Whakaari / White Island
Situated almost 50 km off the Bay of Plenty’s coastline, White Island (or Whakaari as it was named by the Maori before Europeans arrived) is New Zealand’s most active volcano.
But don’t worry, the constant rumblings and large plumes of steam do not mean that the island is about to explode. White Island is a spectacular sight and clearly visible from Thornton Beach Holiday Park.
White Island is a relatively small island of 324 hectares, formed by three separate volcanic cones, all of different ages. Erosion has worn away most of the surface of the two oldest cones and the youngest cone, which rose between the two older ones, now occupies most of the centre of the island. The scenery of this private owned island is spectacular and Whakaari is only accessible from by boat, floatplane or helicopter. For tours from Whakatane, we can recommend PeeJay White Island Tours.
White Island is well worth a visit, as the surrounding are so surreal you think you are walking on the moon. The abandoned sulphur mine is a very special feature. Several companies have mined for sulphur on White Island since the late 1800’s but not one of them were very successful. They got struck by personal or financial disaster every time. By 1930, the depression forced the closing of the works but the remains are still there.