Alright today we are heading toward New Zealand’s only active marine volcano this is called White Island and it’s just right off the shore of Whakatane. It is so exciting. I just can’t wait.
It’s early morning that we’re meeting the team from White Island Tours at The Strand of Whakatane which is basically the harbour of the town. And we are jumping right onto the action by boarding the boat and heading in the waters.
Our destination is White Island which is New Zealand’s Only active marine volcano. It’s situated 49km off the coast of Whakatane and it takes about an 80 minutes boat trip to get there.
As we are making our way toward White Island we’re passing other noteworthy islands like Whale Island which is a beautiful bird sanctuary where a lot of native wildlife resides but we don’t really need to set foot onto the island to see first wildlife we see a lot of seabirds alongside our boat like this beautiful petrel that was flying alongside the boat for a good 30 minutes and as the sun is getting a little bit higher in the sky we start getting some beautiful views of White Island and as soon as we’re getting close the team is giving us our breathing apparatus which is gonna be those massive gas masks just because apparently it smells really bad and makes you cough really really quickly if you stay on White Island without any breathing protection.
But before we unboard the boat the team quickly reassure us that the fumes are not going to harm us. It is harmless just a little bit of tickle on the throat.
Last September is probably the most nervous I’ve ever been there was an eruption when we got here so we’re walking into it and we could definitely feel the nerves inside me. For sure.
And after all the passengers on the boat have unloaded with three or four different trips from this tiny dingy we are finally starting our tour.
So we’re just stepping on White Island. Doesn’t smell too bad. I don’t know what it’s all about.
The great thing about White Island is that as soon as you get off the boat you step straight onto the active volcano. there’s no hiking to do no crazy strenuous exercise you are right on the heart of the volcano and once we arrive there we are meeting our guide for the tour which is Kelsey and she’s gonna be taking us around to the highlights of White Island.
We’ve seen so many different landscapes in New Zealand so far and yet again we are stepping onto something else completely different. It feels like we’re walking on another planet like it’s Mars or something. And the closer we get towards that crater that we’re aiming for on this walk we are seeing loads of different colours in the stones there’s vibrant yellow and green there’s billowing smoke and pools of bubbling mud. it’s a pure geothermal wonderland.
Along the way our guide Kelsey is showing us some really cool features and telling us more about the fascinating history of White Island. White Island is around 200,000 years old but the bit that we’re stood on right now is about about 16,000 years old. We get close up viewings of those steaming vents and the closer we get toward the crater the steam gets thicker and thicker until it gets to the point where it’s getting a little difficult to breath and we realise exactly why we need to wear those gas masks.
In the crater.
That is quite irritating.
Laura where are we right now?
We are in the middle of an active marine volcano and we can really feel it.
So they told us it was a little bit irritating on the throat. And it is.
Another really good technique to deal with this tickling throat sensation that we’re having throughout our whole tour on white island is to suck on some really hard candies and for that reason our guide actually carrying a huge bag of lollies and keep on feeding us ton of candies so if you’re not coming here for the marvelous wonderful geothermal activity you come here for the free lollies.
Alongside the lollies there is also heaps of amazing picture opportunities alongside our tour. And it’s really awesome how our guides are stopping along the way almost every step so we get the time to take some pictures. It’s a really chilled out tour full of amazing insights and taking really the time for us to enjoy it.
And speaking about enjoying the tour we are arriving at my favorite part of this entire tour. This is where we’re facing the main of the crater and where the views get much much much grander and there is so much to look at we literally stay here a good 15 minutes while listening to the insights from our guide and taking in the views and taking about a million pictures.
While standing on the edge of this crater we can see a ton of things like the beautiful green lakes which is full of sulfur which gives it that really interesting undertone it’s crazy colours all this yellow there’s heaps of smoke it makes the whole thing feel really eerie like an alien movie.
As we’re pulling ourselves away from the crater, Kelsey is telling us about a recent eruption.
We had a minor eruption you can see the big impact crater where it landed. So yeah, that’s a minor eruption on white island. Not even a big one.
The whole trip on the island takes about hour and 30 minutes and on the way back as we looping back to where we started we take the time to take things a little bit slower so we can ask our guides a few questions about the island as well as take loads and loads of photos.
And Laura is taking again some more pictures. and some more pictures, some more pictures and even some more pictures. This place is absolutely amazing.
This White Island tour is a really hands on experience as well as feeling all the steam on our face, we’ve been holding some volcanic rock we’re now about to taste the volcano.
Taste it. Don’t drink it.
Damn it’s really hot. It’s actually boiling. Ah it tastes disgusting.
Yum volcano juice. Moving onto the final section of our tour on White Island, we see some really eerie remains of a sulfur mining plant that has survived several eruptions since it was built here in the 1930s.
Our guides tell us that people actually used to live on the island when they were mining for sulfur to use in fertilisers and use that on crops and gardens. But for us we are coming to the end of our trip getting back into those little dingies and back onto the boat. But before we leave White Island for good a few people take the opportunity to go for a dip.
In fact, White Island is a very popular scuba diving place there is a lot of underwater vents and very unique underwater landscape to be explored like nowhere else in the New Zealand.
Just before we head off we’ve been given our complimentary lunch which is really good it’s all in a little box and there’s sandwiches there is cake there is fruit it’s just awesome and before we leave the island for good we actually do a last round around the island while listening to the commentary of the crew.
We catch a last glimpse of White Island before starting to make our way toward Whakatane. But because White Island is a gift that keeps on giving the surrounding waters of the island are populated with heaps of awesome dolphins. And of course the dolphins just can’t resist coming to play on the bow of our boat.
This bunch of common dolphins named common dolphins because they are the most popular kind of dolphins around New Zealand are super playful they are playing with each other they are actually trying to outrace the boat and we can hear them communicate with each other we hear all the [amazing dolphin impression] noises even from atop of the boat.
And while we’re playing with the dolphins the crew is actually telling us that the boat just behind us radioed them and told them that they just seen some whales so who knows what you will be able to see when doing this tour.
But that wraps up our tour with White Island Tours that was absolutely awesome and a truly unique place to visit in New Zealand. We are now making our way toward the town of Rotorua where we’re gonna be spending almost two weeks exploring the area and there is a ton of activities to do there so once our car is cleaned we are hitting the road toward the central north island for the next round of our adventure don’t miss it and subscribe now.
So these are our boarding passes to get onto the boat. So…
As you can see there’re really old milk jugs.
As you can see they are old milk filters so I’m gonna go and hand these in.