Whakaari / White Island survivor Kelsey Waghorn says the three months following the disastorous eruption are the longest she's spent on land in years.

The White Island tour guide suffered full thickness burns to 45 per cent of her body in the December 9 eruption.

"Today marks the longest time I have spent on land in five years," she captioned an Instagram post.

Waghorn shared a photo of herself at the active volcano before the eruption, plumes of white smoke steaming up from the rocky earth.


"I miss the salt air, the thrill of spotting marine life, those days where the sea is like glass (and those days where the horizon doesn't exist), trying to get a comb through my hair after a swim, and even gazing in awe into the belly of Whakaari."

She'd spent 10 days in ICU, five of those in an induced coma after the island spewed ash, steam and toxic gas.

"It has been the hardest three months of my life, but I have learnt how stubborn, strong and willing my mind and body are," she wrote.

"Of course, there have been many moments where neither were any of the above, but they have been moments. Not days. Not weeks. For that, I am grateful."

Waghorn also paid tribute to her friend and colleague Hayden-Marshall Inman, one of the 21 people killed in the eruption.

"Today marks three months since I lost a good friend, colleague, and many others lost their loved ones. This will stay with me forever."

Despite extensive searches, Marshall-Inman's body wasn't recovered after the tragedy.

"I'm only just starting to accept that you didn't make it off the island with us," Waghorn wrote in an earlier post.


"Of all people, I never dreamed it would ever be you."

"Look after those who step into Whakaari like you taught so many of us crew to do,"

Waghorn said she was "still getting her head around" the tragedy, but thanked her many well-wishers.

"I have been inundated with love - from family, friends, strangers, and other burns survivors, who have reached out to share their stories, and offer support and advice," she wrote.

"Your kind words mean everything to me. I am absolutely humbled."

"December 9th feels as though it was three seconds ago, and three years ago. I'm still getting my head around it."

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Whakaari/White Island survivor Kelsey Waghorn woke to full thickness burns

She earlier told The Rock that she cried when she saw the thousands of dollars donated to her Givealittle page.

"I cried my eyes out when I saw it. And I read it as nine grand and it was 94 [grand]."

More than $114,000 has now been donated towards her recovery.

After enduring more than a dozen surgeries, Waghorn shared a video of her learning how to walk again, aided by a walking frame.

The marine scientist has undergone more than a dozen surgeries since the eruption and has shared regular updates of her recovery.

A recent video shows her learning how to walk again, aided by a walking frame.

"When they told me 'you'll have to learn to walk again' I almost scoffed," she captioned the post.

She remains in Hutt Valley Hospital, where she has continued to recover and celebrate the "little victories".

A recent photo showed the remarkable transformation of her right hand in just a few short months.

"... although it doesn't look like it on the right there, these mitts are looking significantly more 'skin coloured' every week," she captioned the post.

As her hand has healed, it's become less "crazy sensitive", meaning she can get back to the important things - like patting dogs.

"I'm covered in scars and relocated skin, and that's okay with me," she wrote in a recent update.

"Everything is healing twice as fast as anyone predicted, and although I have my moments, I am proud of the huge progress I have made."