Auckland, often called the "City of Sails", is surrounded by two stunning harbors: Waitematā and Manukau. While it's primarily known for its urban landscapes and vibrant culture, Auckland offers some wonderful dive sites. The proximity of the Hauraki Gulf and its numerous islands provides a rich marine environment for divers to explore.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Experienced Divers
Goat Island: Located to the north of Auckland, Goat Island was New Zealand's first marine reserve. Experienced divers can revel in the variety of underwater terrains, including kelp forests, caves, and rocky outcrops.
Tawharanui: North of Auckland, Tawharanui hosts a plethora of marine species in its Marine Park. For experienced divers, the deeper waters offer sightings of eagle rays, John Dory, and even orcas on rare occasions.
Best Scuba Diving Spots for Beginners
Matheson Bay: A sheltered bay near Goat Island, Matheson Bay is ideal for novice divers and training dives. With easy entry from the beach, divers can explore the bay's rocky bottom, which is home to snapper, trevally, and nudibranchs.
Rangitoto Island: Located right in the Hauraki Gulf, dives around this volcanic island are suitable for beginners. The gentle slopes and basalt formations host a diverse range of marine species.
Auckland's waters boast a rich marine biodiversity. Divers can expect to see a myriad of fish species, including snapper, kingfish, and kahawai. The rocky formations house octopuses, moray eels, and various crustaceans. Seasonally, divers might also encounter migrating species such as stingrays and orcas.
Auckland offers year-round diving. However, the warmer months between November and April are most popular, with water temperatures hovering around 15-20°C (59-68°F). Visibility in the Hauraki Gulf can range from 10 to 20 meters, depending on the weather and location.
A guided two-tank dive trip in Auckland typically ranges between NZD 150-250, depending on the dive site and whether gear rental is included. Those looking to get certified can expect to pay around NZD 450-600 for a PADI Open Water Diver course.
Auckland offers an intriguing blend of urban appeal and underwater adventure. With its favorable location near the Hauraki Gulf, divers can enjoy the marine wonders without venturing too far from the city's comforts.