A volcanic eruption occurred at Whakaari/White Island in the Bay of Plenty on 9 December 2019. The New Zealand Police and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are responding. Visit the NEMA website for latest information.
Whakatāne frequently records the highest number of sunshine hours in New Zealand. This sunny town is known for fishing trips and volcano visits.
The main centre for the eastern Bay of Plenty, Whakatane is one of the sunniest towns in New Zealand. Just off shore is White Island, a spectacular active volcano that can be visited by launch or helicopter. Guided tours of the island necessitate a gas mask and hard hat. Whakatane is also known for its fishing – more yellow fin tuna are caught here than anywhere else in the country.
Other Whakatane attractions include the museum, an observatory and Maori historical sites. The Nga Tapuwae o Toi walkway leads to pa sites, native forest and seabird colonies. Dolphin and Seal tours, which can include swimming encounters, start in November. There are guided Kayak tours on offer around Ohiwa Harbour and Whale Island.
Whakatane is also very close to Ohope, a 10km white sandy beach, which has a small settlement and is perfect for camping, surfing, walking and relaxing in the sun.