New Zealand’s Best Scuba Diving Sites
Many of the visitors who come to New Zealand do so to enjoy the sensational natural sites that can be found around these wonderful islands, and these sights are not only limited to those that can be seen on land. Scuba diving is one of the most popular activities to enjoy in New Zealand, and the waters around these islands are clear and warm in many areas, and offer a great opportunity to see the marine life at close quarters. As well as offering plenty of opportunities for experienced divers to see some amazing sights, and fascinating wreck dives, New Zealand is also a great place for those who want to try diving for the first time, with highly qualified instructors on hand to offer guidance.
Poor Knights Islands
The Poor Knights Islands are a group of islands that lie some fifteen miles off the coast of the Northland province at the northern tip of the North Island, and have been uninhabited since the early nineteenth century. Today these islands are an important marine reserve because of the diverse wildlife that can be seen in this area, including stingrays, pink maomao and blue maomao. The dive sites around these islands range from fairly simple and straightforward dives to more challenging cave explorations and arches, while the Tie Dye Arch gained its name from the stunning display of sponges and anemones on the rocks here.
The Rainbow Warrior
The Rainbow Warrior was the first of three ships with the same name that have been used by the environmental campaign group Greenpeace, and this version was sunk by French saboteurs in Auckland Harbor in 1985. After a forensic investigation and the ship being re-floated, the ship was too badly damaged to ever come back into use on the sea, so it was transported a short distance away to the Cavalli Island where it was scuttled.
Today the Rainbow Warrior has become a part of the natural habitat on the seabed, and offers some sensational diving as it attracts a variety of different fish species and the hull is covered in colorful sponges and other marine life. Many different dive companies along the east coast of Northland offer diving trips to the ship, and during the season it can often be quite busy with many divers looking to experience diving the site.
Taputeranga Marine Reserve
The Taputeranga Marine Reserve is one of the newest protected marine areas in New Zealand, lying just a short distance away from the capital city, Wellington. The reserve covers around eight hundred hectares of seabed, and also includes Taputeranga Island within the boundaries of the reserve, as well as the wreck of the F69 Wellington Frigate which was scuttled near the island in 2005. While the site is still growing in popularity among visitors to Wellington, the status of the reserve has already benefited the wildlife here, with fish species becoming more inquisitive and larger fish coming into the area.
On the south west coast of New Zealand’s South Island is one of its most popular tourist attractions, and the Milford Sound is a fjord that is also protected by a marine reserve, and with the steep cliffs and forested hill sides, is one of the most attractive places in the world. While the views above the water are already very impressive, it is equally awe inspiring once you dive under the water. Because of the protected nature of the area, most diving groups are naturally quite small and intimate, and the colourful red corals and the huge black coral trees are a sight to behold, while fish species such as dog sharks, sea dragons and octopus are frequently seen, along with the occasional penguin and seals too.