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Scientists taking samples at the crater lake. (click for larger)

White Island (or Whakaari as it was named by the Maori before Europeans arrived) lies 48 kilometres off New Zealand's Bay of Plenty coastline.

This active volcano and private scenic reserve is accessible by boat and helicopter. It is unique in that visitors to the island can walk right inside its main crater  just above sea level with a minimum of physical effort and without undue risk.  This allows you to experience at first hand nature's immense power as gas and steam burst up from far below the Earth's crust.

The surroundings are quite surreal and the scenery spectacular.  It is like walking on an active volcanic moonscape with no plants or vegetation inside the crater. The smell of sulphur and the noise of steam emanating from the many fumaroles both large and small makes for a amazing sensory experience.

The trip to and from the island is also memorable. By boat you are where sea and bird life abound and dolphins often swim alongside; or by helicopter where it is possible to see the full grandeur of White Island rising out of the South Pacific Ocean.

On the outer slopes of the island are large colonies of the majestic gannet. This beautiful bird nests and rears it's young here.  The noise of these "rookeries" takes your attention as you approach the island and their presence is clearly marked like snow on points above the cliff-lined shores.

The island is closely monitored by New Zealand scientists, but nevertheless being a volcano the Island is not without its hazards.  Licensed operators take visitors to the island and provide hard hats, masks and the supervision necessary when venturing  this close to the breath and pulse of the earth.

Last 24 hours of Photos

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Views are from crater rim and from the sulphur work ruins,

 looking up the main crater

 

Latest GNS Volcanic Alert Bulletins - Click Here

Link to Full Page Google Map of Whakaari

White Island Awesome.jpg
Without the usual Steam Clouds
A rare view of the whole island during a period of low activity.

Crater view.jpg
Looking up the crater
An easy walk into an active volcano

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Sulphur encrusted fumeroles
But not enough to sustain  early mining operations 

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Large gannet breeding colonies
 

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Sea-life abounds
A restricted fishing area is proposed for the area surrounding the island.

    Latest Photos and MPEGs

 

While many people visit Whakaari - it can be a hazardous place where conditions quickly change.  People visiting the island do so at their own risk.

Landing on the island may only be done with one of the licensed operators to Whakaari or with the express written permission of the owner.

For more information and to book reservations you should contact one of the tour operators.

For general enquiries and for casual permits to land contact PJ Charters in Whakatane.

For commercial use regarding landing on Whakaari please contact the owner:

Email andrew@wi.co.nz or phone Auckland New Zealand 64 25 273 4090 

Last Updated: April 2006