White Island Tour – New Zealand’s Most Active Volcano

by | Jun 26, 2019 | Hiking, Travel

I’ve got five reasons why the White Island tour of New Zealand’s most active volcano should be added to your itinerary! It wasn’t initially on my 20-day New Zealand itinerary. I’m glad I added it.


White Island Tour

My sister Dianne suggested the White Island tour after a colleague who is a New Zealander said, “You’ve got to go to White Island.” It was added, but I was ambivalent. The boat ride and the active volcano part made me a bit nervous. 

Five Reasons Why 

Reason #1 

Hiking into an active volcano is surreal. Images of Barney Rubble trundling to the gravel pit for work popped into my head as we made our way to the rim of the crater lake. Chuck renamed the lake, “Acid Lake” because the lake’s acidity is the same as battery acid. 




Reason #2 

The White Island tour crew is friendly, knowledgeable, and entertaining. I’m am still haunted by their stories about the miners who lived on the Island. One particular story about a miner’s boots found by the crater lake’s edge creeps into my nightmares. The miner was never found. 


Lollies were shared to combat the sulfur smell.



I wish I’d had a lolly when we hiked through Bumpass Hell in Lassen Volcanic National Park in 2014.

Lassen Volcanic National Park - 2014

Reason # 3

Tasting the water from a stream trickling away from the crater. I bet you are thinking, “Are You crazy? You just said the lake has the same acidity as a car battery.” But I’m sure you are also wondering how it tasted. A bit like blood is the answer. 


I got in the back of the line, just in case it wasn’t safe. 

Reason # 4

Active volcano carters are typically hard to reach which makes visiting White Island a once in a lifetime opportunity. A bit of common sense should suggest it is dangerous. At the time, I thought, “They wouldn’t let us hike near an active volcano if is dangerous.” Turns out, you’ll find a culture in New Zealand where you get to decide how dangerous is too dangerous for you. We were provided with hard hats, gas masks, and safety training. Let’s get real; if the volcano erupted while we were there, the hard hats weren’t going to save us.


Volcano activity is monitored as is the weather conditions. Tours are canceled if either is an issue. On the day of our tour, we had to wait for an email giving us a thumbs-up from the tour company that our tour was still a go. 

Reason # 5

The boat ride is an unexpected reason. Boat rides are not typically my jam but this ride was pleasantly relaxing and we got a taste of marine life when a school of dolphins swam by. Getting a good picture of a dolphin is really hard. Another unexpected perk to the boat ride is meeting other world explorers. You’re not required to interact but we couldn’t help it and met several lovely couples. 




Add the White Island Tour to your itinerary! I’m glad it was on ours despite the fact it flirted with danger (cue: Molly Hatchet)

Pictures and itinerary 

Yes, there are more pictures in our gallery. Please take a look and share on social media. We only ask for photo credit. Our 20 days in New Zealand itinerary is available to help you create your own adventure.

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1 Comment

  1. Nicely done, it was a wonderful trip !!


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