a trip out to White Island
Pictures of White Island
p ictures of White Island
a White Island Tour by Helicopter
many big adventures the day-trip out to White Island in New Zealand's
Bay of Plenty began in a relaxed
and leisurely way.
was up at 8am - very lazy indeed - and then after a quick tidy of
the Whakatane motel unit it was down to the cafe at the White Island
Rendezvous for a quiet breakfast of bacon and eggs and a very yummy
looking toasted muesli and fruit salad.
it was last-minute checks for needed equipment - cameras, batteries,
hat, sunblock, water and away it was to the White
Island Tours' boat Peejay V.
V is a 24-metre luxury launch specifically built for the tours to
White Island. It has a cruising speed of 19 knots, thanks to twin
750hp Scania motors.
Peejay V is hugely comfortable with plenty of room and seats for
people - both inside and on its two decks - and there are two good
are large windows for viewing the surroundings, but it has to be
said that for this traveller I like the fresh sea air and wind in
the face. On the return trip we sat on the bow and soaked up the
need to take your own water with you to White Island as in hot weather
the heat of the day and the warmth of the island will have you working
up a sweat. Also it's sensible to take a packet of boiled lollies
along as the sulphurous atmosphere on the island can make your throat
tickle and the saliva from sucking on sweets eases the problem.
trip out to White Island
from Whakatane with Peejay
Tours is very well organised with a brunch of hot soup and bread
plus a lunch of fruit, sandwiches and a small crunchie bar. These
are very welcome once you've returned to the boat from your excursion.
you leave the sheltered harbour at Whakatane you pass by a statue
to the Maori maiden Wairaka, who saved an important canoe from being
washed away by breaking tribal bans on women paddling, and into
water on the way out to White Island can be a little rough and if
you are a poor sailor then taking seasick tablets is the way to
go. Some brands make you drowsy so have them the night before -
that is if you get ones that last 24 hours, of course.
one third of the way from Whakatane you get to see Whale Island
which, as the name would suggest, has the shape of a whale. Of course
it does depend upon the direction you are looking - I reckon it
looked like a swordfish on the open-ocean side - but for the most
part it is sperm-whale-like.
overcast when we began our trip the sun soon began to burn off the
cloud and by the time we had gone half-way - about 25 kilometres
- the sky was becoming blue.
its name White Island is actually a browny, grey from a distance
and got its title from Captain James Cook who saw the steam pouring
off it and didn't go close enough to see what was causing the whiteness.
note here. White Island is an active volcano and it can erupt at
any time. It is also very changeable pouring steam out at one time,
doing almost nothing the next.
before we got into the inflatable boat to go to the island we were
issued hardhats and gas masks. The fumes on White Island can affect
some people - with headaches or nausea - so we would recommend wearing
the ancient dock you climb up some steel ladders, along a concrete
wharf, over some rusting steel bridges and then clamber over rocks
to hit the beach - and there you are on a live volcano.
you assemble into two groups - each with two guides - and get safety
instructions on what to do if an eruption occurs. I have to 'fess
up to missing most of that talk as I was too busy clicking away
what I heard one thing to do was crouch down behind a big object
like a mound and wait for it to pass. Prayer would help too, I guess.
it was then a nice leisurely walk around New Zealand's only live
maritime volcano. The guides are very experienced and have visited
White Island on countless occasions. They have masses of information
about the volcano, its history and the tragedies that have occurred
among miners there.
our group we had several elderly folk who managed the journey with
ease. Mind you their super-modern walking sticks made it look as
if they had done this sort of thing plenty of times before. I still
kept a bit of an eye out for them.
crater of White Island is actually three separate ones that have
joined together and you can see the parts of the opposite walls
where once they had connected - before the eruptions that is.
crater lake - fairly recently formed - is a turquoise colour and
steams like many similar ones in the geothermal area of Rotorua.
White Island seems a bit bland, lots of brown colours and stone
(sulphur holes aside), but once you've been there a while you begin
to pick up on the more subtle hues in the cliffs and landscape.
a sunny day the deep blue sea and sky make a wonderful contrasting
background for your photos.
almost two hours on the island it was time to get back on board
and most were a little reticent to leave the volcano. Then it was
lunch and a superb trip home. Going with the swells the Peejay V
fair flew back to Whakatane in a smooth fashion.
the way we saw two humpback whales - a cow and her calf - and watched
them for about 20 minutes. The crew is happy to stop for a while
to give the tourists a thrill. And it was. Then, forced to break
off contact because of tides, it was towards the shore again.
the trip out to White Island is a sensational adventure and can
be heartily recommended to visitors to the Bay
Tours is a very smartly run outfit with friendly and knowledgeable
staff and everything is well organised and as safe as being on a
live volcano to be.
thanks to Mat - he was the guide who had to stick around as this
fellow wandered off taking photos - for his excellent company and
deep knowledge of White Island.
stayed at the nearby and associated White Island Rendezvous motel
and this makes life so much easier as it is just a matter of getting
ready and then crossing the road to the waterfront and the Peejay
tour to White Island is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is a
must-do for both tourists and New Zealanders alike.
7 days a week, weather permitting, bookings are essential.
Check-in is at the White Island Rendezvous, 15 The Strand
the above times as a guide only. Trip times can vary daily
due to weather and tide times. All passengers must double
check departure time the night before the scheduled tour.
All passengers are contacted the night before to confirm the
check-in time and weather conditions.
must have suitable fully enclosed footwear for the island.
Best are walking boots or trainers with good grip on the bottom.
NO JANDALS OR SANDALS.
Passengers are advised to bring warm clothing for the boat
The boat trip is approximately 80 minutes each way. The guided
tour is 1.5 to 2 hours. You need to allow 6 hours for the
light packed lunch is included in the price. (If PeeJay is
unable to land at White Island due to adverse sea conditions,
a full refund is given.)
In the summer season, conditions permitting, passengers may
be able to swim off the boat so are advised to bring swimming
gear if they wish to do this.
cost of the tour is $199 per adult. Children (13 and under)
is for a six-hour marine experience, including 1.5 to 2 hours
on the volcano with a guide and lunch.
of White Island