Diving in Dunedin rewards you with penguin encounters galore: the little blue variety are everywhere. Look out for the world's rarest penguin, its yellow eyes make it stand out from the crowd.
Dive through Dunedin's rich seas as swarms of red krill well up from deep canyons. You might catch a glimpse of southern right whales or orcas on the surface - a spine-tingling experience for even the most advanced diver.
Sponge-encrusted wrecks are patrolled by carpet and sevengill sharks, conger eels and crayfish. While exploring the innards of these historic vessels, you may be observed by penguins and mako sharks. Scuba diving in Dunedin won't disappoint: the region attracts cod, green-bone, blue moki and wrasse. Very special locals - New Zealand sea lions and fur seals - are often spotted.
The water temperature in Dunedin is on the cooler side, varying slightly throughout the year (46°F/8°C in July to 57°F/14°C in February). For comfortable year-round diving in Dunedin a 7mm wetsuit or drysuit is advisable. Most divers wear a hood and gloves for extra warmth.
Despite the chilly southern South Island waters, diving in Dunedin rarely disappoints. Large kelp sprouts high from wrecks as seals play hide and seek; silvery fish, nudibranch and seahorse dance among the reefs.
Visibility is around 10m throughout the year - clear enough to seek out the critters lurking in Dunedin's harbour. Zip up your 7mm and go play with the seals.
Dunedin is on the South Island's south-east coast. It's best to fly directly to Christchurch Airport if you can, as this is the closest. If your flight arrives in Auckland, you can take a quick 1h 25m domestic flight to Christchurch.
From Christchurch Airport, you can reach Dunedin by car in around 4h 30m via the SH1. This coastal drive passes through Timaru - a good halfway point to stop and stretch your legs and one of the best viewing spots for little blue penguins in New Zealand.
Dunedin's Otago Peninsula is the only place in the world where you can travel by road to a Royal Albatross colony, so it's worthwhile hiring a car, but it isn't essential. Public transport is reliable and widely available making diving in Dunedin easily accessible from most major towns and cities.