Scuba diving in Kaikoura

Scuba diving in: Kaikoura


Kaikoura, set on the rugged east coast of New Zealand's South Island, is globally renowned for its marine encounters, notably with whales and dolphins. Beyond the impressive marine mammals, the region offers scuba divers a unique underwater environment to explore, given its location on a deep undersea canyon.

Best Scuba Diving Spots for Experienced Divers

Kaikoura Canyon: A submerged trench off the coast, the Kaikoura Canyon is an underwater wonderland that plunges to depths of over 1,200 meters. Advanced divers can explore the edge of the canyon, navigating steep walls and shelves populated with an array of marine species.

Best Scuba Diving Spots for Beginners

Goose Bay: Located south of the main town, Goose Bay offers a sheltered environment that's suitable for novices. Here, divers can meander through kelp forests and over rocky reefs, coming face-to-face with local fish species, crustaceans, and possibly even a curious seal.

Marine Life

Kaikoura is a hotspot for marine biodiversity, thanks largely to the nutrient-rich waters brought up by the deep-sea trench. Divers can expect to see fur seals, octopuses, crayfish, dog sharks, and numerous species of reef fish. On the luckier days, larger pelagics might make an appearance, including several types of rays and the occasional dolphin.

Dive Conditions

The water in Kaikoura can be cooler than many other New Zealand diving destinations, with temperatures ranging from 12°C (54°F) in winter to around 17°C (63°F) in summer. Visibility varies depending on conditions but can reach an impressive 20 meters or more, especially further from the shoreline.


A standard two-tank boat dive in Kaikoura may cost around NZD 180-230. If divers need to rent gear, an additional NZD 40-90 might be added to the bill. Dive courses, for those seeking certification or advanced training, typically begin at NZD 600-750, contingent on the specific course and dive shop.

In essence, Kaikoura offers a unique blend of topographical marvels and rich marine life, making it a must-visit for any diver touring New Zealand's South Island.

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