New Zealands coastal waters
offer some of the best underwater diving in the world.
Our deeply indented coastline is actually longer than that of the
United States. Add to this the fact that nowhere is more than two
hours drive from the sea, and it becomes obvious why this is such
an aquatic-centred nation.
Scuba diving has a huge following here and you will find dive
shops and associated underwater clubs in most cities and coastal
resorts. Charter boats regularly head out to offshore islands and
reefs and operators provide all the equipment you need. Bring
your open water diving certificate with you to be eligible for
charter trips. If you want to become a qualified diver you can
join a dive shop training course for around $400.
Dive locations abound in the North Island but the ultimate dive
experience is the Poor Knights Islands, rated by Jacques Cousteau
as one of the top ten dive sites in the world. These islands, off
Tutukaka on the edge of the continental shelf, feature 75 metre
drop off walls, sea caves and soaring arches festooned with
colourful sea life. Also in Northland are the superb diving
wrecks of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, and the frigates
Tui and Waikato. Just north of Auckland is the renowned Goat
Island Marine Reserve with abundant fish life and the perfect
habitat for a first exploratory dive in New Zealand.
South Island dive locations are equally diverse and interesting
but the conditions are somewhat cooler. Notable sites are the
Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura, Stewart Island and Fiordland. In
Milford and Doubtful sound you can see remarkably prolific
growths of black and red coral in relatively shallow water.
Be sure to take a peek under the surface on your New Zealand
holiday - the beauty of our undersea world will amaze you. (also
see Diving Locations)