Poor Knights Islands:
With spectacular underwater topography including drop offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels, there is an abundance of marine life here, all protected inside the Marine Reserve. The archways are teeming with blue maomao, snapper, kingfish, morays and brilliantly colored nudibrahcs. With a real opportunity to see orca feeding on the many sting rays, this dive site should be on everyone's bucket list and is an underwater photographers dream.
The Coromandel Peninsula:
Dotted with islands this coastline provides an abundance of dive sites. Hiding inside the kelp and crevasses you will find trevally and blue maomao. In the summer months large kingfish school along with giant boar fish, john dory and tarakihi. A great array of other animals inhabit these waters from moray eels, stingrays, wrasse, demoiselles, porcupine fish, snapper and many other vibrant species.
Goat Island, Auckland:
This marine reserve features a variety of habitats, from rocky shores to deep reefs to underwater cliffs and canyons and sand flats. Look for blue cod, snapper, crayfish, seaweed forests, sea squirts, anemones, sponges and shellfish.
The South Coast, Wellington:
The South Coast is a favorite for Wellington shore divers. Rocky reefs and abundant marine growth make attractive feeding and breeding grounds for a wide variety of fish-life.
Kaikoura, South Island:
In the shallow waters off the rocky coastline you can dive with playful New Zealand fur seals in the kelp beds. Dusky dolphins are residents here, and (as it is near a former whaling town) sperm whales can be seen regularly.
Long Island, Marlborough Sound:
Named by Captain Cook, this Marine Reserve is teeming with life and home to giant crayfish, curious blue code, wrasse, triplefins and leather jackets just to name a few..
Mikhail Lermontov, Marlborough Sound:
This Russian cruise liner sunk under mysterious circumstances in 1986. She now lies on her Starboard side and is fully intact. Diving on the Lermontov is a fantastic experience, with many areas accessible without requiring penetration. For those with the training and experience this dive site will provide many opportunities to explore her every corridor and deck.
Nestled amongst the macrocystis kelp forest lies several scuttled ship wrecks. Divers can explore the sponge encrusted wrecks whilst looking for seahorses, nudibranchs, eels, crayfish and carpet sharks. Seven gills sharks occasionally swim by, curious cod, greenbone, blue moki, wrasse and perhaps the most special of visitors - the New Zealand hooker sea lion all make diving here unique. The area is also a voluntary marine reserve to ensure it remains at its best for divers.
This spectacular area of Fiordland is stunning both above and below the water. Dive through a blurry fresh water layer to discover crevasses full of crayfish, extreme drop offs and enormous boulders. Always keep an eye on the deep water where a pod of dolphins or playful fur seals are often seen. Brightly colored spiny sea-dragons stand out underwater with schools of demoiselles, leather jackets and the much photographed Jason mirabilis nudibranch. Rarely seen so shallow giant black coral trees break up the inner fiord rock walls to create a divers dream location.
The famous kelp forests features seals, sea lions, seahorses, and blue cod, and is a favorite among macro photographers.