It's quite unusual for the English version of a Māori place name to be an exact translation but this volcanic island, 9km off the coast near Whakatane, really does look like a cartoon whale from certain angles. It's one of the less active members of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, although there are hot springs along its shore. The summit is 353m high and the island has several historic sites, including an ancient pā (fortified village) site, a quarry and a camp.
Moutohora was once the site of a Ngāti Awa village but in 1867 it passed into European ownership. Since 1965 it has been a DOC-protected wildlife refuge for seabirds and shorebirds, and it's now completely predator free. In 1999, 40 tieke (the once-endangered North Island saddleback) were released; they now number around 1500. Fur seals are also frequently spotted.