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“What an amazing place and an amazing company to visit it with”

Frontier Helicopters - White Island Volcano Adventure
Ranked #2 of 14 Tours in Whakatane
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Your White Island Volcano Adventure with Frontier Helicopters takes you to the edge of and into a continuously active volcano, a living breathing geological giant where you will experience first hand the power of nature in its untouched form. Your view from high above spans the entire island. Towering steam columns, bold landforms and intricate textures make for an amazing spectacle. Drifting down and passing slowly along the crater rim you can sense the energy of each billowing crater and steaming vent. Close up, rich colours accentuate this rare environment of extreme beauty and raw energy. Landing provides the opportunity to take a one hour guided walk amongst the scene from the dawn of time.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

We visited White Island recently during all the new volcanic activity that is going on. My husband, who is confined to a wheelchair, had organised for both of us to do the trip, along with our six year old son. I have a fear of heights and although I am ok in planes I was pretty nervous and not sure that I wanted to go. Our six year old was a little worried about the volcano erupting while we were there, so that started the trip with two stomachs that were full of butterflies. The people at Frontier Helicopters went out of their way to be helpful, lifting my husband into the helicopter and doing their best to calm down any out of control nerves. By the time the flight took off I was feeling much better, but myson who was happy with the flying was still nervous about walking up to the crater. On approaching the Island, our pilot/guide Marcus, flew around for some great ariel views as my husband wouldn't be able to depart the helicopter once on the island.
My son and I followed the guide up to the crater, with the landscape making it feel like we were on another planet entirely. At one point passing a small pond of water that was bubbling well over boiling point. From this vantage point I looked off to my left to see mud shooting out of the earth, about a metre or two into the air. But this was not the area that all the current excitement is about. Soon after, we walked up a short rise and looked down into the crater. I'm not sure what words to use to describe it. Wow and awesome just don't do it enough justice. It was breathtaking with mud sometimes shooting up to 20 metres into the air. My son, by this time over his fear and feeling very excited could see the shape of a dinosaur in one of the mud geysers.
This is probably not a good place to take children who can't/won't follow instructions as it is not a tame, safe environment. You should also wear shoes that are not going to disintegrate, as I have heard from someone else that by the time they had walked around the Island the sole of their shoes had halved in thicknes.
It costs quite a bit more than going on the boat, but the journey time is much shorter and until we were heading back from the crater we had no contact or visual sightings of any other people. It was worth every dollar. And now thanks to our wonderful pilot, I don't have such a fear of flying in a helicopter.

2  Thank Karends65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"pilot guide"
in 11 reviews
"helicopter flight"
in 8 reviews
"white island"
in 72 reviews
"worth every cent"
in 7 reviews
"excellent pilot"
in 3 reviews
"aerial view"
in 2 reviews
"life experience"
in 2 reviews
"heli tour"
in 2 reviews
"safety briefing"
in 6 reviews
"once in a lifetime"
in 7 reviews
"recommend this trip"
in 6 reviews
"blue sky"
in 3 reviews
"an amazing experience"
in 5 reviews
"stunning trip"
in 2 reviews
"private tour"
in 2 reviews
"professional team"
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"interesting tour"
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107 - 111 of 132 reviews

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!

4  Thank SDTravel80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 6, 2012

Whakatane is the ideal place to go to White Island from, it's on the coast so you're paying for less journey time. Flying is the perfect way to both quickly travel to the Island and see it and the local wildlife from all perspectives. I took the 8am flight so you arrive before any of the boats turn up and see the Island in its more natural, peaceful state.

Ross was our excellent pilot and knowledgeable tour guide for the trip. He talked about the constant evolution of the strange, sulphurous, un-earthlike landscape, the scientific studies that run on the island as well as the fascinating industrial remains. Only three passengers maximum per trip so it's a high quality, personal tour. A rare chance to go to a place few of us will experience. Unmissable if you are on the North Island of NZ and worth every penny.

2  Thank Kevin W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 27, 2012

After tossing up between taking the boat or helicopter we chose the helicopter (Frontier). We flew from Whakatane, saving about $200NZ if we were to fly from Rotorua.

The weather was great - sunny and a blue sky. We felt safe the entire trip - the helicopter trip over was good and we learnt a lot about the area.

The volcano itself was amazing and it was awesome to have the island to ourselves!

I would recommend this trip to any others looking into it! Totally worth the money, instead of the 6 hour boat ride it was a 2 hour trip - saving time too.

Thank sg7677
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 26, 2012

Frontier Helicopters are AWESOME! Thanks to them we were blown away by our White Island Adventure.

My brother & I arranged the trip as a surprise to celebrate our other brother's 50th. My brother wasn't that fussed when he found out what we were going to be doing (& the $$$ we were spending). After our Helicopter flight & informative tour of the island all three of us were blown away - especially the 50 year old who said he'd have to go back with his partner!

The experience is hard to describe - you really have to do it! The Island itself is incredible - but going with Frontier Helicopters makes it an AWESOME experience! One that we will never forget! Worth every $$$!

Thank Tascino
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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