Fishing & Diving at White Island - (Whakaari)
White Island is New Zealand's most active volcano and lays 49km North of Whakatane. It takes approximately 1-1/2 hours, aboard the Phantom, to travel from Whakatane to White Island is the summit of a large submarine volcano displaying scenery similar to that you may expect to see on Mars due to the constant volcanic activity. The rugged lunar landscape in contrast with the deep blue seawater makes White Island an awesome scenic attraction.
Most of the vegetation on White island is dead or stunted due to the acidic soil, acid rain and occasional dose of volcanic ash. However there is a small Pohutukawa tree forest on the islands north end due to this area being mostly sheltered from volcanic fallout. White island coastline is made up of rocky bays with steep cliffs and many huge boulder structures some hanging precariously over the water.
Seams of bright yellow sulphur can be seen glistening along the cliff faces. There are great numbers of sea birds living in the area along with gannet colonies where fascinating tapestries of nests are built and occupied during the summer months. Snorkelling around White Island is spectacular due to the usually clear water, bubbling volcanic vents and abundance of fish life.
Sheer rock pinnacles, rising from the ocean depths almost to the surface, make this a world class dive Schools of fish, made up of blue mao mao, trevally and large kingfish can be seen boiling on the surface. White Island has a history of sulphur mining that was carried out between 1885 and1933. During September of 1914 a crater wall collapsed causing a lahar to sweep down the crater floor resulting in the death of ten miners who were living on White island at the time. Mining operations ceased in the 1930s due to the reduced demand for fertilizer and high costs of extraction.
The remains of the old sulphur factory can be seen above Crater The Island is privately owned and has the status of being a private scenic reserve. Landing on the island is by permit only and White Island Tours provide a two-hour guided tour on the island. Because of the distance from shore and the hour and a half travel time required to reach the island we offer a full day tour to the island specializing in providing personal service for groups of up to ten people. White Island you will have the opportunity to get up close to nature and the scenery by kayaking around White island.
Scuba diving White Island, snorkelling in a sheltered bay White island, join a White Island Tour on the island or simply come out for the ride to enjoy the company and stunning scenery.