White Island New Zealand

Moutohora Island Sanctuary (Whale Island)

Moutohorā (Whale Island) - a dormant volcano five nautical miles off Whakatane - is a wildlife sanctuary, providing refuge for endangered birds (including kiwi) and plants under the protection of the Department of Conservation (DOC). For the protection of this special island access is highly restricted. White Island Tours holds a DOC concession to take a small number of visitors to this stunning island each day. 

Landing on Whale Island

Departing from Whakatane wharf, the Moutohorā Cat will ferry you to the island in about 20 minutes. Disembarking the Moutohorā Cat is as easy as walking down some stairs and stepping ashore.  Once on the island the guides will lead you on nature walk to various points of interest around the island, including a climb to the saddle. Since becoming pest free, bird life on Moutohorā has flourished and there is a chance to see a number of different species, many of which are endangered or seldom seen on the New Zealand mainland. Your time on the island will end with a look at the geothermal area and for those that want to there is a chance for a swim at Sulphur Bay, Moutohorā’s very own hot water beach. After re-boarding the Moutohorā Cat we’ll make a circumnavigation of the island and visit the NZ fur seal colony before heading back to Whakatane.

Whale Island

Departure time is 10am with return to the Whakatane wharf at approximately 1.30pm.  Check-in is required 30 minutes prior to departure to allow for bio-security checks.


$90 per adult and $60 per child (13 years and under) until 6 April 2015

$95 per adult and $59 per child (15 years and under) from 7 April 2015 

Private group tours are also available. For group price please contact us.


  • Warm clothing for the boat ride
  • Sturdy footwear for the walk
  • Small backpack
  • Swimwear and towel (optional)
  • Sun protection – hat and sunscreen


  • Moutohorā (Whale Island) is a presently rodent and predator free. To keep it this way it is important for us to enforce strict bio-security checks on behalf of the Department of Conservation.
  • Before arriving for your tour please check clothing, bags and shoes for soil and seeds. This is to prevent weed species becoming established on Whale Island.
  • Backpacks and bags must be able to be sealed closed with a zip or similar device. Open bags are not permitted.
  • Only packaged food is permitted on the island. No fruit or home grown produce is allowed. Food may be taken aboard the boat but must be in a sealed container or commercially packaged.   
  • Following check-in for your tour you will be directed to the bio-security Caravan on the wharf. Please try to bring as little as possible to the island.
  • Inside the bio-security caravan you will be required to un-pack any bag you may have. Items will be inspected by a White Island Tours staff member to ensure that they do not inadvertently contain rodents, insects or seeds.
  • You will be requested to dip the soles of your shoes into a water bath containing a strong disinfectant prior to boarding the boat.
  • Whale Island is an extremely dry environment and as such there is a high fire risk. Please do not bring matches or lighters on the tour. Smoking is not permitted on the island or on the boat.
  • All items taken to the island must be removed again.

For more information on protecting NZ's offshore islands please see the DOC brochure: click here


  • Children under eight are not recommended and we have a minimum age requirement of four years. Under 15s must be accompanied by a parent.
  • Hazards on the trip include geothermal activity, rugged terrain with steep areas, boulders and cliffs, and mutton bird burrows.
  • Special medication and health issues - if you are on special medication or if you have health issues that might affect your ability to manage the walk, please inform your guides on the day.
  • A moderate level of fitness is required as the track is quite steep in parts.


Book now by clicking below or call us on 0800 733 529 or email to info@whiteisland.co.nz

Please note that tours to Moutohora are dependent on weather and minimum numbers.


Whale Island.