Note – After the tragic events on December 9, 2019 with an eruption occurring while a tour group was on the island, resulting in multiple fatalities and serious injuries, tours to the island have been put on hold indefinitely.
Whakaari / White Island is a privately owned volcanic island in the Bay of Plenty, about 50 km from Whakatane. It is one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes, and is in a more or less permanent state of activity, with occasional extra activity. The island is about 2 km in diameter, and the highest point, Mt Gisborne, is 321 m high. The acidic crater lake is only a few metres above sea level.
The island has been used for sulphur mining at various times, the last being in the 1930s. Some attempts have been terminated by eruptions, but the last attempt was terminated due to the insufficient accessible sulphur. Some remains of the sulphur mining are still present on the island. Continue reading