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“In a word, AMAZING!!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Vulcan Helicopters

Vulcan Helicopters
216 Aerodrome Road | Whakatane Airport, Whakatane 3191, New Zealand
0800 804 354
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Owner description: Come with us on an unforgettable and breathtaking journey to New Zealand's only active marine volcano.Upon your arrival at our office located at the Whakatane Airport, you will be greeted by our friendly team of staff and pilots who will provide you with the information needed to ensure your flight and experience with Frontier Helicopters is unforgettable and the best 2 hours in New Zealand.Your flight departs by helicopter for a 20 minute informative flight to White Island situated across the sea directly north of the town of Whakatane located in the Bay of Plenty. Shortly after departing from the our hangar you will pass overhead the dormant volcano called Whale Island or Moutohora. Often during the summer months you will also get the opportunity to view whales, sharks, pods of dolphins and even sunfish, which frequent the sparse ocean area between Whale Island and White Island.As you fly towards White island, the volcano grows in stature until you are high above it circling in full awe of its spectacular presence. The view from the helicopter is absolutely unmatched, providing a superb platform for strategic aerial photographing of White Island's unique geological formations, colours and raw power.Your experienced pilot/guide will then gently set you down on the floor of the crater for your one hour guided tour of the volcano. The walk takes you on a visual spectacle surrounded by the constant noise of active fumoroles scattered throughout the confines of the crater. The pilot/guide will point out places of interest and provide interesting information pertaining to the volcano's being.You will then venture across the crater floor, crossing over small stream's, stand on the edge of the crater-lake, pass around crater bay and through the remains of the sulpur factory before returning to the helicopter. Once airborne again, you will have yet another opportunity to view the volcano from above and take more amazing aerial photographs before your journey back to Whakatane.Upon landing at Whakatane Airport you will once again be met by our friendly team who will show you the photos your pilot / guide has taken during your white island volcanic adventure and assist you with any help you may need for the next part of your holiday here in New Zealand.
Derby, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“In a word, AMAZING!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

We had booked to do the White Island tour by boat, but the trip got cancelled at the last minute due to the weather. We thought long and hard about doing the helicopter flight because of the extra cost, but in the end decided that as we had already travelled half way round the world, we had come too far to miss the visit to the Island!! The flight did not disappoint, it was by far the BEST way to see the volcano and explore the island. After a scenic 20 min flight out to the island, we landed and had about an hour to explore this amazing place all to ourselves. Dan (originally from Sussex) was our pilot for the trip, who proved to be very funny and knowledgeable about the island and really nice guy who made the trip really special for us. As there was only the three of us on the island, it was great to be able to take photo's without crowds of tourists getting in the way, a real bonus. It's hard to put into words what it feels like to step onto a live volcano, seeing the huge plumes of smoke and gasses, feeling the raw power of the earth beneath your feet, but it trully was the most amazing experience of our lives!!!! This is definately one of those 'things to do before you die' experiences. LOVED IT!!

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
California
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Amazing White Island tramp”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

I was looking at White Island (active volcanoe) tours, and saw I could do it by sea or by air. Since White Island is supposed to be so amazing, by air seemed like the right choice. I was staying in Rotorua, but the flights out of Whakatane are over $200 cheaper! So I figured the hour drive was totally worth it, and saved a bundle of money.

Dan, the front office guy, is AMAZINGLY nice, genuine, happy, and an outstanding person to be interacting with customers. His safety briefing was also entertaining as well. I woud have thought he was a native Kiwi (not British) as he's so friendly and nice. The climate here certainly agrees with him more than the UK.

The heli flight is about 20 minutes one way, and is very senic. Fly over a couple of islands, and if you are lucky see some dolphins, whales, or schools of fish along the way. Flying up on White Island is amazing, with the huge plume of hot gasses. Coming in for a landing you get an awesome view, that you could never get from the water, of the active volcano.

While on the island, you see a total lack of boardwalks, paths, or signs. It's a raw island, with dangers lurking everywhere. Hot flowing acidic water, bubbling mud, hot noxious gases, and hot steam. But the guide/pilot knows where to take you, so I was never worried about my personal safety.

The island itself is amazing, with all kinds of colored rocks, steam, rocks, and other very unique features. There's also relics of an old sulfur mine there you can walk through too. All in all, it was an amazing experience! I just wish the tour was much longer than 1 hour on ground, as there are so many photogenic areas that I was really rushed through. But all operators run about 1 hour tour, so that time constraint was not unique to this outfit.

My only suggestion would be that the guide/pilot stay closer to the group (of 1-3 people). Two of us were taking a lot of photos, and he wondered ahead with another passenger. But they got in the way of some shots, being far ahead. I understand trying to keep us ontime, but he could have done better at keeping us together.

They also have a $20 CD which has pictures that the guide takes while on the trip (and while in the air), and some archive photos. Some REALLY amazing photos...well worth the extra spend (which I normally would not do on a photo CD from a tour operator).

Really a once in a life time experience to walk around a "raw" live volcano with no rails, tracks, or signs. Just pure nature. It was quite gassy on the day we went, so the gas masks they provided came in handy.

Just remember..don't do the tour from Rotorua!

Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grootebroek, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“The most amazing experience of my life!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

Initially we intended to visit the island by boat with a different tour, but due to strong wind it was cancelled for that day.
Little did i know it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Tho i am sure it would have been great via boat also, visiting this true marvel of nature with Vulcan Helicopters is "the way to do it" !!

Forget spending a whole tiring day going to the island by boat and then smaller boat with a group of strangers that have a talent for wandering in the background of the pictures you want to take.

A private helicopter tour will get you there in style while providing awesome views as it circles around the island for a great view from above.
After you land you are on an active and beautiful marine volcano. Walking around there as the only ones along with the pilot is a very unusual and great feeling.

The volcano is just stunning, it has more beauty then waimangu and wai-o-tapu put together.
You feel / smell and see all the activity.

The pilot was great in explaining all the different formations / rocks and activities found on the volcano.

This is as close as you will get to feeling like Niel Armstrong did when he set foot on the moon.
The coolest experience i have ever had, i can't imagine it will ever be topped.

Do yourself a favor and visit this place. And once you do, do it by helicopter!

Visited November 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ireland
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“brilliant trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2012

We went with Vulcan heli and as we booked a very early trip we had the island to ourselves. Our pilot/guide was very informative and he took some excellent photos for sale if you wanted to buy them. These were put on a disc . We had one of the most memorable trips of our holiday on this tour. I
would recommend it wholeheartedly - well worth the money.

Visited January 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kiev, Ukraine
Top Contributor
942 reviews 942 reviews
154 attraction reviews
Reviews in 296 cities Reviews in 296 cities
1,344 helpful votes 1,344 helpful votes
“THE way to visit White Island”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2011

Yes, White Island is a MUST when visiting the North island of NZ, it's stunning, amazing, fantastic... out of this world (because it's as you imagine it would be on the Moon or even Mars).

Instead of going by boat (rough sea, 4 hours on the boat with many people) we decided to go with Vulcan Helicopters from Whakatane. Yes, you can do it from Rotorua but you'll miss a one hour scenic drive to beautiful Whakatane (of which they say it's the most underrated region of NZ) - and you will pay NZ$ 200+/person more (Vulcan charges NZ$ 550/person - the Rotorua based companies close to NZ$ 800/person).

Vulcan Helicopter is very professional, the pilot was very friendly and knowledgeable. He made a lot of photos & on the end of the trip we got a DVD with a nice presentation of our trip (for free).

I think going with Vulcan was the best choice )))

Visited December 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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