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Inspiration Whale Island

Inspiration Whale Island Tours

Join us in Whakatane on our guided tour of Whale Island.

We endeavour to fascinate you with Whale Island’s history and cultural heritage while we explore some of the island’s diverse geological features and surrounded in the abundance of flora and fauna.

Did you know?
White Island (Whakaari) is world renowned as a geothermal icon of Whakatane. Whale Island (Moutohorā) has 5 sites of geothermal activity, including hot springs at sea level.

General Information

  • Duration 4 hours
  • Standard Rate $110 per person
  • Lunch and hot beverage provided
  • Departure Time 8:30am*
  • Check-in 30 minutes prior to departure
  • Minimum age 10 years

*Subject to change due to marine weather or river bar conditions

Evening Prior Confirmation
Transportation is dependent on marine weather and river bar conditions. It is very important we receive contact on our freephone between 7:00pm and 8:00pm to confirm the tour.

Essential Items to bring with you:

  • Water
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Raincoat
  • Camera

Continue reading for more information on the tour programme or book now

Past meets present

When Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand arrived on the shores of Whakatane the island was named Moutohorā. Moutohorā is derived from the Māori words ‘Motu’ translated as island and ‘Tohorā’ meaning whale.

When European explorers arrived much later their observation of the island’s distinctive shape inspired the name Whale Island.

Learn about the partnership of the community in the management and guardianship (Kaitiakitanga) of this treasure or taonga (in Māori).

Cultural significance

Whale Island is immersed in cultural heritage. The island has numerous wāhi tapu (sacred areas) such as Māori Pā sites (fortified villages) and urupā (burial grounds). Whale Island is also an important food resource. We respect the archaeological and cultural importance of these areas by staying on the track and sharing our knowledge.

Diverse environment

Whale Island is a remnant complex volcanic cone with geothermal activity in some areas such as Te Onepū (Sulphur Bay).

The island has three distinctive bays and two distinctive summits which fall away to rocky cliff faces in which large colonies of bird life shelter. With a wealth of regenerated and reintroduced growth of native plant and animal species, Whale Island has become a very special wildlife sanctuary.

Bio-security Procedures

Whale Island is a sanctioned wildlife refuge. Precious flora and fauna (such as Kiwi) that would not survive without assistance on the mainland thrive on Whale Island. Therefore it is vital we ensure not to carry any unwanted plants or plant material, animals, or insects with us when we depart.

Prior to departure it is our procedure to check our pockets and footwear, and bags. Smoking and fire is restricted.


Be prepared to walk on well-formed track of rises and small dips. One stage the track becomes quite steep enough to raise the heart rate for roughly 5-10 minutes. As a guide you must be able to walk unassisted non-stop for 1 hour. It is essential to wear footwear with good tread.


We transport you to Whale Island on Blue Sky a catamaran (twin hull) built for stability and comfort with onboard facilities. At 32 feet (10 metre) with 320 horse power, Blue Sky is ideal for cruising and transportation. Surveyed for 25 passengers plus crew. For larger groups we will arrange for multiple transfers and have a secondary vessel available, Taniwha.

Taniwha is a 26 feet (8 metre) rigid hull inflatable Naiad with 300 horse power. Surveyed for 15 passengers plus crew.


To have access to Whale Island (Moutohorā) a permit is required. Our concession which grants our company permits to conduct our tours on Whale Island (Moutohorā) is managed by Tourism Ngāti Awa and governed by Te Tapatoru ā Toi (or the Joint Management Committee). Te Tapatoru ā Toi is a partnership of Ngāti Awa and the Department of Conservation.

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