New Zealand lies exactly halfway between the equator and the South Pole – indeed lat. 45 deg S. passes through Central Otago. The water and weather are both, therefore, temperate, benign even. Below, there’s a crazy mixed-up muddled-up marine life world where coral reef crinoids exist with forest of kelp, volcanic rock formations are covered with hard corals and seafans. The fish themselves are totally different to any other Pacific area. Coastal waters teem with colourful, fascinating sea life and the usually clear waters make for excellent viewing, especially in the prime months from February to June.
Many of New Zealand’s prime diving spots are just offshore, offering easy access. One of the best spots is the crystal-clear waters of the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, whose amazing range of fish, including many tropical species, was considered by the late Jacques Cousteau to be one of the world’s top ten diving locations. To exploit all types of diving in New Zealand one must be prepared to be flexible. Time and tide are the main factors in deciding where to dive at what time – when all details fall into place, the underwater bio-diversity is amazing.