The Far North NZ Diving Itinerary

Diver exploring the diverse underwater critters at New Zealand's Poor Knights marine reserve.

Tutukaka and Dive One of the Twin Wrecks

A very scenic couple of hours drive from Auckland has you in the small but very picturesque seaside town of Tutukaka. You will have ample of time to have lunch at one of the seaside cafe's before having one afternoon wreck dive, choose either the Waikato or Tui. 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. 

Dive Certification: You need to have at least 20 logged dives to dive the Waikato and must be an advanced diver to dive the Tui. If unsure, we can provide an experienced guide for a small additional cost. Please request this when booking if needed.

Approximate Distance: 198 kms | 123 miles  Total Driving Time: 2 hours 50 mins

Accommodation Pacific Rendezvous Resort - 2 nights

Diving the Wreck of the Waikato, Northland.

Pacific Rendezvous Resort is situated on a 26-acre peninsula overlooking the Tutukaka Harbour entrance. All apartments have a view of the sea, either an ocean view or a harbour view. Some of the best beaches are found on the Tutukaka coast - we especially recommend the stunning Whale Bay. 

A standard room at the Pacific Rendezvous overlooking the Tutukaka Harbour.


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!

Dive Certification: There are over 65 well known dive sites at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve and plenty of sites that cover all certification levels.

Nudibranchs are a main feature at the Poor Knights.


The 2nd of the Twin Wrecks and on to 'Bay of Islands''

After your final wreck dive this morning its only an hours drive to the Bay of Islands. The gateway Paihia is a seaside town nestled on the shores of the Bay. 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, sailing and other water sports with some of New Zealand's most significant historic sites. Larger than Tutukaka, Paihia has some interesting shops, markets, beaches and other attractions to keep you amused - The Bay of Islands is a favorite destination for many Kiwis.

Dive Certification: You need to have at least 20 logged dives to dive the Waikato and must be an advanced diver to dive the Tui. If unsure, we can provide an experienced guide for a small additional cost. Please request this when booking if needed.

Approximate Distance: 82 kms | 51 miles  Total Driving Time: 1 hour 30 mins

Accommodation: Cooks Lookout Motel - 2 nights

Diving the HMNZS Tui.


Rainbow Warrior & Bay of Islands

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.

Dive Certification:The Rainb​ow Warrior lies in water deeper than 18m/60ft. As such, any Open Water divers who wish to dive the wrecks must do so in conjunction with a PADI Deep Adventure Dive (which will contribute to their Advanced Open Water certification). This costs an additional NZ$50.

Diving the Greenpeace flagship the Rainbow Warrior.


Diving Cape Brett

Diving this 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 (122 ft) 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 - Cape Brett offers world-class diving for tec to open water divers.

Dive Certification: There are over 25 well known dive sites at Cape Brett Peninsula and plenty of sites that are suitable for all certification levels.

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

Accommodation Cowshed Bay - 2 nights

Diving in Northland

Built by divers for divers the Cowshed has gained a good reputation as a fun, social and relaxed place to stay. This is must stay for anyone who loves diving and wants to meet likeminded New Zealanders.  Offering comfortable modest accommodation the lodge  caters for Meals (no chance of going hungry). You also have a variety of après-dive entertainment such as pool, darts, tv/dvd, reading material, cards and board games.

Cowshed Dive lodge - Northland


Diving the Wreck of the Canterbury

The HMNZS Canterbury was one of two broad beam Leander class frigates operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy. On 3 Nov 2007 she was sunk by plastic explosives to create an artificial reef. Located in Deep Water Cove off the stunning Cape Brett Peninsula. This Peninsula forms the southern arm of the Bay of Islands.

About the dive: Because of its sheltered aspect, flat sandy bottom and relative lack of tidal currents and therefore great visibility, this wreck dive has become very popular dive site with the New Zealand diving fraternity. The very top of the wreck lies at 12 metres (39 feet) the midsection at 22 metres (72 feet) the bottom at 36 metres (118 feet), she is standing bolt upright on the ocean floor... 

Dive Certification: Divers must be advanced open water level or higher. If unsure, we can provide an experienced guide for a small additional cost. Please request this when booking if needed.

Diving the wreck of the Canterbury.


West Coast, Kauri Museum & Auckland

Heading south from Paihia take the opportunity and drive across to the West Coast on the road less traveled. The west coast village of Matakohe houses the 'Kauri Museum' which is considered by many as one of New Zealand’s more substantial museum giving an interesting insight into Northland’s pioneering past  through the use of kauri timber and kauri gum. There are many fascinating displays and galleries inside the museum from the magnificent collection of antique kauri furniture and the largest collection of kauri gum in the world including restored steam operated forestry machinery and much much more.

Approximate Distance: 243 kms | 151 miles  Total Driving Time: 3 hours 35 mins

Haere rā and Bon Voyage!

We know you will enjoy this New Zealand Dive Tour and 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. 

Stunning picture of the huge kauri trees.

Profile picture for user Steve
What Steve says about this tour: Luckily for me when I first did my open water course all those years ago, my ocean dives were at the Poor Knights Marine Reserve. It so inspired me that diving is now a passion and I’m happy to tell any keen diver that they won't be disappointed diving in Northland - its awesome!
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