Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about New Zealand is the vast climate diversity across the islands. During one trip to New Zealand you could go skiing and also enjoy beautiful days on the beach. Movies like The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have shown off the majesty of the snow-capped mountains that many travelers come to see and enjoy; but there is a completely different, hidden world, that we want to encourage you to see on your holiday in New Zealand. Scuba diving is an adventure truly unlike any other. Everyone loves lounging on the beach, going out on a boat, and even getting in the ocean for a swim; but you have no idea just how much you are missing if you don’t take the plunge into the world below. Thousands of tremendous views are, quite literally, right under your nose!
New Zealand boasts dozens of immaculate and ideal dive locations, but I’m going to briefly tell you about two of the best places to dive, whether this is your introduction to scuba or you are an old pro. Poor Knights Islands lie off the northeast cost of New Zealand’s North Island. They are protected as a nature/marine reserve which allows the caves, cliffs, and crystal clear water and all that lies below to remain quite undisturbed most of the time. Unique birds like Buller’s Shearwaters make these islands their home, and the fantastic, vivid red Poor Knights Lilies can only be seen in this part of the world. Though the beauty of the land is worth noting, it is nothing to what lies beneath. Over 125 species can be found in the waters of Poor Knights. The marine life is incredible, and while diving you will be surrounded by more fish than possibly anywhere else in the world. After Poor Knights became a no take marine reserve fifteen years ago the number of snapper are said to have increased by 500-1000%! Along with a myriad of fish you’ll find sponge gardens, shellfish, urchins, and anemones, all spectacular and vibrant in appearance. This spot is truly a sanctuary for those that live in it. Says Dave Abbott, an underwater photographer who has been filming in Poor Knights since it became a marine reserve, “I’ve done close to 1500 dives just around these islands and I’m still seeing new things and getting surprises every time I dive here; that doesn’t happen in many places around the world. [A]nyone who’s dived around the world and dives here realizes what a unique, special place this is.”
Changing course to the South Island, and going back in time in a way, New Zealand conceals beneath the water of Marlborough Sounds the MS Mikhail Lermontov, an ocean liner converted into a cruise ship which sank in February of 1986. The passengers aboard the massive vessel were all rescued before the ship went down, however a single crewman was tragically lost. The Mikhail Lermontov is now one of the biggest and most easily accessible ship wrecks in the world. It rests only 37 meters (around 120 feet) below the water’s surface and is said to be the largest fully intact wreck, which gives divers several days worth of places to explore. The experience of a wreck dive stands alone, being very different from an open water dive. The dark, still waters create excitement and mystery and the experience of maneuvering through a once mighty and impressive ship which now lies motionless on its starboard side on the ocean’s floor is incomparable to anything else. See the cabins, the kitchen, the shops, the halls, and all the trinkets, china, and still uncovered treasures eternally concealed in their underwater resting place.
Novice and avid divers alike will be filled with awe and excitement, and will feel they have visited a new world when they explore the ocean in either of these remarkable dive spots. If you’ve ever wanted a chance to experience the depths of our magnificent planet, do not put it off any longer. Give us a call today! We can’t wait to help you plan your New Zealand holiday and diving experience you’ve been waiting for!
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