11
days

The New Zealand Diving Adventure

This 11 day New Zealand self drive dive tour focuses on the top diving locations in New Zealand's North Island - and they are spectacular! How do we know?... well First Light Travel started and has owned Global Dive in Auckland for 14 years and we know our dive sites. So be rest assured our advice will be spot on! There is a whole other under-water world waiting to be discovered on this New Zealand Diving Adventure.

Dive Rainbow Warrior, Bay of Islands, Poor Knights, HMNZS Waikato & Tui Wrecks, Alderman & Mercury Islands. Waitomo Caving Adventure.

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Itinerary

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1
TRAVEL TO THE BAY OF ISLANDS - NEW ZEALAND'S WINTERLESS NORTH

If you have just arrived into Auckland International Airport you will transfer to the domestic terminal before your short flight to Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands. This sub-tropical region has the finest maritime park in New Zealand with 144 islands, secluded bays, and an abundance of marine life including marlin, whales, penguins, dolphins, gannets and many other species. It is one of the most picturesque and popular holiday sites in New Zealand. It combines great fishing, diving, (perfect for a New Zealand Diving Adventure) sailing and other water sports with some of New Zealand's most significant historic sites. One of the most popular attractions is the Hole in the Rock, off Cape Brett. You can take a boating trip through the hole in a huge rock outcrop.

Approximate Distance: 239 kms | 149 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 50 mins

Accommodation Opua - 2 nights

2
Dive the Greenpeace flagship – the Legendry Rainbow Warrior

After making passage to the Cavalli Islands you explore the wreck of the historical and controversial Greenpeace flagship – the Rainbow Warrior. Bombed in Auckland Harbour by French Secret Service agents on July 10th 1985, the wreck was relocated off the Cavalli Islands two years later. This artificial reef has matured into an ever-growing host to marine life and is an excellent shallow water wreck dive suitable for certified open water divers. The wreck is splendour of colour with jewel coloured anemones clinging to the rails in hues of purple, yellow and blue making it a great underwater photography subject. It is the home to schools of Golden Snapper, Kingfish and John Dory making this, one of the worlds most famous wrecks, a most memorable dive.

3-4
Diving Cape Brett

Highly recommended on any New Zealand Self Drive Diving Adventure, this striking headland includes the famous Hole in the Rock tunnel, Cathedral Cave on Piercy Island, and the dramatic Deepwater Cove. Kingfish, kahawai, trevally, and maomao cruise the sheer rock faces, which plunge to 37m in places. Tropical species like flying fish, sunfish, marlin and mako sharks can be seen in summer. Bird Rock is a top spot for sighting large pelagic fish like marlin and sharks. With 40 stunning dive sites like Sonic Boom Cave, The Sisters (Motutara Rock) Cathedral Cave, Motukokako Island this area offers world-class diving for tec to open water divers.

Approximate Distance: 25 kms | 15 miles  Total Driving Time: 35 mins

Accommodation Cowshed Bay - 2 nights

5
DRIVE TO TUTUKAKA - DIVE THE TWIN WRECKS

A very scenic 1 hour coastal drive has you in the seaside town of Tutukaka.
Sunk to make artificial reefs, the former research ship HMNZS Tui and combat frigate HMNZS Waikato were purposely prepared and altered for easy penetration diving. You enter the wrecks through purpose cut entry and exit points -  explore the bridges, control rooms and crew living quarters and engine rooms via very established routes. Watch Kingfish cruise in like approaching torpedoes making low passes just missing the wrecks. You need to have at least 20 logged dives to dive the Waikato and must be an advanced diver to dive the Tui.

Approximate Distance: 70 kms | 44 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour

Accommodation Tutukaka - 2 nights

6
DIVING THE POORKNIGHTS MARINE RESERVE

Dive the Poor Knights Marine Reserve, named by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 dive locations in the world. The warm currents here originate in the Coral Sea (Australia), so the water temperature is higher and visibility greater than that of nearby coastal waters. Born from volcanic activity, tropical and sub-tropical life abounds in this unique underwater environment. Caves, tunnels and archways are all home to great schools of friendly colourful fish - great photography and an absolute must on a New Zealand Self Drive Dive Tour.

7
THE COROMANDEL PENINSULA

Where New Zealanders Go to Play

Journey south of Auckland and on the other side of the Hauraki Gulf lies the Coromandel Peninsula, bordered on each side by miles of spectacular coastline. On the west coast, there’s a never-ending parade of beaches, coves and harbours lined with pohutukawa trees. The eastern side is furnished with an amazing collection of white sand and surf beaches. The past can also be found in the charming colonial architecture and historical buildings preserved in several towns around the region. The coastal nature of the Coromandel makes it a brilliant choice if you like to fish, surf, dive, snorkelling, swim or wander along beaches. For contrast you can head for the hills and hike the trails in the-forest.

Approximate Distance: 376 kms | 234 miles  Total Driving Time: 5 hours

Accommodation Whitianga - 3 nights

8
DIVING THE ALDERMAN ISLANDS

Located 20 kilometres off the coast of Tairua on the Coromandel Peninsula, are a series of dramatic island peaks – remnants of volcanoes - rising up off the ocean floor. These are the Aldermen Islands known for fantastic diving and often compared with the Poor Knights. The water clarity is 15 to 30 metres much of the year and water temperatures reach a pleasant 22 degrees Celsius in summer. this is one of those must see sites on any New Zealand Diving Adventure.

9
DIVING THE MERCURY ISLANDS

The Mercury Islands consist of a group of large islands situated east of the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. The islands attract divers from all over the country because of the varied underwater terrain with pinnacles, reefs, sandy bottoms, caves, drop-offs and islands, making for varied and spectacular diving. Schools of Blue MaoMao, Sweep, Trevally, Kahawai, Demoiselles, Pink MaoMao, Butterfly Perch, Terakihi are common, along with some great Kingfish. Corals, nudibranchs, hydroids, sponges, anemones and ascidians cover the walls, with crayfish and morays hiding in the cracks. Fantastic for the keen underwater photographer and the budding marine biologist.

10
WAITOMO - AN INCREDIBLE UNDERWORLD ADVENTURE

The green rolling landscapes of the Waikato region hold more than just surface appeal, for this region boasts an extensive labyrinth of underground caverns formed many millions of years ago and the small town of Waitomo is the focal point of these subterranean wonders – a celebration of nature's work over the last couple of million years.

But today we venture into only one of these cave's, but this is no ordinary cave, this is the famed and loved 'Lost World' . After completing the world’s longest commercial caving abseil (rappel) of 30 minutes you will land in the most incredible cavern space underground.

Approximate Distance: 241 kms | 150 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 20 mins

11
Return to Auckland

Have a leisurely morning and travel back to Auckland for your onward connection. We hope your experiences diving on your New Zealand Self Drive Dive Tour have been excellent.

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

Our promise is to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Approximate Distance 185 km | 115 miles Approximate Driving Time 2hr 20 mins

Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about the 'New Zealand Self Drive Dive Tour' - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!