Diving Poor knights, photo credit Knight Diver

With a long, often indented coastline of almost 18,000km, New Zealand is a diver's paradise. Coastal waters teem with colourful, fascinating sea life and the usually clear waters make for excellent viewing, especially in the prime months from February to June. Many of New Zealand's prime diving spots are just offshore, offering easy access. One of the best spots is the crystal-clear waters of the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, whose amazing range of fish, including many tropical species, was considered by the late Jacques Cousteau to be one of the world's top ten diving locations.

Other popular areas are the sheltered Bay of Islands, four hours drive north of Auckland; and in the South Island, the dramatic fiords of Fiordland, and Stewart Island with its breathtaking kelp forests and huge paua (abalone). Two accessible wrecks on the New Zealand coast also provide special diving opportunities. Don't forget your diver's certification card but if you are not certified, instruction and certification are available.

Not to be missed Dive Spots:

The Poor Knights: The Poor Knights Islands were named by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world. Separated from mainland New Zealand, the Poor Knights Islands are influenced by a warm current that originates in the Coral Sea, north of Australia. Water temperatures are higher, and visibility significantly greater than in nearby coastal waters. Underground caves, tunnels and archways are home to an extraordinary variety of seaweeds and dense populations of friendly, colourful fish. The mixture of tropical and subtropical sea life, and the clarity of the water result in an underwater environment that is truly unique on this planet. Diving at the Poor Knights is rewarding at all times of the year. Mid January to late April presents excellent all round diving. The water is warm 20-23 Celsius (70F) and the water is clear averaging 20 meters visibility. This is the summer season so you can expect mild air temperatures too. From May to early September the visibility is excellent while the temperature falls to a winter low of 15-16 Celsius. Often calm periods of weather occur over this time and visibility in excess of 30 meters can be encountered.

The Rainbow Warrior: The Rainbow Warrior was bombed by the French secret service on July 10th 1985 while moored at Marsden wharf Auckland New Zealand. The Greenpeace Campaign photographer Fhernando Pereira was trapped and drowned in his cabin after the second explosion ripped through the Warriors hull. On the 12th December 1987 the Rainbow Warrior was finally laid to rest with full maori ceremony in the waters off Matauri Bay amongst the Cavalli islands Northland New Zealand. Sunk as a recreational diving wreck, it sits upright on a white sandy bottom in around 25 metres of water. This artificial reef now plays host to a myriad of marine life from the beautifully coloured jewel anemones to the many species of fish that habitat the wreck in all shapes and sizes. This is a shallow wreck dive suitable for certified open water divers.

Fiordland: Fiordland's unique marine environment results from a combination of dramatic mountains and intense rainfall. Massive volumes of water flow into the fiords, causing a freshwater layer to overlay the seawater, thereby creating an environment where deepwater species can live at unusually shallow depths. This means that scuba divers like you can see rare black and red corals, spiny sea-dragons and other deepwater life at only 10-15m. Fiordland is home to the highest concentration of black corals in the world and as shallow as 10m in places. The first sighting of a black coral tree is often an eerie white glow in the distance - exciting stuff. Slightly deeper but worth the trip, red corals can be seen glowing almost neon beneath our lights. Some of these corals are over 300 years old!

Contact us about adding a dive trip to your Luxury Adventures travel itinerary or if you would like us to tailor a complete dive vacation.