White Island, New Zealand Cruise Port, 2024, 2025 and 2026 Cruises to White Island, New Zealand | The Cruise Web

White Island, New Zealand Cruise Port

Located about 30 miles to the west of New Zealand’s North Island, White Island, or Whakaari, is actually an active stratovolcano. A stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano, is a phenomenon born in nature, as it is built up over time due to many hardened layers of lava, tephra, pumice and ash. This particular stratovolcano is quite volatile and last erupted in September 2017. White Island was first discovered by famous explorer Captain James Cook in 1769 and the island—which had likely been releasing smoke prior to its discovery—has been continuously smoking ever since. The landmass, which is uninhabited, is almost completely circular in shape and has a top elevation point of over 1,050 feet. Cruise ships and other tours can’t venture to the island without permission because it was declared a private scenic reserve in 1953. It’s also a categorized as an Important Bird Area (IBA).


  • The island received its Important Bird Area (IBA) status when it was discovered to be a breeding colony for more than 3,000 pairs of Australasian gannets.
  • The island’s private owners often grant walking tours to venturing cruise groups. The topography is complex and interesting throughout the island, and there are some rather challenging hikes.
  • The island’s main crater consistently changes after each eruption, and new craters are uncovered all the time. The explosive events also change the color of the land based on how much ash is released from each crater’s vents.
  • The waters around the island are popular spots for sport fishing. Popular species that can be found in the depths include yellowtail kingfish, marlin and yellowfin tuna.

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