The Cavilli Islands are one of the top dive sights in Northland.
The Cavalli Islands lie off the coast of Matauri Bay, about 30km north of Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. The main island, Motukawanui, is a nature reserve with a walking track. You can paddle to the islands on a sea kayaking safari or arrange a local charter.
On the seafloor between the Cavalli Islands and Matauri Bay lies the Rainbow Warrior, the famous Greenpeace vessel. The ship was involved in protests against the French government, which was undertaking nuclear tests in French Polynesia during 1985. The Rainbow Warrior was sunk by the French intelligence service while at anchor in New Zealand that same year, causing national outrage.
The ship was scuttled here in 1987 to become a dive attraction. Today the wreck is a complex eco system covered in corals and sea anemones. Dive trips to the wreck run throughout the year and visibility is usually excellent.