White Island (Whakaari) is located within northern New Zealand's Bay of Plenty, 29 miles (48 km) offshore. Guided tours are the only way you can get there. Tours run from both Whakatane, the closest town to White Island, and Tauranga, 56 miles (91 km) away. Some tours also run from further afield, such as Taupo or Rotorua, but these will need to pass through Whakatane or Tauranga. Here's how to get to White Island.

By Boat

Boat tours of White Island are only possible from Whakatane. Guided tours that land on the island and give you time to walk around take between four and six hours. They depart daily, but only when the weather is favorable, as the sea crossing would be uncomfortable and even dangerous in poor weather. They're also subject to the volcanic and seismic activity, as it's not always safe to set foot on (or even get near to) White Island. Another attraction of a boat tour is that you may be able to spot whales, dolphins, and other marine and bird life along the way. 

It's also possible to charter a private boat for sightseeing or even a fishing trip out to White Island. This is a more expensive option, but you'll have more flexibility.

By Helicopter or Plane

Helicopter tours run from both Whakatane and Tauranga, and take about two hours. You'll fly over and around the island for the best views. Some tours also land on the island for a guided tour, but not all. Helicopter tours are more expensive than boat tours but are a spectacular way of experiencing the drama of White Island. They are also subject to weather conditions and volcanic activity.

Sightseeing flights by airplane rather than helicopter are another way to see White Island. Note that these don't land on the island, but can fly quite close to the ground for some spectacular views.