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Diving in New Zealand

Learn to Dive in New Zealand

New Zealand’s Highlights

New Zealand is a magical country both above and below the water. With miles of coastlines, interesting topography and a variety of marine life, New Zealand should be on your dive bucket list. There are dive sites for all levels of diver. Some of the best dive sites are wreck dives. 

New Zealand has over 113 species of sharks and 26 species of rays. Almost half of the world’s dolphin and whale species can be found in the waters surrounding New Zealand. There are many marine reserves located around New Zealand that protect the land and marine animals that live in it. 

The Poor Knight Islands has seasonal visitors including manta rays, orcas and eagle rays. The fiords are popular on the South Island to spot black coral. The dive sites are very different on the North and South Islands. Kaikoura, located on the Southern Island, is home to fur seals. Dusky dolphins can also be found here. Most of New Zealand’s dive sites can be accessed from the shore while some are boat dives. 

When is the best time to go diving in New Zealand? 

Diving in New Zealand is possible at any time of year. 

Water Temperature: Water temperature varies by location and time of year. Throughout June to November the water is between 15°C and 21°C. Between May and December, the water rises to between 19°C to 25°C. A 7mm wetsuit or drysuit are highly recommended. 

The North Island has subtropical water and a warmer overall climate. It offers great diving all year round. Between November to April, there are plankton blooms which can attract orcas and stingrays but can reduce visibility. Between May and November, the water temperature drops to as low as 14°C but viability can go up to 30 meters. 

The South Island has colder water. The best time of year is between November and April. The highest temperature will be 18°C but can drop to below 8°C between May to September. 

Currents: None to strong

Visibility: 5 to 30 meters depending on the time of year and location

New Zealand’s best dive sites

The Rainbow Warrior 

Considered one of New Zealand’s best wreck dives, The Rainbow Warrior was a Greenpeace ship that sank during a protest in 1985. Located in the Cavalli Islands at a depth of 26 meters. Over 40 meters in length, the wreck features a marvelous array of marine life from large school of life to macro critters. 

The HMNZS Canterbury Navy Frigate 

The HMNZS Canterbury Navy Frigate was purposefully sunk in 2007 to create an artificial reef and is now full of coral. The wreck is located between 20 and 36 meters making it suitable for advanced level divers. The ship is over 113 meters in length with many interesting points to explore. 

The Poor Knights Islands 

Off the northeastern coast of New Zealand, the Poor Knights Islands are some of the best dive sites in New Zealand. As one of the oldest marine reserves in New Zealand, it is home to a diverse range of marine life which can include dolphins, orcas and rays. With swim-throughs, caves and arches to explore, the dive sites are exhilarating. 

About the country 

With its rich Maori history, New Zealand is a wonderful country to visit. New Zealand cares about their beautiful country and over 30% of the country is a national reserve. New Zealanders, otherwise known as kiwis, are friendly, easy going and they have great respect for their land. Over 75% of the population lives on North Island. 

Recreational Courses in New Zealand

Dive Centers in New Zealand

Getting to New Zealand

Most international flights land at Aukland’s international airport. To travel domestically, there are many flights or ferries that take you between major cities. Flying from Europe can take over 24 hours so some people prefer to take a few days break in Asia. To some parts of Australia it’s only a three and a half hour flight. From America, there are overnight flights. 

Other important information 

  • Capital: Wellington
  • Official Language: English, Sign Language and Maori
  • Demonym: New Zealander and Kiwi
  • Currency: New Zealand Dollar (NZD $)
  • Calling code: +64
  • Driving Side: left
  • Population: Over 5,130,000
  • Pressure: Bar
  • First Stage: INT/ Yoke

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