October 2017: Underwater adventures

New Zealand’s accessible coastlines, marine reserves and hundreds of offshore islands make for a vast and diverse underwater world.

Poor Knights Islands
Your clients can dive wrecks, drop-offs and sub-tropical reefs in clean, clear waters. They can explore huge kelp forests, swim with schools of fish or alongside dolphins.
 
Diving isn’t the only way explore to the depths of New Zealand seas though – read on for some more unusual underwater adventures your clients can have around New Zealand.

Dive the warm waters of the Poor Knights Islands, Northland

The Poor Knights Islands, 25km off shore, have been rated by the famous Jacques Cousteau as one of the top ten dive sites in the world. Converging warm water currents, a micro-climate and thousands of years of separation from the mainland have resulted in a unique biodiversity.
 
Sea currents and visibility up to 30 metres underwater allow the diver to see a highly-populated, rich and diverse tapestry of marine life.
 
A total marine and nature reserve, the islands’ volcanic origins provide myriad spectacular drop offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels.
 
Dive! Tutukaka is New Zealand’s largest full-service dive charter operator, servicing the Poor Knights Islands.
 
Qualmark endorsed, and a PADI 5 Star IDC, and National Geographic Diver Centre, Dive! Tutukaka operates seven purpose-designed dive boats that ensure small groups and personal service from professional crew.
 
Tips for agents:  
Partners and friends who don’t dive can still enjoy a cruise on Dive! Tutukaka’s Perfect Day Ocean Cruise which caters for the non-diver, with an interpretive eco-tour of the Poor Knights Islands including sightseeing, kayaking, snorkelling, dolphin-watching and stand-up paddle boarding.


See what lies beneath the surface in the Coromandel 

Not strictly underwater, but if your clients want to see the fish without getting wet, why not book a tour on a glass bottom boat?
 
Your clients can either sit back and enjoy the amazing marine life through the glass bottom or take the plunge and snorkel amongst the fish. All equipment supplied and no experience necessary.
 
The tour is two hours long and guests are provided with a commentary enriched with local history and Maori culture along the way.

Tips for agents:

The Coromandel is a very popular travel destination for Aucklanders in peak season (December – February), so book accommodation and activities well in advance!
 

Stay dry underwater in Milford Sound, Fiordland

Hidden under the surface in Harrison Cove is a unique and beautiful environment. In the middle of Piopiotahi Marine Reserve, the Milford Sound Underwater Observatory is
New Zealand's only floating underwater observatory and enables your clients to experience the magic of this special world, previously the exclusive realm of divers.
 
Descend 64 steps underwater into a large, fully air-conditioned viewing area where large windows with excellent optical clarity open your eyes to this deep underwater haven. Unlike an aquarium, the fish are free to come and go; it’s the people who are contained.
 
Thanks to its unique underwater environment, Milford Sound is home to species of black coral usually found at depths of more than 500 metres.
 
Tips for agents: 
The Milford Sound Underwater Observatory can be added on to any Southern Discoveries Milford Sound cruise (except the last cruise of the day).  Entry is included with their Discover More experience. Please allow an additional 45-60 minutes.

Swimming with sharks in Southland 

Off the southernmost tip of New Zealand’s South Island, your clients can experience magnificent Great White Sharks up close, from the safety of a cage.
 
Shark Experience offer shark cage diving and sightseeing tours into Foveaux Strait, between Stewart Island and Bluff.
 
On the day tour, your clients will enjoy the sights of Foveaux Strait for approximately 45 minutes while heading south toward Stewart Island.
 
Once anchored off Edwards Island, it’s time for a safety briefing and to change into Dive gear before everyone on board starts a “shark watch”. Up to five people at a time will enter the cage for up to 25 minutes for their first entry, until everyone has had time in the shark cage.
 
When time allows, the experienced crew will provide a commentary on the southern Great White Sharks and local wildlife.
 
Tips for agents:
Why not combine the shark cage diving with some other wildlife spotting in the region? If they follow the Southern Scenic Route around the Catlins coastline, they are likely to see penguins, dolphins and sea lions playing in the waves or basking on the sandy beaches.
 
And just across the bay from Bluff is Stewart Island, where your clients can spot kiwi birds in the wild.


Ride in the belly of the beast, Queenstown

For a more robotic (but nonetheless still thrilling) underwater experience, your clients might want to take a high-speed ride in a semi-submersible shark.
 
Based on lake shore of beautiful Queenstown, New Zealand, the Hydro Attack shark reaches speeds of 80 kph on the water and 40 kph diving under the water – before it blasts back out again, five metres into the air.
www.hydroattack.co.nz
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