New Zealand’s coastal waters offer some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in the world.

The New Zealand Information Network has compiled this summary of the top diving and snorkelling locations to assist visitors with their holiday plans.

So come with us on a diving tour around the country, taking in the choicest dive spots. The tour begins in the balmy subtropical bays and reefs of Northland and moves on to the famed Poor Knights Islands and the Hauraki Gulf. From there we traverse the east and west coasts of the North and South Islands, touching on aspects like water clarity, temperature and marine life. Also shipwrecks, caves, arches, water depth and access.

The tour will conclude in the chilly Southern Ocean waters around Stewart Island and Fiordland, where spectacular steep cliff diving includes shallow water surprises like black coral and groper.

It is interesting to note that our small country’s deeply indented coastline is as long as that of the United States. Nowhere in New Zealand is more than 130 km from the sea, so it is no wonder that we have more scuba divers per capita than any other country in the world.

Sea conditions are at their best in summer and autumn (January-June), when the weather is settled, underwater visibility is good and marine life is abundant.

There is a fascinating new underwater world waiting to be explored where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea wash onto New Zealand’s shores. Dive training is available through dive shops in most main centres. Open Water Scuba Certificate courses cost around $400-$500 and include 12 hours of theory and pool instruction plus two sea dive evaluations. Overseas dive tickets are recognised in New Zealand and must be presented when you fill tanks or join charter dive trips.

Enjoy your travels around the New Zealand coastline. The fascinating undersea blue/green universe is full of surprises.