Diving in New Zealand
Located between three oceans, and with a long, often indented coastline of almost 18,000 kilometers, diving in New Zealand offers you an extraordinary paradise. Experience everything from sub-tropical to sub-antarctic diving. Coastal waters teem with colourful, fascinating sea life and the usually clear waters make for excellent viewing, especially in the prime months from February to June. You are never far from a great dive spot in New Zealand!
Popular Diving Spots
Many of New Zealand's prime diving spots are just offshore, offering easy access. One of the best spots is the crystal-clear waters of the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, whose amazing range of fish, including many tropical species, was considered by the late Jacques Cousteau to be one of the world's top five diving locations. Other popular areas are below (just to name a few!)
Great North Island spots:
- Bay of Islands
- Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park
- Great Barrier Island
- White Island
- The Cavalli Islands
The South Island offers:
- Marlborough Sounds
- Stewart Island
Accessible shipwrecks on the New Zealand coast also provide spectacular diving opportunities.
Staying safe will help you make the most of your time diving around New Zealand's pristine coastline. As well as observing safety aspects of diving and snorkeling, the following offers some tips to protect and preserve the marine environment:
- If you haven't dived for a while, do a local dive or refresher course with a reputable dive company. Dive within your limits and don't push your depth or bottom time limits.
- Never dive alone. Always dive with a buddy. If you're inexperienced always dive with an experienced 'buddy', and if you're snorkeling don't stray off alone.
- Practice and maintain proper buoyancy control and avoid overweighting.
- Stay warm in and out of the water, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and use sunscreen between dives.
- Avoid flying for at least 24 hours after your last dive (to avoid decompression sickness) and also avoid driving from sea level to altitude (above 150 meters) immediately after a dive.
- Never drop boat anchors onto a reef.
- Avoid touching living marine organisms with your body and equipment, and resist the temptation to collection any souvenirs, even from shipwrecks.
- Take great care in underwater caves, archways and ledges, which can be especially dangerous during heavy surges.
- Secure gauges and the octopus regulator so they're not dangling - they can damage reefs and become entangled in kelp.
- Take home all your rubbish.
Although you don't necessarily need to be experienced to dive in New Zealand, some sites are only available to divers with the skills and experience to dive safely. Remember to always have you diver's certification card on hand and your dive log as evidence of your skills and experience. If you are not certified, many areas provide a fantastic range of diving schools.
New Zealand Climate
Click here to view tourism operators for diving in New Zealand.