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Moutohora: Island Sanctuary Five Stars

I would like to say a special thank you to our Captain Dave for his manaaki and aroha towards my... read more

Reviewed 31 January 2023
Erehi
Fantastic Moutohora

We went on a fabulous trip to Moutohora (Whale Island) today. The crew were fantastic, very... read more

Reviewed 18 April 2021
hannahbI1019FC
via mobile
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Reviewed 9 February 2015

This tour is a must do, and definitely worth the cost.

Our trip started with me booking the tour online late one afternoon when I was terribly tired, and I managed to accidentally book the wrong date.

No worries - I rang the contact phone number, and despite it being past 6pm a lovely girl answered the phone (unfortunately I do not recall her name). She was cheerful and reassuring, and quickly corrected my error.

The company rang my mobile the evening before the tour to confirm the exact boarding time, and again the girl I spoke to was just lovely, and very happy to answer questions and provide very detailed, easy to follow directions to the tour starting point.

On arrival we found the White Island Tour staff were uniformly efficient, pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable, and the coffee at the Cafe was marvellous.

The boat was clean and comfortable, and the staff provide interesting information about local landforms throughout the trip out to the island. If you sit outside, you will probably get wet; bring a waterproof jacket.

The landing onto the volcano itself is done in an inflatable raft small groups for safety, and doesn't take very long. There is certainly plenty to look at while everyone is being transferred, and it's a good opportunity for photos. It is quite likely that you will get a bit wet at this stage, and while no ability or agility is required, the landing does require a reasonable level of basic mobility. The staff demonstrated the utmost concern for everyone's safety and comfort; just follow directions and you will be fine.

The tour of the island was excellent; there are two guides for each group, and they are very knowledgeable. Words can't really describe the volcano itself, so I won't even try. The photos you will see online do not do the volcano justice. Just go and see it for yourself!

Enclosed, secure footwear with a good grip is essential; the volcano is active, hot, and the footing is unstable. Personally I wouldn't go in shorts, but others did and seemed ok.

On return to the boat a sensible and filling packed lunch was served, and the boat circumnavigated the volcano for a view of all sides, with accompanying information and anecdotes. There were plenty of flying fish erupting out of the water very close to the boat, and Australasian gannet colonies on the exterior of the volcanic cone of the island.

On the trip home we were treated by two stand out events;

The first was a pod of dolphins, including mothers with calves. The boat slowed and turned so that everyone had a good chance to observe and photograph the dolphins as they played and mucked about in the wash around the boat.

The second was a staff member by the name of Gaia, who conversed sociably with passengers about the challenges facing the flora and fauna of New Zealand. She demonstrated great passion, depth of knowledge and insight; what a marvellous young lady!

Date of experience: February 2015
2  Thank AlmostNermal
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
WhiteIslandTours, Manager at White Island Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2015

Wonderful review – thank you so much! We will be passing on your awesome comments to all the crew involved in your booking and day out with us. The images you have shared are fantastic!

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Reviewed 9 February 2015

One aspect which it is important to emphasise is that this tour is a full day. Depending on tide timings, it is a fairly early start (we were asked to arrive for 9.15am for a 10 am sailing and returned around 5pm.

The trip out to White Island takes around 1½ hours on the open sea and the trip can get quite choppy. There were two boats used on the day of our trip and we had the larger vessel holding around 60 people on two spacious decks. For those feeling ill on the trip, the crew were excellent, with bags and face cloths at the ready for anyone feeling queasy . On the day we sailed, it was breezy and a number of passengers were ill on the outward journey. There is a friendly and informative commentary provided by the captain on both outward and return journeys.

On arrival at White island, dependent on sea conditions, transfer is usually by an inflatable boat to a jetty and there is a short climb up a ladder to get onto the island.
The island itself is spectacular, full of billowing sulphur laden smoke (gas masks to aid breathing are provided and are needed close to some of the more active vents), an acid lake, bright yellow sulphur affected rock formations with fissures emitting steam all over the place; all very atmospheric. There is also a derelict sulphur mining factory abandoned in the 1930’s to walk through. We spent around 1½ hours on the island, after which we rejoined the boat, where a very good pack lunch was served in a quiet bay just around the headland, with an opportunity for swimming for those who wanted it before heading back to port. On the sail back we sailed close to another protected island close to the mainland, to observe seals basking seals on the rocks.

A very worthwhile and memorable experience – highly recommended.

