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Sailing, diving, touring in NZ in Feb

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by tparrent88, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. tparrent88

    tparrent88 Garibaldi

    I had been planning a diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef in February and decided to stop by NZ on the way home. The more I looked into the area, the more I became convinced that I should cancel the Australian part of the vacation and spend it all in NZ!

    I have around 9 days to spend in NZ and plan to have at least 4 or 5 of those on a bareboat sail charter in the Bay of Islands. If I have time, I wouldn't mind heading South to see the fjords and glaciers.

    That does not leave a lot of time for diving unless I mix it in with the other activities. Would it be practical to dive while sailing? By that I mean, could I sail to places where i could hook up with a dive outfit?

    How is the diving down South? How cold is the water down there in February? Frigid, year round I expect.

    I normally dive a full 3mm in the Caribbean. Would it make sense to bring that plus a core warmer for the North or would it be more practical to get a semi-dry for both North and South? I have buddies who have been bugging me to dive the Great Lakes so a semi-dry could come in handy anyway (and I haven't bought any gear in awhile which, if it isn't actually illegal, must be at least unpatriotic!)

    Reading through the other posts on this forum has upped my interest in NZ and I look forward to exploring the islands.

    Thanks for any suggestions!
  2. alijtaylor

    alijtaylor Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Wellington NZ
    I'll leave it to others to answer for the diving in the far north but I'd have thought it was possible to sail into palce like Bay of Islands and get to dive on the Rainbow Warrior or Tutakaka and go out to the Poor Knights.

    I posted a thread on Milford Sound Diving a while back, I would recomend it, the diving isn't superb but the environment is and the chance to be out in it on a small personal boat is just so much better than the big tourist boats (which don't do diving). The temp was 14C and the outfit supplied good 7mm farmer Johns and jackets, but a semi dry would be nice.


  3. Skipjack NZ

    Skipjack NZ IDC Staff Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: NZ
    Hi, I run a dive shop and boats in the Bay of Islands and would be happy to pick you up from the boat that you have chartered. All we would need to know is your sizes and location to meet up, so no problem!

    Water temp in February is normally about 20c to 21c, so 1 pce semi dry or 2 pce 5mm will do the trick. You can bring your own or hire.

    Sounds like you have a great holiday planned. The Bay of Islands and the Northland coast is beautiful in Feb. Enjoy!
  4. AndyNZ

    AndyNZ Instructor, Scuba


    Not a bad idea! The diving in NZ is better and you won't spend your entire time travelling through endless fields of indistinguiishable crops!!!!

    To be honest, though, NZ also presents you some key logistical challenges in terms of getting around. It is a strange place - if you drive 100km at an average speed of 100km/h it somehow still takes an hour and a half to make the journey. It's a great country for driving, but only if you have time to wind down the windows and soak in the scenery if you do.

    Getting from the Bay of Islands to Milford - even if you fly - is still likely to be at least a whole day, if not a day and a half. It's really ambitious to try and take in both the far north and the far south on the same trip.

    To give you an idea, when my other half first moved to NZ we did a 7 day driving tour around the south island - we were basically driving for 6-7 hours a day, with very few stops. And we still didn't manage to get in the Marlborough region. A stunning trip, but ultimately one that was superficial in the sense that it was just about the scenery and not about getting to know any places along the way.

    My suggestion would be to do either the north or the south, but not both.

    As Alison has said, the diving in Milford is well worth a look - but to really dive Fiordland at it's best you probably want to go somewhere like Dusky or Doubtful Sound. But that adds more journey time and additional logistic hassles. For that readon, I'd probably suggest sticking to the north.

    I'd definitely take Craig up on his offer to pick you up from your sailing vessel - pop into his shop in Paihia before you head off sailing, get sized up and meet him at various spots over the next few days. If sailing is your priority, then great - but if you want a more general trip then I'd maybe cut the silaing back to 2-3 days to give you more time.

    Something that might be worth thinking about would be a liveaboard dive trip - send an email to Kevin at OceanBlue (Poor Knights Islands Scuba Diving Liveaboard dive New Zealand) as they may be able to arrange a 2-4 day trip that takes in the Poor Knights and other offshore sites.

    If that's too much of a time commitment, then day trips to the Poor Knights awith Dive! Tutukaka (Dive Poor Knights Islands. Diving Poor Knights Islands and shipwrecks HMNZS Tui and Waikato with Dive! Tutukaka New Zealand. / Dive! Tutukaka, Poor Knights Diving) are a great option.

    If you did want to stretch the travel out a bit, I'd also suggest a liveaboard to White Island and Volkner Rocks with John Baker (google "baker marine charters") but that is starting to get into the challenge of travelling. You may prefer to just cruise around and take in some of the other sites.

    9 days, with a few days set aside for sailing, would be a good time to cruise out of Auckland and head north. Take in a bit of diving at the Poor Knights, continue north to the Bay of Islands (stopping on the way in Kawakawa to check out the public toilets - don't google it, just trust me!!!). From there, continue north up to Cape Reinga (that's a long stretch, you could stay overnight on the Karikari Pensinula (maybe take in a dive, or just do lunch at the vineyard.... this is truly a special place - and not just because it's where my wife and tied the knot! We tied the knot there because it is so special!).

    From Cape Reinga, head south down the west coast and stop off at Waipoua forest to check out the big ol' 2000 year old Kauri trees. Maybe take a side trip to Baylys Beach. Depending on when you got back to Auckland, you might be able to squeeze in a two day round trip to Rotorua/Taupo to mix it up a bit. Diving in Taupo would set you up for diving in the Great Lakes, though the best dive in the area is the drift dive down the river - crystal clear water, with the river zooming you along.
  5. scubareen

    scubareen Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Iowa, USA
    Great info in this thread, thanks to all!

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