Scuba Diving in New Zealand

New Zealand is situated in the southwest of the Pacific Ocean. It occupies two large islands and a group of 700 small ones. The country lies within the territory of high seismic activity as well as having 6 active volcanic zones.
Goat Island, the most famous island among divers, presents the underwater world in all of its magnificence. There are submerged canyons, cliffs, walls, flatlands covered with sand and rocks. The underwater wildlife here includes Achelata, blue cod, rays, curious snappers, sea sponges and oysters.
You can dive in fiords, explore reefs and wrecks, swim among seaweed and huge schools of fish. You can also visit Riwaka Caves and try diving with fur seals or cage diving with sharks. There is always something new. You never know what expects you during the dive!

Reasons to Visit

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The legendary diver Jacques-Yves Cousteau once ranked the Poor Knights Islands of New Zealand in the top 10 places for diving. Now this area is protected, so you can't go ashore but there are no limitations for diving. Warm pleasant currents and beautiful reefs attract both scuba divers and rare fish: Scaly Murray eels, coral Lorad Noey and low-eyed grouper. White sharks are sometimes found here. Manta rays come here for mating; killer whales wait for them near the island every year.
Swimming with sea mammals in the wild waters of Kaikoura would be an unforgettable experience. It is a habitat for fur seals which are always curious about divers. These animals enjoy accompanying them. Fish and other bottom dwellers near Goat Island are also friendly to humans. You can approach Achelata and snappers and swim with a school of blue cod, which is found only in New Zealand.
The trip to White Island would be interesting for divers as well as for ordinary tourists. It is an active underwater volcano. Diving here is allowed so you will visit underwater cliffs and bubbling fissures, where the visibility is limited to 20 meters. It is a thrilling adventure on the bottom and on the surface for every tourist. The underwater world of this dive site includes royal angelfish, stingrays, blue maomao and Achelata.
Tui, Waikato and Rainbow Warrior are the ships that crashed or sunk near New Zealand. It is rather interesting to explore the creations of humans inhabited by the ocean. Shipwrecks are home for seaweed, molluscs and fish. The Soviet liner Mikhail Lermontov, wrecked near Cape Jackson, has become the biggest wreck diving site. Divers can reach the wreck from the depth of 12 meters. The most experienced divers can explore the inside of the cabins.
Diving in Milford Sound is unique in its own way. Sheets of salty water alternate with fresh water coming from waterfalls straight into the sea, which allows you to observe the rich underwater world of the shallows: bright sponges, sea anemones, hydroid polyps, black and red corals, seaweed and over 150 more species of animals including spiny sea dragons. Fur seals play noisily on the sea cliffs and beaches.

Diving Destinations in New Zealand

The Three Kings Islands entice with their wild landscapes, untouched by civilization. The coast is washed by the warm current which makes it possible to dive here all the year round. Local waters hide a lavish world of colourful fish, moray eels, sea urchins and beautiful coral reefs. The wrecks here are warships Tui and Waikato.
The Poor Knights Islands with their exciting underwater panoramas, looking like space landscapes, were recommended by Jacques Cousteau as places with a vibrant marine life.

Memo Notes
Currency NZD - New Zealand Dollar
Languages English
Timezone UTC +12
Phone code 64
Emergency Help 111
Electricity

Type I - 230 V, 50 Hz

Dive Shops in New Zealand

Dive shops are located on the North and the South Islands. They provide training courses for beginners, certificates for instructors and deepwater trimix courses. You can book a dive at any sea or river dive site. There is a variety of equipment available to rent.

Сlimate & Seasonality
Spring

Spring in New Zealand lasts from September to November. The air temperature reaches +17 °C. It is sunny and warm and rains seldom. The sea is warm, however, it is better to dive in a wetsuit.

Summer

Summer in New Zealand lasts from December to the end February. It is a perfect time for sunbathing, surfing and diving. The average air temperature is between + 21 and +30 °C, the water warms up to + 17 °C and the warm current is about +23 °C.

Autumn

Autumn in New Zealand lasts from March till May. It is the end of the beach season. The air temperature drops to +13 °С, and water also becomes colder (14 °C). There is moderate rainfall.

Winter

Winter in New Zealand is from June till August. The weather is characterized by strong winds and endless rains. The daytime air temperature is +15 °C, while the water temperature does not exceed +14 °C. In the mountains, it is colder and often snows.

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The Best Dive Sites

The Blue Maomao Arch is situated on the Poor Knights Islands. There are schools of scorpionfish and anemonefish. If you dive there, you will see myriads of colourful flashlights moving in a fantastic dance.
Riwaka Caves are filled with fresh water. Beginner divers can discover a world of stalactites and stalagmites.

Health & Safety

Healthcare in New Zealand is of a high quality. It is recommended to obtain travel insurance before a trip. You should get vaccinated against measles, parotitis, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, the flu and rabies. The crime rate is low, local people are friendly towards tourists, however, standard safety measures are necessary. You can choose any way to explore the country — on foot, by bike or by car.
Earthquakes may occur on the island. as there are several active volcanoes.

Dangerous Marine Life

If you dive in coastal waters of New Zealand, you should beware of lion's mane jellyfish. It is smaller, compared to northern species, however, its touch will result in painful burns. Weeverfish is dangerous because of paralysing poison contained in the spines of its dorsal fin. Swimmers could be attacked by white sharks.

Eat & Drinks

Local cooking is not outstanding. however, there are fish, meat and potatoes. You can feel the influence of Anglo Saxon traditions — steaks, roast beef and beef patties are served everywhere. There is little information about aboriginal cuisine. It mainly includes dishes cooked with local food, such as kumara (sweet potato) and kiwi.
Another dish known from the native cuisine is hangi. Meat or fish with roots are wrapped into big leaves, buried in the ground and baked with the heat of fire above.
Beers and wines from New Zealand are popular and their quality is highly renowned. A popular soft drink is a mineral water with lemon. Tap water in the country is completely safe.