Date of experience: February 2015
1  Thank T-SGlobetrotters
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
WhiteIslandTours, Manager at White Island Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2015

Thank you so much for taking the time to review your experience with us and for sharing some amazing images you have captured!

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Reviewed 8 February 2015

This was a trip that almost didn't happen. We got delayed due weather and that put our agenda into a minor meltdown but we got on the next morning's tour (there is one that goes in the afternoon if you need to plan it that way) and this got back on track by the next day.
Well organised and arranged. Our group had a mix of people from all over the world and ages ranged from early teens to over retirement age. On the island is a fantastic experience. Sure there are smells buy you are on a volcano... hello complainers. Staff provide you with safety gear (hard hat and breathing mask) so you can deal with the odours. The history of the place is fascinating and getting to a from the island does give you a wet bum. Note to ladies - when they say enclosed shoes, they don't mean slip-on flats. Seriously. Enjoyed the trip. Lunch was filling (sandwich, muesli bar, choc bar, fruit, cake and a bottle of water). Lots of photos taken. If you can stay at the White Island Rendevous hotel. The tour leaves from there and if you're on the afternoon trip, is a convenient place to crash.

Date of experience: February 2015
Thank MF_BN_AUS
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
WhiteIslandTours, Manager at White Island Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2015

Thank you for an awesome review of your day – great heading! Fantastic to hear you enjoyed the day and thanks for pointing out White Island Rendezvous (motel accommodation), a lot of people don’t realise that the motel shares its check in office with the White Island Tour check in office which makes it super convenient if you are on the tour. Another good point you made was the ‘enclosed shoes’, we recommend shoes that have a good grip on the bottom such as trainers or hiking boots. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your travels.

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Reviewed 6 February 2015

This was a truly unforgettable trip. The organisation is superb and yes, it is a little expensive,but it is worth every penny.
I'll start with the only thing about this trip that worried me and get it out of the way. I'm the wrong side of 60 years old, definitely heavier than I should be and my knees are bad.So I was quite worried about the whole ' transfer from the boat into an inflatable one, climb up a small ladder and pick your way across a few boulders' business. It is the only way to get onto the island. Even with help from the crew I thought I would struggle, but it is easier than it sounds. So, if you recognise anything of yourself in my description of me, be reassured that you can do it.
If you have to travel to Whakatane on the morning of the trip as we did, there is a cafe at the tour site where you can get breakfast before you board the boat.
The trip over to the island takes about 1.5 hrs and on the way we were lucky enough to see dolphins,the skipper slowed the boat down so we could all have a good look.
The walk around the island takes about an hour and it is a gentle walk with frequent stops to take pictures and have the features explained to us by our two great guides. There are no hills to climb as the walk is in the crater floor. The gas masks come in handy when the wind shifts and swirls the sulphurous steam in your face and sweeties are provided to take away the taste, they can't do anything about the smell I'm afraid! The provided packed lunch was very good and the boat was manoeuvred into a calm bay so we could enjoy it in peace.
On the way back the wind had risen so it was quite a rough journey.Some people suffered but again, the crew were wonderfully helpful and tried the make the experience a pleasant one for all. If you do suffer from seasickness I would make sure to take some Dramamine. However we were told that the trip is usually much calmer and we were just unlucky that the wind had risen while we were on the island.
Would I go again? In a flash!

Date of experience: February 2015
Thank Jackie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
WhiteIslandTours, Manager at White Island Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2015

Many thanks for your review, you have certainly covered most of the aspects of the day and it’s great to hear that you enjoyed it so much that you would come again!

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Reviewed 3 February 2015

When you are visiting New Zealand, take the time to go see the Volcanic White Island. White Island Tours is organizing very well arranged and safe trips towards the island. It's across the road from where the boat leaves, so very convenient. Get on board and en joy the ride.... Hopefully you see dolphins (we did going there and and the way back and we even saw some whales, but this was pure luck they said, so don't count on them). The island is beautiful and the story behind it very interesting. Yes it smells (sulfite), but you will survive ;-). Last about half a day, lunch is provided and included in the price.

Date of experience: December 2014
1  Thank Silke1308
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
WhiteIslandTours, Manager at White Island Tours, responded to this reviewResponded 9 March 2015

Thank you so much for taking the time to review your day out with us and also for sharing your awesome images! Looks like you really captured the experience with your photographs. The full day with us is approximately 6 hours depending on sea and volcanic conditions. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Whakatane.

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