Many people have no idea that New Zealand is a great place to dive. They haven’t heard of Jacques Cousteau’s claim that this is one of the top 10 dive spots in the world! The special interest here is that it is not tropical, but subtropical diving. The Poor Knights are New Zealand's oldest island reserve, protected by an encompassing marine reserve.The Poor Knights islands are also extraordinary on land. Once inhabited by the local Ngatiwai (“people of the sea”) tribe, they were never resettled after a massive slaughter by enemies, and declared tapu (sacred/prohibited) thereafter. The islands are one of the few places where Tuataras, Wetas, Kaka parrots, Little Blue Penguins and many more rare species can survive.
Water temperature is around 18-22°C, but thanks to the 7mm wetsuits a shivering dive can be avoided. Actually the water is warmer than it should be, thanks to a warm current from Northern Australia (probably the one Nemo’s dad was floating on), bringing with it some exotic fish larvae. Extraordinary are the giant schools of fish (Snapper, Maomao and many more), the stingrays that come to breed in summer, colourful nudibranchs and the large variety of rare (and often endemic) species who live there: sharks, Kingfish, John Dory, Lord Howe Coralfish, Long-finned Boarfish, prolific wall life, dolphins, Manta rays, seals, giant salps, kelp forests, crayfish, seahorses, turtles, crabs, sunfish...as well as natural arches, caves, tunnels and vertical underwater cliffs. You can even dive in the largest underwater cave in the world. Visibility ranges from 10m-40m (the plankton bloom in spring brings fantastic fish life, better visibility towards the end of summer through to winter). Dive companies are very professional and the trip itself is an experience even for non divers, there are over 60 dive sites that will keep you more than occupied. You can also dive the Waikato and Tui wrecks at Tutukaka.
Also here in Northland the sunken Rainbow Warrior off Matauri Bay and soon the Canterbury in the Bay of Islands invite you to discover their secrets. New Zealand is suitable for divers of all levels. On Cousteau’s website it says: “There were so many wonders to show that two films were produced.”
There are some very professional dive operators with fast boats to take you for a two dive excursion, with fitting dive sites and groups for every experience level. A dive shuttle will pick you up from our bed & breakfast if you don't want to drive to Tutukaka. We look forward to pass on our advice to you or simply book your dive, we are both diving since 1996 and have done so in many locations. Also see snorkelling at the Poor Knights Islands - with video.
Map of the Poor Knights Islands dive sites