• Moutohora: Island Sanctuary / Whale Island Tours

Moutohorā (Whale Island) is one of New Zealand’s little known treasures and home to a number of New Zealand’s rare and endangered plants, birds and reptiles.  Due to the precious nature of this pest free island access is highly restricted to the general public and the only way to visit the island is with a Department of Conservation approved concessionaire. We are privileged to be allowed to take a small number of visitors to the island each day.

Sitting only 9 kilometres off the coast of Whakatāne the journey to Moutohorā is just a short 15 minute boat ride aboard our comfortable catamaran “The Moutohora Cat”.  The Moutohora Cat allows for very easy access onto the island as it is able to nose onto the shore allowing you to descend a set of stairs directly onto the beach.

The fully guided tour of the island allows visitors to learn about the flora and fauna and the conservation effort focused on Moutohorā for the past 50 years. The island is a bird lover’s paradise, with the opportunity to see saddleback/tieke, kakariki/ red crowned parakeet, little brown kiwi, bellbirds, tui, grey warbler and many species of sea birds. We also visit the NZ fur seal colony for an up close look at these beautiful animals.

Our walk includes a visit to the island’s saddle for spectacular views out to White Island and a visit to Onepū/Sulphur Bay where there is a chance to dig your own hot pool on the beach where geothermal hot springs come up through the sand.

Our Moutohorā / Whale Island tours operate on a daily basis however are subject to weather and demand.


  • A 4 – 4.5 hour tour to explore one of NZ’s most protected wildlife sanctuaries
  • Visit a NZ fur seal colony
  • See abundant bird life
  • Swim at secluded Sulphur bay – a hot water beach
  • Small groups with a maximum of 12 people per guide, maximum of 24 people per day
  • Comfortable, tourist class vessel with inside and outside seating, clear viewing and on board toilet facilities
  • Ticket price includes landing fee supporting Department of Conservation’s work on the island and a contribution to support the Whakatāne Coastguard
  • The only registered adventure activity provider operating to Moutohorā​ – know that you are in safe hands!
  • Qualmark Endorsed Activity and Qualmark Enviro-Gold – New Zealand Tourism’s mark of quality and environmental care

Until 31st March 2020
Adult: $99
​Child: $59 
(15 years and under)

From 1st April 2020
Adult: $119
​Child $59 (15 years and under)

  • Important info
  • What to Bring
  • What is Included
  • Volcanic Alert Level: Whakaari/White Island is currently on Alert Level 1. This level indicates minor volcanic unrest and is the most common alert level for Whakaari/White Island. White Island Tours  operates through the varying alert levels but passengers should be aware that there is always a risk of eruptive activity regardless of the alert level. White Island Tours  follows a comprehensive safety plan which determines our activities on the island at the various levels.
  • White Island Tours  operate 7 days a week, weather permitting.
  • Bookings are essential.
  • We recommend that children be at least 8 years of age, however, the final decision rests with the parent or caregiver. The minimum age is 6 years.  Please see our FAQs page for more information.
  • The tour is very weather dependent and also numbers dependent. We will confirm with you between 7pm and 8pm the night prior whether the tour is able to operate.
  • Check-in is at White Island Rendezvous, 15 The Strand East, Whakatāne. Check-in is required 30- 45 minutes prior to your advised departure time.
  • Tour departure times:
    Due to tides, sea conditions and operational requirements our tour departure times vary on daily basis. Our morning tours generally depart between 8am and 10am and, where offered, our afternoon tours usually depart between 1pm and 2pm. We will confirm the exact departure time with you via email or phone call which is why it is very important that you provide contact details where we can get hold of you or that you ensure you contact us if you have not heard from us.
  • Fully enclosed shoes with good grip.
  • Warm waterproof jacket
  • Drink/water bottle: a water filling station is available on board to refill, as required.
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Quality cruising aboard purpose-built vessels
  • Professional and experienced crew and tour guides
  • 1 – 1.5 hour fully guided walking tour of White Island’s inner crater area
  • A light packed lunchbox
  • Safety gear (gas mask and hard hat)
  • Permit to land on the island
  • Department of Conservation permit to spend time with any marine mammals that we encounter