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“Absolute must!”
Review of White Island Tours

White Island Tours
Ranked #1 of 13 Tours in Whakatane
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Brisbane, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Absolute must!”
Reviewed November 17, 2013 via mobile

This tour has been the biggest highlight of our 3 weeks in NZ.
The boat trip to the island is easily done in a comfortable boat. The staff are professional, courteous, and safety conscious. The information and commentary was extremely good. The location is surreal and beautiful. We had an excellent time and are very glad we went.

Visited November 2013
Thank greenaussie72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 5 Contributor
78 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Not to missed - don't wait”
Reviewed November 9, 2013

Two weeks ago we had the great experience of doing a day tour to White Island with Pee Jay White Island Tours. Good boat trip out and the staff were very attentive in case any passengers were feeling a little seasick on the way to the island. Once we arrived they went through the safety procedures very carefully explaining what was required with gas masks and hard hats etc. And once you land you realise just why you need these precautions. This is not just a tourist attraction - it is reality - a live volcano and I'm glad I had the chance to experience walking round and seeing mother nature at work. You get the feeling that things are changing on a daily basis. We took some great photos. Good lunch provided and good commentary. We took advantage of the deal to stay at the White Island Rendezvous accommodation as part of the package and that was an excellent place to stay. Our only regret is that we didn't stay longer in Whakatane - there is definitely a lot to see around there.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank gregandlyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northampton, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
235 reviews
96 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“Amazing trip of a life time”
Reviewed November 8, 2013

If you are fairly fit and agile, do not mind climbing out of a boat into a rib, scrambling over rocks and a metal walkway then you have to do this trip! The crew of PJ tours are excellent. Having given us hard mats and gas masks we set of on a guided tour of a live volcano. You get to walk across the crater floor and up close to funerals spitting out steam, gas and mud. The whole thing is simply awesome. It feels like you are walking on the moon!

Visited November 2013
1 Thank David L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“White island”
Reviewed October 31, 2013

We stop over night at the White Island tour accommodation which was ideally located for access to the town and start of the tour. The facilities were very good and the breakfast was fantastic!! The tour to the island takes about 6 hrs - the weather was fine and the sea calm. The crew and guides were fantastic and everything was well organised even down the mat in the rusty jetty when we reached the island. The island was very impressive with steam & sulphur bubbling out of the ground everywhere! The smell isn't too bad and the guys provided helmets and breathing masks as required. All in all a great day to see a active volcano which had actual popped slightly the week before, Thanks to all as White Island tours for a great day.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank barry2124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
State College, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
75 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Amazing experience!”
Reviewed October 23, 2013

They let us walk around on a REAL VOLCANO, the most active one in New Zealand! We suspect that such an adventure would not be permitted in the Good Ol' USofA, where we protect citizens from themselves and fear getting sued if something goes wrong. Before paying or getting on the boat, we had to read a disclaimer that clarified the risks and assured us that the Tour Company would resist any law suits to the full extent of the law. Neat!

One possibility they made us well aware of in advance was that the departure time might be changed, or the trip canceled entirely due to weather or increased activity of the volcano itself. Sure enough, they called us the evening before and asked us to arrive an hour early due to the tide schedule. The weather was perfect, and the volcano a little more active than normal (dandy!) but not so much that the trip was canceled.

The only slightly-negative element is that we asked them to charge our credit card in US dollars. They did the currency conversion on the spot and it appears they used a very conservative "exchange rate," perhaps 10% worse than we had gotten from pre-paid credit card payments we'd made from home, and worse than even the cash we got through our bank in our small home town. We suspect it would be more economical to get cash before the trip and pay in NZ dollars. Of course, if saving money were our only goal, we could have stayed home.

The big boat carried us north about 90 minutes but is too big to get right up to White Island. A motorized rubber dingy took us to shore in two groups. Even getting onto the island itself was a little heroic (well, interesting at least ... maybe "heroic" is too strong). We had to stand on the edge of the dingy, climb up a decrepit "ladder" made of some old pieces of wood attached to a big block of concrete that served as a dock, then scramble across a bunch of rounded boulders to reach solid sand.

On the big boat, they issued us hard hats, yellow for customers, orange for Staff, and red for the Overall Fearless Leader, who this day happened to be a great host and story teller, the manager of all the Pee-Jay Tours (they have three boats and various destinations). We had to wear these all the time we were on shore, and seeing the large rocks that had been thrown from the explosive crater, we were glad to comply. I hit my head leaving the big boat ... no problem! Maybe I should wear a hard hat all the time?

They also gave us gas masks; these were optional, but in fact we were all very glad to use them a good part of the time, depending on which way the wind was blowing. Well before we reached White Island, we could see the steam/smoke rising and blowing off to the east. But once on the island we saw it was coming out of many holes and cracks in addition to the large central crater. It was exciting to walk among these fumaroles, gurgling mud pots, boiling springs, etc. Many were surrounded by bright yellow sulphur deposits, near which the ground was too hot to touch. When we caught a whiff of the pungent sulphur fumes we quickly put on our masks. And near the main crater it was hard to see, and hard to breathe even with the masks. Nobody got very close, but had the wind been blowing from our backs we could have gone right up to the edge.

After our hike, we returned by way of the ruins of the sulphur extracting building and machinery near the dock. The broken concrete walls, rusty drums and retorts, huge gears, and other debris were great photo ops.

Back on the boat, we were given what Pee-Jay advertised as "light box lunches" that turned out to be tasty and fully adequate. Due to the tide-induced early schedule, we got back to Whakatane with time to see several other things that afternoon.

Overall, a delightful experience we'll never forget!

Visited October 2013
1 Thank Chuck360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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