Dive Destination: Diving Marlborough – South Island

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Compiled by Dive New Zealand
Marlborough has 20 percent of New Zealand’s coastline, woven through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Captain Cook’s favourite anchorage at Ship Cove in the Marlborough Sounds was an important site for the meeting of two cultures, and the sounds were later to become home to some of the first European settlers in New Zealand. Marlborough is brilliant in every season, from cracker summer days to calm, crisp winter weeks. What does this mean for divers? Well, the diving is fantastic all year round. You also get a chance to enjoy the magic of this beautiful area.

 
Mikhail LermontovDI_Marlborough_05
One of the world’s largest wrecks this is definitely a dive where a guide is needed and is a no beginners’ dive. Penetration of the wreck should be only with the use of a safety line and with a knowledgeable guide. Depth range is 10–35m. The ship lies on its side and can be disorientating.

 
The Lastingham
A very exposed dive site that can only be dived with no swell or wind. Only for the advanced diver. A protected historical wreck. Depth range 12–25m. Opportunity for crayfish and photography. Lots of fish life.

 
Waihi Point
An intermediate dive with a depth range of 5–20m. Great for crayfish and for the spear fisher. Exposed to wind from all quarters but west. A nice kelp reef and a good selection of fish. Summer the kingfish come in.

 
Kokomohua Rocks
A marine reserve and a chance for the novice/beginner diver, where the friendly blue cod approach divers. A depth range from 5–25m. Can be a bit exposed to northerlies. Scarlet and banded wrasse, sea perch, colourful sponges and invertebrate life. Good for photography.

 
Long Island
A marine reserve. Novice or beginner divers will find this a great dive. Ideal for snorkelling and photography. Nice weed stacks with juvenile fish, sea stars and a variety of sea shells with blue cod checking out the divers. Not good in a strong southerly and some current offshore.

 
DI_Marlborough_02Onepipi Bay
A good scallop dive and rated as a beginners’ dive. Depth ranges from 10–25m. Visibility can be poor after heavy rain. A few dog fish and stingrays on the bottom. Beware of dredges.

 
Edgecombe Point
This is good intermediate dive but best avoided in strong winds and dive on a slack tide. Steep kelp covered rocks with sponges and anemones at 10m. Crayfish in the cracks. Nice photographic dive on the wall. Depth range 5–25m.

 

Bay of Many Coves
A nice beginners’ dive with a rocky reef. Kelp covered and drops to sand/mud with scallops and the occasional cray. Depth range 12–20m.

 
Koi
A beginners wreck dive. A nice sheltered bay and the wreck is covered with invertebrates. Seahorses are common but you must look closely. Depth range for 5–12m. A good range of fish life.

 
Summary
The Marlborough Sounds form one of New Zealand’s most distinctive land and seascapes. Marlborough’s history is layered with rich stories, significant for all of New Zealand so when not diving there is much to explore. Explore the heritage at the Marlborough Museum, Havelock Museum and at the National Whale Centre in Picton, or visit sites like Ship Cove and the Perano Whaling Station in the Marlborough Sounds.
Marlborough can lay claim to starting the modern New Zealand modern wine industry. Today, the Marlborough wine region represents 62 percent of total vineyard area in New Zealand. So if you enjoy a good wine you can explore the vineyards on the days off from diving. A must-visit area to dive and explore.

 
For more information:
Go Dive Marlborough
Brent Mc Fadden
59 High Street
Picton, Marlborough
New Zealand
0800GODIVE or
+64 3 573 7831
www.godive.co.nz

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