White IslandWhite Island
is situated forty-eight kilometres from the east coast of the North Island
of New Zealand
, in the Bay of Plenty
. The nearest mainland towns are Whakatane and Tauranga
. The island is roughly circular, about 2km in diameter.
The island was named on October 1, 1769 by Captain Cook because it always appeared to be in a cloud of white steam. Although Cook went close to the island he failed to notice that it was a volcano.
It is an active volcano which has been erupting in a minor way more or less continually for the last few years.
An attempt was made in the early 1900's to mine sulphur from White Island but it was abandoned in 1914, when a lahar killed all the workforce. The remains of the buildings can still be seen, much corroded by the sulphuric gasses.
It is easily accessible by tourists from the mainland by boat or helicopter.