Cavalli Islands of the Upper North Island of New Zealand
The closest boat ramp is at Matauri Bay. You can take your own boat, or go with the local charter boat operators leaving from Matauri Bay or Whangaroa Harbour. Keep your eyes open for dolphins and whales.
The wreck of the Rainbow Warrior is situated at the Cavalli Islands.
True Love Reef
Very exposed. Only diveable in calm conditions. Some current. Big schools of trevally around the reef and blue and pink maomao closer in. Some colourful walls for photographers. Red diadema urchins around the 30-metre mark. Snapper and kingfish are often seen.
Extremely exposed. Can only be dived in calm conditions. Strong current. Just about anything can and does occur here. Sharks, marlin, tuna and kingfish amongst the schools of trevally, blue and pink maomao. Beautiful walls of invertebrates, including Jason nudibranchs, firebrick sea stars and red diadema urchins. One of the top dive sites anywhere.
Motukawanui Island North West
Best with little wind and no swell. Reef fish like leatherjackets, red moki and several species of wrasses. Some crayfish including packhorse in the cracks and caves. Often patches of scallops on the sand at around 20 metres. Mooching snapper and gurnard here too.
Affected by large easterly swell and strong wind. Patchy reef with cracks under the kelp. Good place for a night dive as the crayfish come out of the deeper holes. Some interesting life, like stargazers, in the sand as well as scallops.
Best with not much swell or wind. Steep walls with cracks hiding crayfish. Plenty of sea shells, including helmet, tiger and trumpet shells. Broken bits of turban shells have been eaten by eagle rays. Quite a lot of school fish activity, but mainly juveniles.
Te Haumi Rock
Exposed to easterly swell and wind. Small amount of current. Big schools of trevally and blue maomao around the rock. The kelp forest hides some good habitat for both red and packhorse crayfish. Good numbers of reef fish and colourful invertebrates on the walls.
Best with no easterly or northerly swell. Nice reef with cracks and holes for crayfish and Spanish lobster. Snapper, red moki, scarlet wrasse, John dory and leatherjackets all common. Some big yellow moray eels in the cracks.
Motukawanui Island West
Exposed to west and sou’west winds. Nice patch of reef for photography amongst the invertebrates and a small cave. Spanish lobsters, banded coral shrimps and small crayfish pose from the cracks. Hydroids and anemones on the walls. Most fish are juveniles.
Best with no wind or swell. Some current. Undulating reef, covered in kelps that drops onto clean sand. A few crayfish in the cracks. Most fish are juvenile, but odd large snapper over the sand. Stingrays are quite common, often feeding on the scallops.