New Zealand is full of amazing adventures, unbelievable scenery, and experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime. We were able to do so many things that will stay with me forever. There are many more adventures on my list, but I must admit that there are some that I will happily repeat over and over. Visiting White Island is one of those.
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Scott first took me to White Island on my initial trip to New Zealand in 2005. I’m not really the outdoor type and couldn’t quite wrap my head around the thought of exploring a volcano–and an active one at that!
Guys, if you go to New Zealand, go to White Islandgo to White Island. Some people complain about the price, but it is completely worth it. It’s one of the places we recommend to anyone making the trip and we took friends and family there who visited us.
The tour is a lot of fun. You take a boat ride out to the island. It takes about two hours to get there. It’s a lovely journey (if you like boat rides–take your motion sickness meds if you need them!) and the guides give you the history of what you’re looking at as you go (but not constant chattering like some tours). It is quite common to see dolphins and other sea animals as you go along. If the conditions are good, they’ll often stop on the way back and let you jump in the water for a bit.
When you get to the island, they take you from the boat to shore in a small raft. You have to climb over rocks to the bit of dock that’s left, but there are people to assist you if needed. Everyone is broken up into smaller tour groups, and after the millionth safety warnings, the exploration begins.
The tour is full of the history of the volcano. Stories of the camps, mining activities, unfortunate deaths, and scientific information are slotted in perfectly with what you’re looking at.
I’ve stood next to the mouth of an active volcano. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to say that. I love looking back on my White Island adventures, especially when I’m in a winter and lack of traveling funk like I am now.
Knowing that you have to be careful where you step becomes even more real when you see thermal activity, steam, and sulfur around you. The smell can be quite strong at times, but you’re equipped with a gas mask if you need it.
The remains of the camp are both fascinating and devastating. Everything metal has disintegrated. Knowing that men lived and died here adds a layer of eeriness. It’s honestly my favorite place to explore.
We pay close attention to New Zealand news and White Island has featured on it regularly in recent years. It has had small eruptions and they’re calling for a big one soon. It will be interesting to see how the landscape has changed the next time we go. I’m very much looking forward to the girls being old enough to experience this fantastic adventure.