We've been looking forward to going to White Island Marine Volcano for over ten years and now we have finally done it. Was it worth it.....yes and no.....read on....
First some background about the island (straight from Wikipedia): 
Whakaari / White Island is an active andesite stratovolcano, situated 48 km (30 mi) from the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand, in the Bay of Plenty. It is New Zealand's most active cone volcano, and has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years. The nearest mainland towns are Whakatane and Tauranga. White Island has been in a nearly continuous stage of smoking since it was discovered by James Cook in 1769.

The island is roughly circular, about 2 km (1.2 mi) in diameter, and rises to a height of 321 m (1,053 ft) above sea level. However this is only the peak of a much larger submarine mountain, which rises up to 1,600 m (5,249 ft) above the nearby seafloor, making this volcanic structure the largest in New Zealand. Sulfur mining was attempted but was abandoned in 1914 after a lahar killed all 10 workers.
We opted for the afternoon crossing by boat and joined the other 42 intrepid travellers looking forward to a 2 hour crossing enjoying the sites as we closed in on our destination. The boat gently headed out of the harbour past the lady on the rock statue where she has stood since the 1950's and across the bar out to sea. At this point we realised that being on the top deck of the boat really wasn't the greatest of ideas as the water was choppy and the boat seriously rocked from side to side as the skipper powered his way towards the island. Hoping we were nearly there I heard them say we were half way, at which point I really wished we'd paid the extra $900 it would have cost us to go by helicopter! Finally, with a lot of ash grey faces we made it to the island and solid ground beneath our feet. 
The island itself is incredible with bright hues of orange and red coating the landscape and the billowing steam continuously coming out of the crater in the distance making this a photographers paradise. Unfortunately, with the time limited to an hour on the island and lots of ground to cover it felt like a route march so having time to compose images was a bit of a mission, but thankfully I did manage to get a few.
If you've ever been to Rotorua then you will be aware of the somewhat pungent smell a lot of geothermal activity can produce. Well, they gave us gas masks on the boat for use on the island which they said were not compulsory but we might appreciate them. Yep, they were definitely needed at times with the acidic steam entering your lungs and stinging your eyes when the wind decided to blow it your way......and the smell, wow, Rotorua is positively sweet in comparison!
Then, unfortunately, it was over far too soon and we were making our way back to the boat where they handed out pack lunches.....just before a 90 minute high tail crossing through even rougher waters. It may be me, but this did not seem like a sensible idea so we kept ours until we were almost back to port. Not everyone thought the same way, well, you get the idea ;-)
Would I do the trip again, probably not, but only because of the journey there and back and the limited time on the island. Am I glad we did, absolutely :-)

Crew taking it easy before the boat comes in and a rapid change ready for our group to head out.
After almost two hours we see land.......and yes, that piece of concrete jutting out is the pier!
The crossing is soon forgotten when you start to look out at a barren landscape like this. 
Only a few days before our tour the side of the volcano decided to have a bit of a moment and a caused a landslide of all this ash along the path......thankfully no-one was on a tour at the time.
Hard hat on, safe in the knowledge that this would protect any tourist in the event of the volcano deciding to go boom....yeah right!
One of our guides who are all experts on the volcano in his usual pose of 'thou shalt not pass' ;-)
The whole place is like a massive chemistry experiment with bright yellows and oranges all over the place.
Presumably water does flow through here at times as there were other areas where small streams flow
On our way to the crater rim I took a moment to look back....wow
Stood only a few meters from the craters edge you look down at this constantly moving mass of liquid waiting for a brief glimpse of it through the steam
Edge of the crater rim isn't that stable so this was as close as were allowed to get....probably wise
Such an incredibly surreal landscape, foreboding and majestic all at the same time
Another dried up stream making its way from the hills in the distance
Second group just in front of me along with the first group way out in the distance. People certainly help to give some sense of scale to the place.
Having stood at the edge of the crater already it was stunning to look back at this panorama and realise just how vast it is, reminded me of Death Valley
Having witnessed the seething mass of the crater time to make our way back towards the boat.
One last look back at the crater
Hot flowing water, around bath temperature, with a very metallic taste.....not recommended
The high walls are full of deep gullies making their way to the valley floor. This image really doesn't do the varying shades of orange and yellow justice
Another moment to take a look back towards the constant steam billowing from the crater and try to capture some of the harshness of this amazing landscape
Yellows and blue sky worked so well together, and, fortunate timing of my good lady walking through the shot adding a sense of scale to it
Two of the group broke away briefly to do a little exploring on their own
Almost back and the cloud breaks through the cloud....time for a sunburst for a bit of artsy drama as the source of heat in our solar system hovers above a vent to the heat at the heart of our planet
A venture to mine sulphur from the island was abandoned years ago as the island did not produce it at a rate fast enough to make mining viable. Men worked and stayed on the island for months at a time!
More remains of the old sulphur mining operation on the island
Not quite sure why they left an anchor there.....but it looked cool :-)
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