Whale Island, or Moutohora in Maori (meaning whale), lies five and half miles off the coast of Whakatane, in the Bay of Plenty, of North Island, NZ. It is the remnant of a volcano. Purchased by the government in 1984, the island still displays its history with active hot springs– including a warm sand beach where access is not allowed. The Department of Conservation has eradicated goats and rats and reintroduced native birds, bushes and trees.
Meg and I enjoyed a late afternoon kayaking adventure paddling around the island with an outfitter, KG Kayaks. We returned in a gorgeous sunset. We had hoped to see blue penguins coming back on shore for the night, and dolphin. No such luck, but we were well entertained by seals doing wonderful ballet movements as we paddled close to the rocks where they hung out. We also enjoyed the lovely pohutukawa trees that bloom in December and are only found on coastal areas of North Island. We had missed doing this trip on earlier visits. In the future, it is now on our “to do” list.
|Whale Island from Air New Zealand flight to Whakatane
|Meg paddling around Whale Island with KG Kayaks
|Whale Island, KG_Kayaks
|Kayaker with seal on right on rocks
|Seal, Whale Island
|Whale Island from Ohope beach