From sub-tropical reefs of the North Island to unique topography and temperate waters of the South Island, it would take a lifetime to discover all the secrets of diving in New Zealand.
Fjords are found in bounty, creating the perfect environment for coral to flourish. Rugged dive sites offer tunnels, pinnacles and schools of mackerel which ensure photographers leave with a full memory card. Weave through kelp forests where giant stems sway in the current or take things up a notch with a wreck dive - New Zealand has four of the world's best.
New Zealand is a land of stories where Maori culture runs deep. In between underwater exploration, we recommend you dip a toe into the local traditions and heritage. The culture is as much a part of the experience as the scuba diving in New Zealand.
New Zealand's underwater world is vast and water temperatures are varied. Scuba diving in New Zealand is good year-round: in June-November water temperatures range from 59-70°F/15-21°C, while December-May sees the mercury rise to a comfortable 66-77°F/19-25°C. Most divers wear a 7mm wetsuit in all seasons. Drysuits are recommended for some of the southern fjords.
Though some of the best diving in New Zealand are wrecks, the marine life is excellent: dusky dolphins, albatross, New Zealand fur seals, and sperm whales can be spotted all year. The warmer waters of the North Island attract year-round schools of tropical and large fish. Bronze whaler and mako sharks, tuna, kingfish and marlin are seen all year.
Find local PADI dive shops and explore the top dive sites with our map.
New Zealand is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean. The journey there can be long but the trip is worth it for diving in New Zealand. Flying to New Zealand from Beijing takes 14h, and about a day from the US and Europe. New Zealand can be split into two main parts: the South Island and the North Island.
Most international divers fly into the main hubs of Auckland International Airport (North Island) or Christchurch (South Island). Those traveling from Sydney (3h 10m) and the Pacific Islands (3-4h), will arrive into the smaller airports of Queenstown and Dunedin (South Island) or Wellington and Rotorua (North Island).
The North and South Islands are not connected but, once in country, you can easily move across them by plane (25-35m) or boat (3h). Public transport in New Zealand is reliable, but we recommend renting a car to reach the more remote dive sites, where some of the best action is - the great white sharks of southern Bluff should not be missed.