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“Awe Inspiring”
Review of White Island Tours

White Island Tours
Ranked #1 of 13 Tours in Whakatane
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Join the White Island Tours crew aboard the luxury cruiser 'PeeJay' for a 6 hour adventure to explore New Zealand's only active marine volcano - White Island. Sitting 49km off the coast of New Zealand's North Island, this is one of the world's most accessible live volcanos. With the majority of the volcano sitting beneath the sea it means we are able to disembark directly into the crater complex - no mountain climbing required. Being a live volcano there is little doubt that White Island is home to New Zealand's most impressive geothermal activity. Visitors are able to get up close to roaring steam vents, bubbling pits of mud, hot volcanic streams and the amazing lake of steaming acid. The vivid hues of yellow and orange resulting from the abundant sulphur on the island make it a photographer's dream. Experienced guides will lead visitors on a two hour exploration of the inner crater, providing a fascinating commentary on the geology of the island as well as stories of attempts to mine sulphur. Along with volcanic and geothermal features, you will see the remains of the sulphur factory which have survived multiple eruptions since being abandoned in the 1930s. Once back aboard PeeJay there may be time for a swim from the boat before being served a light packed lunch which can be enjoyed while viewing the outer walls of the island where Pohutukawa forests grow and large Australasian Gannet colonies exist. Our journey home often provides the opportunity to spend time viewing dolphins, whales and other marine life. We hold the necessary government permits to interact with these animals and it's a great way to end an already amazing day. Tours depart daily (weather permitting) from Whakatane.
Beechworth, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
84 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Awe Inspiring”
Reviewed June 29, 2013 via mobile

Wow! This was the most amazing holiday experience I can recall ever having! Our boat was well equipped and comfortable. We saw dolphins, orca and seals on the way to and from the island, and that was just a curtain raiser. White Island is just incredible! We transferred from the boat to the island by inflatable dinghies, then went on a guided tour. Along the way, there was sulphur aplenty stunning scenery steam rising out of fissures all around us, and the ever present volcano. Photo opportunities galore as well. A really tasty and filling lunch is provided on the return journey. I can't recommend this tour highly enough. It's a once in a lifetime chance to do something really special and I really think it would be very hard to regret going. The trip is not suitable for children and you do eyed to be moderately fit, but otherwise, enjoy!

Visited June 2013
Thank Shelagh M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 4 Contributor
38 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Bucket list must see!”
Reviewed June 28, 2013

White Island is one experience that needs to be on your bucket list. It is about 50km offshore and takes about 90 minutes to get there. On the way out we diverted to meet a large pod of dolphin that gave us the full jumping show and running alongside the boat. No marine park was as good as seeing wild dolphin do what dolphin do. I thought that was good until we met up with orca just before arriving at the island. They swam up and seemed just as curious in us. After anchoring we transferred in groups by inflatable boat to shore - fantastic experience again. Once on the island you immediately comprehend it is the crater of an active volcano. The 2 hour tour was amazing. Walking through the crater: steam, vents, boiling mud, sulphur chimneys and cliffs. Any photographer will be in heaven. I could go on. The scenery is unique. Afterwards we were provided with lunch on the boat and took a look at seals basking in the sun. White Island Tours run a professional and safe operation. An active volcano has risks. Safety masks were provided. You need average fitness and reasonable agility. This is an adults only tour. If you have kids, leave them with someone else as its not suitable.

Visited June 2013
Thank RvO58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 24, 2013

This tour to visit a marine volcano is highly recommended. The tour boat leaves from Whakatane and after an hour and a half on the sea, you approach the active smoking volcano and spend a couple of hours exploring the crater with the help of the guides. The transfer from the boat, to dingy, to the landing ladder require a bit of agility but the crew offer assistance - however this could be a challenge for those with restricted mobility. The walking tour in the crater is amazing and well worth the cost of the tour. All visitors are required to wear a hard hat and are issued a gas mask. We were appreciative of the mask and used it for very short periods when the fumes were blown in our direction. The guides were knowledgable and helpful. We were not rushed but guided around the landscape at an easy pace. Lunch of sandwich and fruit was available on the boat trip home. An excellent day out to see a unique environment.

Visited May 2013
Thank Alison730
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level 5 Contributor
59 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Simply mesmerising”
Reviewed June 15, 2013

We had the luxury of waiting for a good day (meaning clear blue skies and calm seas). If you’re in the area for an extended stay, you would be advised to sign up early because they may not be sailing the one day you had planned. Tours can be cancelled due to bad weather/sea conditions. The tour company calls the evening prior to confirm the voyage for the next morning which is great since we were driving over an hour to get to Whakatane.

Even though the sea was pretty calm, my husband and I both took a motion-sickness pill (which we had purchased on our own) one hour prior to the trip; didn’t want to spend that kind of money and end up getting sick the entire time. We were fine. There was interesting reading material about the volcano on the boat; which helped because it was hard to hear some of the commentary out on the open sea.

It was a GREAT experience; didn’t feel rushed to take photos (ended up taking nearly 300 of them). Crew and guides were all very professional and friendly. You do have to be somewhat nimble to climb in and out of the bobbing dingy. There were only two dolphins sighted on the return trip; it was nice that they slowed the boat for us to catch a glimpse of them.

Tip: There’s a coupon in several of the tour books for a free bar of volcano soap which is a nice souvenir. Otherwise, you have to pay for the soap.

Visited June 2013
1 Thank Rose h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
United States
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Worth every penny”
Reviewed June 4, 2013

The ticket is pricey, but this an experience you should not miss. You may never again get a chance to walk around on the crater of an active volcano. We spent three weeks in NZ and Oz, and this was unquestionably the most memorable experience. The tour guides were excellent. The boat ride out was a bit rough -- it apparently was the first time they had gone out in 12 days due to rough seas -- and the ride back in was VERY rough.

Visited April 2013
Thank gcannon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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