Two significantly different islands with endless diving possibilites
Overview of diving in New Zealand
Diving in New Zealand is extremely varied depending whether you dive on the North or South Island. The North Island is characterized by sub tropical species found among the kelp forests and reefs. On the other hand the South Island has more temperate diving with deep fjords to explore. With many sheltered bays, islands and fjords, it would take a life time to explore all the dive sites New Zealand has to offer.
Heading north from Auckland is the Bay of Islands, Poor Knights Island, and Goat Island are all great dive locations within a few hours drive. At the Bay of Islands are the impressive wrecks of the HMNZS Canterbury and infamous Rainbow Warrior. Meanwhile Poor Knight Island and Goat Island have a superb abundance and diversity of marine life.
The South Island has some impressive diving too. The huge Mikhail Lermontov wreck is worth exploring and further south fur seals and dolphins can be found at Kaikoura. Milford Sound, spectacular above water is also exciting below where species such as the spiny sea dragon reside. At Stewart Island in the south, great white shark sightings are frequent during the late summer months.
Best dive sites in New Zealand
Rainbow Warrior wreck
The wreck of the famous Greenpeace vessel ‘Rainbow Warrior’ now rests in the Bay of Islands and is home to a vast array of marine life.
Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands has numerous dive sites. From kelp forests, to tunnels and caves and several wrecks, there is something that every diver will enjoy.
Poor Knights Island
Situated of the Tutukaka coast Poor Knights Island has may top dive sites. Rays, turtles and sharks are common sightings.
Mikhail Lermontov wreck
A huge cruise liner that sank after it collided with the reef near the bay of Port Gore. The wreck is so big that dozens of dives are needed to explore it fully.
One of New Zealands most popular dive sites located just an hour north of Auckland. Snapper and blue cod are common sightings.
Cage diving with great white sharks which congregate here at the end of summer to feed on seals.
Dive reports from New Zealand
Dive site reports and useful information from our scuba diving trip to New Zealand
The Bay Of Islands is situated a few hours drive of Auckland. It is known for its abundance of marine life, with marine mammals frequently spotted and impressive reef dives. It is also home to the famous Rainbow Warrior wreck and ex navy ship the HMNZS Canterbury.
Port Gore on the south island is now a popular dive site due to the Mikhail Lermontov wreck which rests in the bay. The Lermontov was a large cruise ship and is still mostly intact, making for a great dive.
How to get to New Zealand
New Zealand has several international airports, including Auckland (AKL) Christchurch (CHC) Dunedin (DUD) Queenstown (ZQN) and Wellington (WLG). International flights arrive from all over the world, with Australia, Asia and America having direct flights to New Zealand’s major airports.
Capital City Airport Code Wellington (WLG)
Best time to dive New Zealand
It is possible to dive in New Zealand all year round, however the warmest sea temperatures are between the month of November to May. The further south you go the colder the sea temperature will be. In the winter, the weather is significantly worse which can result in dive trip cancellations. At least 5mm wetsuits are recommended and drysuits are favorable for maximum comfort. In the peak summer months a 3mm can keep you warm enough.
Water Temperature 13° to 20°C
Visibility 5m to 20m
Useful information when travelling to New Zealand
Time Zone UTC + 12 hours
Currency New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
Electricity 230 V
Plug Socket I
Calling Code +64
Our dive trip to New Zealand
In 2018 we spent several weeks travelling around New Zealand and were able to dive at the Bay of Islands and the Mikhail Lermontov wreck. The Bay of Islands has some fantastic dive sites which are typical of diving in New Zealand, with many kelp covered reefs and caves. The highlight for us was the HMNZS Canterbury wreck. Apart from it’s impressive size, a huge school of fish gathered around the funnels which really made the dive special.
On the South Island we traveled to the bay of Port Gore to dive the Mikhail Lermontov wreck. The drive to the bay is extremely picturesque with many secluded bays. Diving the Mikhail Lermontov is quite a spooky experience. Low visibility and the size of the wreck result in an exciting dive, especially when entering inside the wreck. We hope to return to New Zealand one day to dive locations such as Poor Knights Island and Milford Sound.