White Island

From Whakatane (apparently the sunniest place in New Zealand) we went on a tour and took a boat over to White Island. White Island is an active volcano located 50km off the coast. The only way to get there is via helicopter or boat. It has previously hosted a sulphur mine, but due the risks i.e. lahars, this has been shut down multiple times, and is now used for  tourism.

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We set off on a beautiful clear day, with relatively calm sea conditions (though I still looked drunk when wandering around the boar). Apparently in the Summer months you have the chance of spotting whales and dolphins.You can see the island from miles away with large amounts of steam coming out as you approach. As you get closer, it looks as though a side has collapsed and you get your first glimpse into the volcano.

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DSCF9368.JPGOnce you get to the island, you are equipped with helmets and breathing masks which boy did we need!  We were dropped off near some remnants of one of the old mining buildings, given a safety briefing, wiped out boots to make sure we weren’t bringing any funny duddies onto the island then took a 1.5 hour guided tour around the island.

The island was unlike anything I’d ever seen before, barren, steaming and striking (and stinking). With ridiculously unique features everywhere you turned.

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We saw sulphur chimneys

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and even got to look down into the crater.

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We also tasted the water from 2 sources… top tip, only dip your finger in… you don’t want to try anymore than that!

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We also had a bit of time to check out the old buildings before we left.

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As we boarded the boat, a couple of people went for a swim in the freezing sea before we set back off to the mainland taking in our final sights of the island.

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