Boasting some of the most beautiful scenery on earth, New Zealand has not been known for diving, but all that’s set to change. It’s worth braving these colder waters, as the rewards are great.
This stunning country consists of two main islands and several smaller ones. Best known for outdoor adrenaline sports, New Zealand hasn’t been known for its diving possibilities. However it does promise world-class sites. The country is well geared up to all types of visitor, from tourist to traveller, so accommodation of all kinds is easy to find. And if you’re scared of snakes and spiders New Zealand may well be the perfect place – the islands are free of both. In fact there are no poisonous animals at all anywhere in the countries numerous islands.
The diving here is considered to be year-round, although the waters can get chilly at times. It’s worth braving the colder temperatures though, as the diving is awesome. New Zealand features ten marine reserves, which means much of the marine life has been protected from over fishing or the effects of tourism.
Just as the tourist industry is well developed in New Zealand, so to is the diving infrastructure. Dive centres can be found all over the country with many offering diving packages, instruction, equipment hire and plenty of advice on the best sites to visit.
Not one dive, but several sites including Red Baron Arches and Nursery Cove, Poor Knights will leave you spoilt for choice for weeks. In fact Jacques Cousteau was so taken by the location that he considered it to be one of the top ten in the world. The attraction: a profusion of fish that has resulted in the region being likened to a huge aquarium of wild fish. Poor Knights was designated a marine park in 1981. Spear fishing and commercial fishing are banned, which means the fish life is quite prolific.
Wrecks of Tui and Waikato
Close to the Poor Knights are the wrecks of Tui and Waikato, which were intentionally sunk in 1999 and 2000. They now make fine reefs that are excellent sites for advanced divers. The Tui, which is 63-metres in length, lies on her side at 33m, while the larger 113-metre Waikato sits upright in 29m.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is not only a great place to see white-sided dolphins, but is also where the wreck of the Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, was sunk after the French secret service blew it up. Not the greatest dive, but worth a visit for the historical value alone.
The Three Kings
A group of thirteen islands 64km northwest of the northern tip of New Zealand. Only suitable for advanced divers due to the currents that rush through these islands where the Pacific meets the Tasman Sea. The sheer challenge of this dive has made it the undersea equivalent of New Zealand’s on land adrenaline sports!