Diving in Northland

You can find some of the most popular diving in New Zealand in the Northland area. This region boasts purposefully sunk shipwrecks and is thriving with exciting dive sites and fascinating marine life. This area is home to the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, a chain of islands 22km off the East Coast of Northland. The East Auckland Current (a subsidiary of the East Australian Current) passes through the islands and creates a unique micro-climate very different from coastal New Zealand. Water temperatures in the Poor Knights Marine Reserve range from 16 degrees in winter (Aug) to 23 degrees in summer (Feb). The islands themselves are rugged and steep, with many cliffs towering 100’s of meters that plunge into the sea. Enriched with cracks, arches, and caves, these cliffs create some epic dive sites. There are hundreds of diveable sites scattered around the reserve to suit all training levels, from gently sloping shallows to sheer pinnacles dropping to 100+ meters deep. Various charters leave from Tutukaka (roughly three hour’s drive from Auckland). These charters are typically day trips with occasional liveaboard-style excursions.

Dive Sites to visit in Northland

Featured places to go in Northland

Wildlife Encounters in Northland

The Poor Knights Marine reserve is home to some of the most diverse New Zealand marine life. The East Auckland Current attracts large species such as the oceanic manta ray and whale shark during the summer months. Large schools of kingfish, snapper, and demoiselle are typical year-round. A particularly famous fish at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve is the blue maomao, which you can find at sites such as Blue Maomao Arch in schools of thousands at times. While the Poor Knights is a popular hotspot for pelagic species, there are also large numbers of reef species such as crested weedfish, triple fins, and boarfish.