Smoke rising from White Island Whakaari. © Jfass958

White Island Whakaari: for live volcanic activity at sea


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Just in case you felt things were getting a bit, you know, sedate here, the great Kiwi Travelling Experience throws up something a little bit exciting, in the form of a live volcano.

Seriously. White Island itself throws up all sorts of steam, and sometimes a little more than that, too. And if you want to get up close and personal with a bit of live volcanic activity, you can take a guided tour. Eighty-odd minutes by boat from sunny Whakatane and you’re plonking the plimsolls down on the crusty weirdness that is this fascinating piece of geology.

Somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 years old (who’s counting, really, at that age), White Island is still spouting out the good stuff all these years on.

Its atmosphere will give you pause for thought: eerie, quiet, almost moon-like in its lack of vegetation and proliferation of strange rock formations, stark, rising cliffs and steaming craters.

Just as you expect George Lucas to yell ‘action’, the action takes the form of a stunning (no other word) crater lake, a mesmerising crystal-blue vision that seems to appear out of nowhere. Well, being a crater lake you have, to be fair, climbed to it. But it still delivers a shock to the senses.

Buzzing, hissing and roaring like some old off-station radio, White Island will still your heart while simultaneously stimulating your senses. What’s that all about? Get across and take a look. Wild.

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