Snorkelling & Diving
The coastal waters around New Zealand offer some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in the world. From the subtropical bays and reefs of Northland and islands of the Hauraki Gulf to the bracing waters around Stewart Island and Fiordland. With a huge variety of sea life and man made and natural curiosities the opportunities are boundless.
Never more than 130 km from the sea, we have more scuba divers per capita than any other country in the world. Conditions are most hospitable in summer and autumn (January-June), when the weather is settled, better visibility can be expected and marine life is plentiful. Overseas diving qualifications are valid and necessary when filling tanks and embarking on commercial diving tours. Dive training is available through dive shops in most main centres.
The Far North
Dive/sport shops in Kaitaia, Whatuwhiwhi (on the Karikari Peninsula), Coopers Beach, Kerikeri, Paihia, Tutukaka, Whangarei and Mangawhai. Karikari Peninsula
Blue maomao, demoiselles and kingfish, with many reef and pelagic fish, plus crayfish and shellfish.
Sharks and barracuda, artificial reef dive on the Greenpeace Ship ‘Rainbow Warrior’ schools of trevally, kahawai and blue maomao. Two old warships as artificial reefs. Kingfish in summer and great diving year round.
The Bay of Islands
Undersea features such as deep canyons, large kelp forests, volcanic reefs, caves and pinnacles. Dive shops in Paihia and Kerikeri. Huge variety of marine life including common and bottlenose dolphins, stingrays, manta rays, octopus, moray eels and many fish species.
Poor Knights Islands, a day trip from Auckland rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the world’s top 10 dive sites Right on Auckland’s doorstep the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park consists of 50 islands and countless reef structures. Dive shops in Auckland at Snell’s Beach and Warkworth.
Western North Island
Black iron sand beaches invite exploration from Mokau to Waitotara water temperatures 12- 20°C of volcanic reefs, boulders and lava flows. Many southern fish species and New Zealand’s northernmost seal colonies. Dive Shops in New Plymouth and Wanganui.
Eastern North Island
East coast has gentle sandy bays and coves that are ideal for shore dives. Offshore islands for deeper diving amongst a wide range of marine life.Dive shops in Coromandel township,Tairua, Pauanui and Hahei.and Whitianga.
Bay of Plenty
Marine life is abundant, accessible diving and snorkelling for all levels of experience, dolphins, whales, seals and penguins Dive shops in Tauranga, Mt Maunganui and Whakatane.
Visibility can exceed 40m, bronze whaler and blue sharks, mako sharks, marlin, tuna and kingfish, packhorse crayfish (lobsters), groper, bass and even black coral.
The coastline offers good snorkelling and diving along its full length Dive shops in Gisborne and Napier.
Cook Strait’s strong currents ensure a plentiful supply of marine life. Dive shops in Wellington, Petone, Island Bay and Mana, varied and interesting diving on the Kapiti Coast and Wairarapa.
Nelson / Marlborough
Dive shops in Blenheim and Picton, Varied diving throughout the Marlborough Sounds including shipwrecked luxury passenger liner, Mikhail Lermontov. Golden Bay, Abel Tasman National Park. Kaikoura, cage diving mako and blue sharks.
Banks Peninsula Akaroa is an important eco-tourism site.
Otago / Deep South
Otago, most dive locations have the full range of southern fish species. Dive shops in Dunedin. Fiordland, exceptionally good visibility,heavy rainfall produces a 10m surface layer of fresh tannin coloured which reduces light levels, black coral and groper. Dive shops in Invercargill and Bluff. Stewart Island, abundant fish in dense jungles of giant kelp.