Scuba diving in Poor Knights Islands

Scuba diving in: Poor Knights Islands


Renowned as one of the top dive destinations worldwide, Poor Knights Islands in New Zealand offers a dazzling underwater experience. Located off the North Island's east coast, this marine reserve boasts a blend of subtropical and temperate waters, leading to a unique marine biodiversity. Coupled with underwater arches, tunnels, and cliffs, scuba divers can expect a truly unparalleled underwater adventure.

Best Scuba Diving Spots for Experienced Divers

Blue Maomao Arch: This iconic dive site gets its name from the thousands of blue maomao that swirl inside the arch. With a depth ranging from 8 to 30 meters, divers can explore the arch and its surrounding walls teeming with colorful marine life.

Northern Arch
: A dive for the adventurous, Northern Arch plunges to depths of 40 meters. It's a haven for bigger fish species, and on lucky days, divers might spot the elusive stingrays gliding past.

Best Scuba Diving Spots for Beginners

Rikoriko Cave: As the world's largest sea cave, Rikoriko offers an ideal environment for newbie divers. The entrance is shallow, providing ample light and an ethereal underwater landscape.

Magic Wall: A shallow dive that ranges from 10 to 20 meters, this site features a vibrant coral wall that's perfect for beginners to explore and gain confidence.

Marine Life

The convergence of subtropical and temperate currents has blessed the Poor Knights with an exceptional marine ecosystem. Divers can witness a plethora of species, including moray eels, mosaic morwong, vibrant nudibranchs, and even the occasional dolphin or whale. The kelp forests, in particular, are a standout, hosting various fish species that dart in and out of their shadows.

Dive Conditions

The best time to dive in Poor Knights Islands is during the warmer months, from November to April, when water temperatures range from 15-21°C (59-70°F). Visibility is generally excellent, often extending to over 20 meters.


A typical two-tank dive trip to Poor Knights Islands, including equipment rental, can cost around NZD 250-350. Dive courses and certification programs are available at various price points, with the PADI Open Water Diver course often priced around NZD 500-600.

For those seeking a pristine underwater environment, the Poor Knights Islands offer a dive experience that is both exhilarating and serene. Whether you're an experienced diver or a beginner, the islands promise unforgettable underwater memories.

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