Diving in New Zealand, Australasia

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New Zealand

New Zealand is an archipelago in the south-western Pacific Ocean with two main islands namely the North Island and the South Island. Visiting divers often regard the islands as the diving paradise of the world. Being a volcanic island and remotely seated not very far from Australia, it is indeed a remarkable diving destination.

One of the most popular dive sites is the Kaikoura in the South Island famous for spotting whales particularly the huge sperm whales. It is often guaranteed to see sperm whales any time of the year but the real gem of whale watching happens sometime in December through March when killer whales frequent the islands. New Zealand is also very popular for spotting wild Orcas and the rare little Hectors.

There is also a ray marine reserve teeming with rich marine biodiversity known as the Poor Knights sporting huge shoals and large numbers of the magnificent short-tailed sting rays which visit the islands to mate.

Perhaps, what entices many divers of all levels is the Fiordland National Park which is a World Heritage site. It is endowed with cold waters that attracts more marine life and the ever enigmatic light effects brought by cloudy fresh water that reacts in salt creating a colourful hue that sucks natural light creating darkness in the shallow waters ultimately attracting rarely seen deepwater inhabitants such as sea pens and black coral trees and a whole lot more weird looking fish species.

There is also the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior somewhere in the vicinity of the Cavalli Islands which is now fully an artificial reef teeming with wonderful marine life.

New Zealand doesn't come short with marine reserves like the huge Goat Island Marine Reserve covering over 500ha which absolutely sports an insane amount of fish population.

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The government of New Zealand is an active participant in marine conservation efforts. There is a profusion of marine reserves with the goal of preserving the richness of New Zealand's marine biodiversity.

New Zealand has a temperate climate but be prepared to experience four seasons in one day because of the unique geography of the islands.

The water temperature in the North Island averages 1°C/70F in January to March and around 15°C/59F in July to September.

The water temperature in the South Island averages 15°C/59F in January to March and around 11°C/51F in July to September.

New Zealand's diving season is year round and usually peaks in October to May.

Natural hazards include regular but mild earthquakes in some parts of the islands because New Zealand sits just on top of tectonic hotbed.

The main point of entry to New Zealand is through its international airports in Wellington, Queenstown, Auckland, Dunedin, and Christchurch. There are many airline services with direct connection to New Zealand but most of the international flights are coming in from Australia.

There are also cruise ships stopping in New Zealand and sometimes private yachts that typically dock in Auckland, Wellington, Nelson or Christchurch.

Once in the main islands, there are buses, taxis, and rental cars.

The overall transportation system of New Zealand is exceptional.

Use the following links for more information about;

- Decompression Chambers in New Zealand

- Foreign Travel Advice for New Zealand (UK Government)

- More about New Zealand  (Wikipedia)


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