Scuba diving in Bay of Islands

Scuba diving in: Bay of Islands


The Bay of Islands, located at the top of New Zealand's North Island, is a picturesque collection of 144 islands known for their stunning beaches, pristine waters, and rich marine life. This area, steeped in both Maori and European history, is not only a hub for sailing and fishing but also offers scuba divers a chance to explore a unique underwater realm.

Best Scuba Diving Spots for Experienced Divers

HMNZS Canterbury: This decommissioned frigate was purpose-sunk in 2007 to create an artificial reef. Lying at a depth between 12 to 38 meters, the wreck is now home to a variety of marine life and offers multiple penetration opportunities for advanced divers.

Rainbow Warrior: A poignant piece of history, the Rainbow Warrior, sunk by French agents in 1985, was relocated to the Bay of Islands to serve as a dive site. Resting at around 27 meters, the wreck attracts an abundance of marine life.

Best Scuba Diving Spots for Beginners

Blue Maomao Arch: This renowned dive site offers a cavern-like arch filled with schools of blue maomao. With depths ranging from 5 to 15 meters, it's perfect for beginners and underwater photographers.

Hole in the Rock: As the name suggests, divers can swim through a large hole in a rock formation. The surrounding area is shallow and teeming with colorful fish, making it ideal for novice divers.

Marine Life

The Bay of Islands is teeming with marine biodiversity. Divers can expect encounters with John Dory, kingfish, snapper, and schools of blue maomao. The rocky nooks and crannies provide homes to nudibranchs, crayfish, and octopuses. With luck, one might even spot dolphins or the elusive orca.

Dive Conditions

The Bay of Islands boasts relatively stable dive conditions year-round. The warmer months between November and April see water temperatures of 18-22°C (64-72°F), while the cooler months might dip down to 15°C (59°F). Visibility generally ranges from 10 to 20 meters, with clearer waters during the summer months.


A standard two-tank dive trip in the Bay of Islands can cost between NZD 160-280, with variations depending on the specific dive site and equipment rental needs. For those seeking certification, a PADI Open Water Diver course typically ranges from NZD 500-650.

The Bay of Islands, with its clear waters and rich history, offers a memorable dive experience for both novices and experienced divers. It's a must-visit for anyone looking to explore New Zealand's underwater treasures.

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