Over a thousand years ago the great ocean-going waka Ngātokimatawhaorua arrived in New Zealand on the Northland shores. Kupe and his people had travelled thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean with only the stars to guide them to find this paradise. Today visitors come from far away to experience the beauty of a marine paradise that is part of the Northland coast – Cape Brett down to Whangaruru and its surrounding area. The variety of gorgeous bays, beaches and coves all fringed with the fiery red pōhutakawa in bloom, and the golden sands, the craggy cliffs takes you to a paradise not lost, where you will experience the culture of the people that live there. Diving this area is as unique under water as it is beautiful above.
Diving these waters you have the opportunity to dive the HMNZS Canterbury. New Zealand’s last steam frigate, sunk in Deep Water Cove November 2007, it has become a mecca for divers and marine life.
An intermediate dive 14–36m. Wreck is in a Rahui (No Take) area. Exposed to northerly and easterly swells. Teeming with life, she is a world-class dive attraction. A large range of soft corals and kelp outcrops varied array of fish – yellow tail kingfish, large schools of sweep, leather jackets, John Dory and many others can also be seen.
Cathedral Cave, Piercy Island (Motukokako Island)
Intermediate to advanced – depth 0–35m. Variety of fish life, including large pelagic fish. Sharks, marlin, sunfish and king fish. Crayfish and spearfishing. Colourful walls for photography. Some current.
Intermediate to advanced – current and surge max depth 56m. This dive has it all: swim-throughs, walls, guts, canyons and boulders, large black coral trees – a great variety of fish life including large pelagic fish.
Intermediate – exposed to easterly swells, nice reef with drop off, colourful walls for photography. Schooling fish with maomao and reef fish. Depth 5–30m.
Bird Rock (Mahenotapuku Rock)
Intermediate to advanced, depth 10–35m. Variety of fish life, pelagic fish, often sharks. Walls great for macro photography, watch for current and surge.
Beginner and snorkelling depth 5–15m. Rocky reef good for crays and schooling fish. Colourful walls with nudibranchs.
Bland Bay Rocks
Great for snorkelling and crayfish – good beginner’s dive 5–18m. Walls are covered in anemone and sponges. You
will find the apricot nudibranch here on the dead man’s finger soft coral.
Crayfish, snorkelling – beginner’s dive 5–18m. John dory and snapper can be found close to the reef’s edge with small schools of mao mao, trevally and kahawai often close in.
There are many dive sites in this area and some not yet discovered.
With the option of a picture-perfect east coast ocean beach and the sheltered shore of Tuparehuia beach on the Whangaruru Harbour, this is a location that offers views to die for, beautiful beaches, unbeatable fishing and diving and a variety of walks in some of Northland’s most beautiful reserves. One of the most beautiful destinations in Northland. Whangaruru North Head (Puriri Bay) is also significant as the site of the first permanent European settlement of the Whangaruru Harbour so there is a ton of history in the area to discover. Only three hours’ drive north of Auckland this is a must-destination for your next diving holiday.