Diving in Fiordland

Fiordland is a stunningly beautiful region on the South Western tip of New Zealand’s South Island. As the name suggests, you can find countless fiords scattered along the coast that provide shelter from the typically windy and exposed conditions this latitude provides.

Exploring the unparalleled underwater environment of the fiords offers some of the best diving in New Zealand and some of the most unique diving in the world. Due to this area’s high rainfall and subsequent tannin-stained runoff, the dark freshwater sits along the surface of the fiords, not mixing with the saltwater. This effect limits the amount of sunlight reaching the fiord’s depths, resulting in light-sensitive species typically only seen at greater depths residing closer to the surface. Thanks to this phenomenon, you can see rare species like red and black corals when diving in Fiordland waters.

Access to the fiords is from Milford Sound, a scenic four-hour drive or short helicopter ride from Queenstown. Fiordland diving conditions are cold but absolutely beautiful. The sea ranges from 8 degrees C in the winter (Aug) to 14 degrees C in the summer (Feb). There are various liveaboard options to explore the many waterways and day trip alternatives for those looking for a less involved New Zealand diving experience.

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Wildlife in Fiordland

Fiordland offers a unique environment where rain, snow and ice melt from surrounding mountains creates a hazy layer of freshwater that sits above the salt water. This Haze limits the amount of light that enters the water causing rare species like Black Coral to grow as shallow as 6 meters. The Fiords are known for large Blue Cod, Hapuka (Groper), Tarakihi and Crayfish (Rock Lobster).

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Freshwater Fishes
Trout
Eel
Dolphins
Common Dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin
Rays
Eagle Ray
Stingrays
Electric Ray
Seahorses and Pipefishes
Common Seahorse
Fishes
Wrasse
Puffer Fish
Conger eel
Scorpionfishes
Flounder
Molluscs
Octopus
Squid
Crustaceans
Crayfish
  Jan - Mar Apr - Jun Jul - Sep Oct - Dec
Freshwater Fishes
Trout
Eel
Dolphins
Common Dolphin
Bottlenose Dolphin
Rays
Eagle Ray
Stingrays
Electric Ray
Seahorses and Pipefishes
Common Seahorse
Fishes
Wrasse
Puffer Fish
Conger eel
Scorpionfishes
Flounder
Molluscs
Octopus
Squid
Crustaceans
Crayfish

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