Scuba Diving New Zealand
Scuba diving in New Zealand offers something for everyone.
New Zealand has literally hundreds of top diving sites with over 15,000 km of coast line and numerous lakes and rivers. Many of these sites are considered world class including the world renowned Poor Knight Islands, the Rainbow Warrior Wreck plus closer to Auckland, Goat Island, and Little Barrier Island.
New Zealand waters are among the few virgin wonders left in diving today. The wealth and density of marine life is exhilarating. Lying exactly halfway between the equator and the South Pole, the water and weather in New Zealand are both temperate – benign even.
New Zealand offers the unique opportunity to explore the seabeds, observe fish and other underwater creatures, be amazed by the beautiful coral and explore sunken wrecks. New Zealand’s coastline offers some of the world’s best spots for diving tours, scuba diving tours and snorkeling.
Scuba Diving in New Zealand is under rated as a top diving destinations. The late Jacques Cousteau once said that he thought that the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, off New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, were one amongst the top five top diving destinations. Great Diving is what you can expect if you choose to go Scuba diving in New Zealand.
From the sub-tropical reefs and beaches of the North Island to the unique topography and temperate waters of the South Island, it could take a lifetime to uncover all the dive sites along New Zealand’s 14,000-kilometre/8700-mile coastline
New Zealand has miles of accessible coastlines, marine reserves and hundreds of offshore islands, it’s underwater world is vast and diverse.
Scuba Diving New Zealand includes dive wrecks, drop-offs and sub-tropical reefs in clean, clear waters. You can explore huge kelp forests, swim with school fish or alongside dolphins. For a different adventure and experience, try kayak diving or a descent after dark.
Most of the popular spots are easily accessed from the mainland coast or you can take a boat to the more remote reefs and islands.
HIGHLIGHT DIVE AREAS
The Poor Knights Islands are undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of New Zealand diving. A marine reserve since 1981 this subtropical reef system presents a stunning diversity of reef fish, pelagics, sponges, anemonies, nudibranchs and sea weeds – so good that Jacques Cousteau rated the Poor Knights as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.
Goat Island is one of New Zealand’s most famous dive sites is Located just north of Auckland. A marine reserve since 1975, it is home to a huge variety of marine life including Blue Cod, Snapper and Crayfish. Goat Island is an easy swim and a superb dive spot with depths 9 to 18 metres. Beneath the waves are a variety of habitats, from rocky shores exposed at low tide, to deep reefs, underwater cliffs, canyons and sand flats.
Coromandel Coast-Aldermen Islands: The Aldermen Islands are often referred to as the vanishing volcanoes. They are what remains of a once far larger volcanic complex. There is varied and abundant marine life and the Honeycomb Caverns are considerted by many to be one of New Zealands top dive sites.
HMNZS Tui Wreck: Formerly the almost 200ft US Navy ship was designed for hydrological survey and submarine hunting spy work and protected New Zealand’s anti nuclear protest fleet at Mururoa.
The Tui lays at about 90ft and is just over a mile north of Tukukaka Head. Easily penetrated through purpose cut access points, explore the control room, bridge, crew living quarters and engine rooms via established routes. A very enjoyable dive for all levels of divers.
Rainbow Warrior Wreck: The wreck was relocated off the Cavalli Islands two years later. This artificial reef has matured into an ever growing host to marine life. The wreck is a splendour of colour with jewel coloured anemones clinging to the rails in hues of purple, yellow and blue. It is the home to schools of Golden Snapper, Kingfish and John Dory. Don’t miss the opportunity to dive on one of the world’s most famous wrecks.
White Island is one of the few places in the world you can dive an active volcano. What makes this place truly unique is the bubbling underwater fissures creating an underwater Jacuzzi. Warmer currents also mean nudibranches, like those of the Poor Knights, and visibility of generally 60ft plus. This fascinating place is brushed by the warm waters of an offshore current and offers exciting dives from pinnacles with 300 feet drop offs to reef dives. Marine life includes abundant varieties of fish life such as huge Kingfish, Stingrays, Moray Eels and massive schools of Blue Maomao, along with some of the biggest crayfish.
Aramoana Mole: Just a 30-minute drive from Dunedinon the South Island, Aramoana Mole has the most accessible dive wrecks in the country, beautiful temperate marine life, exquisite sponge gardens and kelp forests. There is good road access and it’s a nice drive. Depths average 23 – 65 feet
Stewart Island/Rakiura is about 30kilometres/19 miles south west of Bluff off New Zealand’s South Island and is accessible via ferry or flight. The dive sites around Stewart Island boast some of the richest and most varied marine habitats in New Zealand. The dense, swaying jungle of giant kelp is home to myriad fish and there is also the e Marine Maid wreck to dive.
Milford Sound: In this spectacular fiord divers may encounter black and red corals and spiny sea-dragons. Half the fiord is a marine reserve that is just as spectacular above the water, boasting glacier-carved hanging valleys, thick native forests and spectacular waterfalls. You can drive, taking a bus tour or fly to Milford Sound from Queenstown on the South Island.
Doubtful Sound / Secretary Island: Bottlenose dolphins guard the entrance to Doubtful Sound. Starfish prey on the mussels blanketing Deep Cove while Bauza Island and The Guthave glorious red and black coral. Doubtful Sound is not directly accessible by road. Travel arrangements may be made at Queenstown,Te Anau and the town of Manapouri, where your Doubtful Sound adventure begins at Deep Cove.
DIVE SEASON: Diving happens all year in New Zealand. The weather is subtropical in the far north to temperate in the south. But the best time to dive in New Zealand is between January and June.Water Temperature: South Island water temperatures are cooler, averaging 15-20°C/59-68°F depending on the season. North Island water temperatures vary between 18-24°C/64-75°F depending on the location and season.
VISIBILITY: Depending on the dive site and the area, visibility can range from less than 10 metres/30 feet to more than 40 metres/130 feet.
MARINE LIFE: Divers will encounter a broad range of creatures, including blue maomao, blue cod, blue mackerel, trevally, snapper, tarakihi, hapuku, yellowtail kingfish, red cod, kahawai, warehou, john dory, parore, gurnard, trumpeter, black marlin, blue marlin, Hector’s dolphin, blue shark, bronze whaler shark, mako shark, hammerhead shark, thresher shark, kina, crayfish and scallops.
CLIMATE: Warm, sunny summers are followed by mild and wet winters. Average temperatures in the summer are from 10-18°C/50-64° F while winter brings 3-10°C/37-50° F.LANGUAGE: English. Māori can be heard in some areas.CURRENCY: New Zealand Dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted.ELECTRICITY: 230 volts, 50 Hz. Internet is available in most places.
GETTING THERE: Most international visitors arrive in the major hubs of Auckland Airport or Christchurch Airport. However, flights from Australia or the Pacific Islands arrive at New Zealand’s smaller international airports
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: When you arrive in New Zealand, you’ll need to be carrying a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond your intended departure date. Many people will qualify for visa-free entry, but depending on your country of origin, some will need to apply for a visa before they travel. Visa-waiver countries
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