New Zealand is a diving paradise. With accessible coastlines, marine reserves and hundreds of offshore islands, the underwater world is vast and diverse.

For world-class diving, you can’t go past New Zealand’s most famous dive spot, the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, off Northland’s Tutukaka Coast. 

It was named one of the world’s top five diving locations by renowned French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, but is just one of Aotearoa’s breathtaking subaquatic adventure spots for experienced divers, snorkellers or first timers.

Best diving and snorkelling

Along with the Poor Knights, New Zealand is home to 58 top scuba diving and snorkelling locations, including the Bay of Islands, Milford Sound, Fiordland national park, Rainbow Warrior wreck(opens in new window), and The Mikhail Lermontov wreck(opens in new window).  

What you’ll experience

As well as diving wrecks, you can dive drop-offs and sub-tropical reefs in clean, clear waters. For those seeking a snorkelling experience, you can explore island beaches and huge kelp forests, swim with school fish or alongside dolphins. For a different adventure and experience, try kayak diving or a dive descent after dark.  

Learn to scuba dive

If you haven’t yet got your PADI Open Water Diver(opens in new window) or SSI Open Water Diver certification(opens in new window), there are plenty of places to learn to dive in New Zealand with PADI(opens in new window) and SSI(opens in new window)

Marine life and ecosystem

New Zealand offers abundant marine life and ecosystems to explore and see underwater, including dolphins, whales, sharks, various fish, corals and floating kelp forests. Black coral, native to the Fiordland area, can be seen in Milford Sound. You can learn more about New Zealand’s biodiversity through the Department of Conservation(opens in new window)

Marine reserves

New Zealand’s 44 marine reserves aim to protect fragile marine ecosystems and habitats, while offering a fantastic opportunity to observe abundant subaquatic biodiversity. The Department of Conservation(opens in new window) is responsible for managing them. 

Sustainability and conservation

Observing best practices is key to preserving New Zealand’s underwater worlds. New Zealand has more than 15,000 marine species, many that can only be found in its waters. Use OpenSeas(opens in new window) to locate protected dive spots. 

Scuba diving and snorkelling safety guidelines

You’ll need to observe safety guidelines when scuba diving or snorkelling in New Zealand. Check the weather and tides before you depart, go with a buddy, and check your equipment. For more safety information, visit the New Zealand underwater association.(opens in new window)  And remember to bring your dive certificate. 

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