Best Snorkeling Locations in New Zealand

Up North in New Zealand

For many locals in New Zealand, the term "up north: means sepia colored images, family fun at beaches, dolphins and pohutukawa tree in bloom. From school kids to tourists from all across the world "up north' in New Zealand is a ticket to popularity. And north is incomplete without mentioning Bay of Islands. That's right! It's where everyone has to come to explore New Zealand's ultimate coastline and clear blue water. 

Talking of clear blue water, Snorkeling is one of the most popular water activity for visitors and locals. Despite the absence of tropical reefs and warm water, the bay of islands snorkeling is something you would not want to miss. However, with a multitude of options, finding the best snorkeling in New Zealand can become a little robust. New Zealand has a coastline of almost 15,000 kilometers, surrounded by three oceans. Therefore, the best snorkeling in New Zealand sites are offshore and offers easy access which makes snorkeling a budget-friendly activity in the country suitable for every type of visitor. 

Finding The Best Snorkeling In New Zealand

While both north and south Islands have plenty of clear blue water suitable for snorkeling, most people like to be around the happening places to relax and drink with their friends and family. Here are some of the picks for the best snorkeling in New Zealand.

The Bay of islands Snorkeling

The clear waters at 18-22°C during summer makes bays of Island snorkeling one of the best past time for visitors. There are plenty of bay areas to choose with trips to Roberton Island. The Bay of Island snorkeling is best at the North Island with over 144 islands for the best maritime experience. The marine world of Bay of Islands includes penguins, whales, dolphins, and seals. There are a variety of bay of islands snorkeling, scuba diving locations in the bay area. The clear water is excellent for underwater life viewing.

The Bay of Islands receives the water current from East Auckland bringing tropical fishes like Toadstool Grouper, Lord Howe, Coralfish and Cape Brett. You can also see lots of stingrays around the Cathedral cave, Blue Maomao and Pelagics similar to Kingfish. 

Not only this, the encrusting life is so colorful that walls are covered with Sponges and Jewel Anemones. During the winters the visibility is more astounding. Also, Fur seals like to visit the sheltered water with little warmth. Isn't it perfect for the best snorkeling in New Zealand?

The Bay of Island snorkeling can be enjoyed with two of the best wreck dives in the whole of New Zealand. At HMNZS Canterbury and with Greenpeace ship at the Rainbow Warrior. They both sit on the clear sandy bottom of the sea at 26m. There are hundreds of large snapper, Big eye Cavefish residing inside the shipwrecks. It's a must visit for all the divers and bay of islands snorkeling enthusiasts. The history of these wrecks makes it a must visit for all the divers from across the globe and already holds an exceptional place in local's hearts. Experience the best snorkeling in New Zealand at Bay of Island and take away the mesmerizing memories of the crystal clear water and best of natural beauty.

Snorkeling At Hauraki Gulf Marine Park 

Covering approximately 1.2 million hectares of land with 50 islands, Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is situated on Coromandel coast and Auckland. Most of this island is open for public with dive shops offering gears on hire for snorkel and transportation. 

The marine park includes some of the best snorkeling in New Zealand: They are as follows:

  1. Kawau Island: Some of the best snorkeling in New Zealand sites at Kawau Island are Maori Rock, Nelson Rock, and Fairchild Reef. These places offer visibility of 5 to9 meters.
  2. Goat Island – The township of Leigh at Goat Island is another location that offers you best snorkeling in New Zealand. The shallow water level provides safe snorkeling for everyone from small to old. The other famous snorkeling islands in the Goat Island reserve includes Little Barrier Island, Mokohinau Islands, Waiheke Island and Great Barrier Island. 

Best snorkeling At White Island/ Bay of Plenty: 

Besides bay of islands snorkeling, another island famous for the best snorkeling in New Zealand is White Island which is the only live volcano. It is located 48kms from the eastern coast of North Island in Bay of Plenty. The best snorkeling in New Zealand and dive location at Bay of Plenty includes: 

  1. Club Rocks: The Pelagic fish and reef abound this western side of great crater bay.
  2. Volkner Rocks: Located 5kms to the north-west of Bay of Plenty is Volker rock that again offers open water dive.
  3. Cavalli Island: Located towards the Matauri Bay coast, the Cavalli island offers serene and peaceful beaches for the best snorkeling in New Zealand.
  4. Liason's Ree f: Famous for kingfish, visitors can enjoy snorkeling around these colorful fishes.

So, if you are done with all your adventure and need to get some peaceful swimming in the shinning water, the best snorkeling in New Zealand can be found at the locations shared. For those who are looking for the diversity, the bay of islands snorkeling is one of the best bet for all the snorkeling lovers everywhere!

by Wayne Charles Olsen, Manager & Chef @tekohalodge.com