Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in New Zealand
Ready to check out the best sites in New Zealand for scuba diving, snorkeling, shore diving, free diving or other ocean activities? Zentacle has 9 dive sites, snorkel spots, beaches, and more. Discover hand-curated maps, along with reviews and photos from nature lovers like you. No matter what you're looking for, you can find a diverse range of the best ocean activities in New Zealand to suit your needs.
#1 - Mikhail Lermontov
New Zealand, SI
On 16 February 1986 the Mikhail Lermontov, a 155 metre long ship with 408 passengers and 330 crew, left Picton. The ship struck Perham rock (a submerged rock) between Cape Jackson and Jackson Head. Although the ship was built for ice breaking, this proved too much strain on the hull and the damage caused was 2 gashes of 40 feet long about 100 feet back from the port beam. The ship was filling up with water fast and headed for port Gore beach. There was only one life lost when the ship sunk in 37 metres of water. The Lermontov now lies on her Starboard side and is fully intact. The Lermontov is a fantastic diving experience. The bridge, pool area, propellers and hull damage are all easily assessable. Penetration dives are NOT recommended unless with an experienced guide!!!!!!!! The wreck is now an artificial reef & is encrusted with invertebrate life and home to schools of local fish. Visibility on the outside of the wreck can range from 5-15+ metres, inside the wreck it averages around 12 metres. The Mikhail Lermontov is a day trip dive from Picton. It can take anywhere up to 2.5hrs each way from Waikawa Bay heading up Queen Charlotte Sound, and around Cape Jackson at 10 knots(depending on weather and surface conditions). The weather can play a major part in getting to and from the dive site as part of the journey is in the Outer Sounds. The surface conditions can go from calm to EXTREME!!! The conditions can also change within an hour or less!!! The Lermontov is marked with surface buoys in Port Gore and with a little local knowledge its easy to find.
#2 - Kapiti Island
New Zealand, NI, Wellington
Formally established in May 1992 the reserve's underwater scenery is generally regarded as some of the finest in the greater Wellington region. Good variety for photography. Those with a mask and snorkel could explore the rocks close to the shore. Scuba diving is the most rewarding on the western side and the north end of the Island. There are some remarkable features such as the rock archway on the western side of the island known as "Hole In The Wall". Other areas particularly good include Tokohaki Reef, Boulder Bank, Rangatira Point, Passage Rocks, West Point, Kaiwharawhara, Onepoto Rock, Arapawaiti, the Cathedral and many many more. It is unusual to find three common marine habitats of the Marlborough Sounds and Wellington region in such a confined area. The boulder bottom, sheltered reef and sand bottom habitats are home to a rich variety of marine life. Orange and yellow sponges, some very rare, the colours, the reefs and luxuriant seaweed beds feed kina & paua. Starfish, corals, anemones, octopus, stingrays & eagle rays, nudibranchs and reef fish such as blue & red cod, butterfish and red moki are just some of the residents of these waters. Visitors to Kapiti's exceptionally clear waters include ocean fish like king fish & blue moki and on occasions rare and subtropical fish such as the spotted black groper, drumfish and magpie perch. You may also see dolphins, seal colonies and blue penguins. Source: http://www.diversworld.co.nz Several dive sites around the Island: - Tokahaki Reef (N) - Boulder Bank (NE) - Kaiwhara Point (W) - Waterfall Bay (SE) - Aeroplane Island (SE) - Browns Island (SE) 7 km by sea from Paraparaumu.
#3 - Motunau - plateau
New Zealand, SI, Canterbury
Plateau up from 25m to 21m. Lots of crayfish and some blue cods. Visibility can be very low (<1m). Hard spot to find if you do not know it. A bit more than 30 min from Motunau beach.
#4 - Green Island
New Zealand, NI, Coromandel peninsula
Quite exposed to swells and winds, to get sheltered just go on the other side of the island. North east side from 5 to 15 m with rocks covered with kelps and some sand spots. Schools of blue two-spot damselfis, crayfish, pink maomao. Southeast of Great Mercury island.
#6 - Cooks Cove
New Zealand, NI
Cooks Cove is a 0-star rated scuba dive and snorkel destination in New Zealand, NI which is accessible from shore based on 0 ratings.
#7 - Motiti Island - Taioma Wreck
New Zealand, NI, Bay of Plenty
The Taioma is a 30m long tug built in the 1940's originating from Scotland. It was scuttled in March 2000
#8 - Rainbow Warrior Wreck
New Zealand, NI
The Rainbow Warrior was the Green Peace flagship (40 metres and 418 tonnes). It was used all over the world to protest about environmental and humanitarian issues. On july 10th 1985, it was bombed by French Secret Service Officers, killing a photographer, Fernando Pereria. On december 14th 1987, the boat was towed from Auckland to the Cavalli Islands, and was sunk to be an artificial reef. This colourfull wreck lies on a sandy floor, maximum depth is 26m (high tide). More info on WikiPedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Warrior South of Motutapere island (Matauri Bay), among the Cavalli group of islands. Rainbow Warrior Wreck is also known as Jewel of the North, Sir William Hardy.
#9 - Flea Bay
New Zealand, SI, Canterbury
Established in 1999 the reserve cover 215ha east of entrance to Akaroa Harbour. Very exposed coast with boulders, rock stacks, steep cliffs, kelp forests and cold temperate reef fish. Blue penguins can appear at dusk and Hector's dolphins common in summer. (www.divenewzealand.com) Entrance to Akaroa Harbour near Christchurch Flea Bay is also known as Pohatu Marine Reserve.