What’s that? New Zealand is awesome underwater too?

Qualified divers are spoiled with different types of dives off the coast of New Zealand. Nevertheless, if you are a newbie to the dive scene there are plenty of awesome dives to do with activity providers.The islands off the shore of the North Island attract tropical fish, whereas the fiords found in the South Island provide the perfect environment for black corral. Dive deep into the waters of the famous Milford Sound, or there is a choice of wreck dives, especially around the Bay of Islands and Northland, for more technical divers. You can even explore the ocean that attracts so many sea mammals in Kaikoura.Just remember to dive safely and always have a dive buddy!

1. Poor Knights Islands

Poor Knights Islands – As a protected marine reserve, there is spectacular underwater topography with underwater arches, rocky cliffs, tunnels and a tumbling giant ‘staircase’ make this reserve utterly enchanting. But your diving trip isn’t complete until you do the Maomao Arch, with thousands of maomao swimming
around you! Contrary to the name, Poor Knights Island and its surrounding marine reserve is rich in oh-so-many
ways. Abundant with all kinds of shellfish, urchins, anemones and more than 120 species of fish (as well as the odd stingray du/PoorKnights-Islands.jpegring the summer), the sponge beds and seaweed forests here are home to magnificent sea life. The magic of this place doesn’t stop there, so much so that not only has it earned its spot on this list of New Zealand’s best scuba spots, it’s also been named by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top ten dives in the world. The Poor Knights Islands is a unique experience that should be on everyone's bucket list.
Access Poor Knights Islands from Tutukaka in Northland
Location: Tutukaka, Northland, North Island

2. Goat Island
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Goat Island, Auckland – New Zealand’s oldest marine reserve features a variety of environments, including rocky shores, deep reefs, underwater cliffs, canyons and sand flats. Look for blue cod, snapper, crayfish, seaweed forests, sea squirts, anemones, sponges and shellfish. A favourite destination for many Kiwis to get up and close with all things underwater is none other than the iconic Goat Island marine reserve. However, if snorkelling or taking the glass bottom boat around this area isn’t getting you quite close enough to the bustling marine life, a scuba dive here will certainly do the trick. Grab your flippers, tanks and goggles and prepare to rub fins with the snappers that call this beauty of a spot home.

3. Tui Wreck
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The Tui Wreck is worth exploring. As the name suggests, a large vessel was sunk at this site to act as an artificial reef, so amongst the growth, there are golden snapper and a wide array of interesting fish species await to entertain you in the deep blue seas at this dive site for as long as your oxygen allows.
Location: Tutukaka, Northland, North Island

4.The Mikhail Lermontov Wreck/lomative.jpeg

Mikhail Lermontov, sunk under mysterious circumstances in 1986, this Russian cruise liner now lies fully intact on her starboard side. Once a luxurious Russian Cruise liner, the Mikhail Lermontov now houses schools of sea life and such like creatures. Despite sinking in 1986, diving on the Mikhail Lermontov is a fantastic experience, with many areas accessible without requiring penetration. For those with the training and experience this dive site will provide many opportunities to explore her every corridor and deck.  to explore the ship’s corridors, rooms and decks. As the biggest shipwreck scuba spot in the whole of Australasia, you can be sure that a dive here will be nothing short of impressive.
Location: Marlborough Sounds, Gore Bay, South Island

5.Aramoana Otago

An underwater museum of shipwrecks from bygone eras c

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an be found off the coast of Aramoana. This settlement and its history-filled harbour is propped up 27 kilometres north of Dunedin. Here you’ll find wreckages of the Mokoialying at a comfortable seven metres deep, the Paloonaas well as the Moanawreck hitting the 25-metre mark. Divers can explore the sponge encrusted wrecks whilst looking for seahorses, nudibranchs, eels, crayfish and carpet sharks. Diving here is made unique by the seven gills sharks that occasionally swim by, curious cod, greenbone, blue moki, wrasse and perhaps the most special of visitors - the New Zealand hooker sea lion. The area is also a voluntary marine reserve to ensure it remains at its best for divers. There is nothing quite like diving through the serene kelp forests of the South Island's Aramoana Mole dive site, where you can glide through giant stems of kelp that wave in the current searching for the sun. Be prepared for the cold southern South Island waters.

Location: Dunedin, South Island

 

6. Fiordland National Park

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The fiords in Fiordland National Park shelter its water, keeping it calm and clear for undisturbed visibility. Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound are known to have black and red coral giving you the opportunity to see wildlife that would usually be a lot deeper in the ocean. There is a layer of fresh water that sits on top of the cold saltwater of the fiord. This layer is said to be dark and absorbs a great deal of light. As a result of that, you will find creatures who normally live at depths of a 100 meters or more at depths of just 30 meters. As an example, 6-meters high black coral trees which are only found beyond 100 meters can be seen by recreational scuba divers. The dramatic landscape above the surface is also found below the surface. Sheer walls and underwater mountain tops are there for you to explore.
Milford Sound - This spectacular area of Fiordland is stunning both above and below the water. Dive through a blurry fresh water layer to discover crevasses full of crayfish, extreme drop offs and enormous boulders. Always keep an eye on the deep water where a pod of dolphins or playful fur seals are often seen. Brightly coloured spiny sea-dragons stand out underwater with schools of demoiselles, leather jackets and the much photographed jason mirabilis nudibranch. Rarely seen in such shallow waters, giant black coral trees break up the inner fiord rock walls to create a dream location for divers.
Location: Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, South Island

7. Kapiti Island
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Kapiti Island gave its name to the famous New Zealand cheese and ice cream brand Kapiti. It’s also famous onshore and offshore wildlife. Kapiti Island is also particularly popular for spearfishing. The place is also known for its enormous range of wildlife species inhabiting offshore as well as onshore. The place also lures visitors with its exclusive spearfishing experiences. This island is considered as the best site for scuba diving in Wellington.
Location: Kapiti Island, Wellington, North Island

8. Rainbow Warrior
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For an up-close encounter with relics of New Zealand’s history (as well as the odd sea creature), dive away among the ruins of the Rainbow Warrior. Sunk in the Cavalli Islands in 1987, the wreckage still sits there today some 27 metres below sea level. Covered in colourful jewel anemones, teeming with schools of fish, and surrounded in a reef, it’s no surprise that it’s one of New Zealand’s best, beautiful and most historically rooted scuba spots.
Location: Bay of Islands, North Island

9. Kaikoura
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Kaikoura, South Island - In the shallow waters off the rocky coastline you can dive with playful New Zealand fur seals in the kelp beds. Dusky dolphins are residents here and sperm whales can be seen regularly. A dive into these waters give you a once in a lifetime experience of swimming with these majestic sea mammals. But, if you thought that was exciting, wait until you come across the kelp forests and limestone reefs that are breathtakingly beautiful. Kaikoura is a great place to unwind, relax or enjoy scuba diving in New Zealand. Be sure to tuck into a plate of crayfish before you head back to your hotel. You will surely not be disappointed!
Location: Kaikoura, South Island

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10. Mercury Islands

Swim amongst hundreds of schools of fish and even spot octopus (and sharks!) in the marine reserve surrounding Mercury Islands’ waters. The dive location can be accessed from Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Location: Coromandel, North Island

11. The Canterbury
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If you are a qualified diver then you have the opportunity to dive to one of the Bay of Island’s most popular dive sites, the wreck of the HMNZS Canterbury. This huge and intact shipwreck is impressive to swim through with a highlight being the helicopter hanger.
Location: Bay of Islands, The Canterbury
 
 

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