 but if you are staying in their accommodation at Whakatane, you will get $15 off. And of course, the helicopter is much more expensive (about NZD$600++).
Note #2: The duration of the tour (by boat) is about 6 hours. This includes 3+ hours of transport by boat (return trip – about 98km in total) and 2 hours+ of guided walking tour in White Island’s area. The meet up point of the tour is at Whakatane. More details can be found here.
Note #3: The tour is very weather dependent so it might be cancelled in the last minute. A friend of mine tried twice but couldn’t make it. So, plan for the worst case. If the tour is cancelled, you can visit other places such as Taupo and Rotorua.
Note #4: How many days should you stay? Well, my recommendation is two nights. Some people stay for only one night – this is not a bad idea because the tour will finish at 2pm+, and you can leave Whakatane once finish (but I think it will be very tiring). If your timetable is flexible, you may extend the stay if the tour is being cancelled
On Saturday, we took a flight from Wellington to Auckland. We drove from Auckland and reached Whakatane at 6pm (had my favourite KFC along the way). We stayed at White Island Rendezvous for 2 nights. This motel is very good – friendly staff, clean room and good location (only take 2 minutes to walk to the meet up point of the White Island tour).
The tour started at 8am on Sunday. As you can see, it is a beautiful day!
Selfie-ing in the boat. I had seasick after a while and luckily I was alright. At least two people were vomiting in the boat because of the choppy sea (even in a sunny day!).
Beginning of the tour… excited!!
There was an eruption in White Island about two weeks ago, so we can see the ashes around.
White Island is beautiful and stunning. I love the colour, the steam, the feel… everything here is amazing. It looks like a different planet, and I am here to discover the beauty outside of my world. It is not the most spectacular place in New Zealand, but it is definitely one of the most fascinating places to visit.
A lot of steam! Many people wear the gas mask here (provided by the tour) – I was alright and I didn’t use the gas mask for the whole tour.
I did not listen to the tour guide, as I spent much time taking photos. The White Island tour is good, but have a downside – they walked too fast, I think would be good if they could slow down and allow us to have more time to enjoy the view here.
I feel sorry to my friend whenever I see the photo below. My friend helped me to take this photo. I like this photo very much as the angle is just right – the little hot water pool is nicely located beside me. I took the same photo for my friend, but the problem is that her body covered the whole pool due to my bad photo shooting skill. Although I felt very sorry, it was also a bit funny actually. I told her that it is “because my eyes only see you”.
The water taste salty… full of mineral.
We came to Whakatane 2 years ago for the White Island tour, but the tour was cancelled on the day before due to the bad weather. We booked the tour again a few weeks ago and we cancelled it because of the eruption (we were timid!). Luckily we decided to re-book the tour, otherwise we would have missed all these.
The end of the tour…
Overall I think this is a fantastic experience. The tour is a bit pricy but it’s worth it, especially for those who have never visited a volcano. It is once in a lifetime experience to visit active volcano! It is a very interesting place in New Zealand. If you are in New Zealand and want to do something different, why not try this out? 🙂