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A selection of the most stunning and exhilarating scuba diving spots exist in the Bay of Islands, drawing thousands of dive enthusiasts from right around the world.
Paihia is the perfect starting point to feed your scuba diving cravings. It is home to the two most historically-rich ship wrecks in New Zealand - The Rainbow Warrior and the New Zealand frigate HMNZS Canterbury.
The Rainbow Warrior is diving jewel of the North Island. It was Greenpeace's flagship and was bombed and sunk by French saboteurs in 1985 during protests of France's nuclear testing on the Mururoa Atoll. It now sits at a depth of 27m and is dived by hundreds of divers every year.
HMNZS Canterbury rests in Deep Water Cove near Cape Brett. Sitting upright and intact, she makes for an impressive sight in what is a fantastic dive location. Dozens of fish species have made themselves a home aboard the Canterbury.
Reef diving in the Bay of Islands is also hugely popular and is different from anywhere else in the world. Certain dive spots here are volcanic in origin and feature great wall dives, caves and caverns and many crevasses.
Here you'll a wide range of tropical fish and the largest stingrays in the world, with the Short Tail ray measuring up to 3m across and weighing in the region of 300kg.
Reef diving visibility is consistently around 15 - 20m and can extend up to 40m in late summer when the water becomes more blue. During this time, the east winds kick in more, pushing open ocean water onto the coat, which brings in sea turtles and manta rays.
Because of its options for diving, Paihia is the perfect place to learn to dive or even snorkel. There are several local companies who offer scuba diving training, open water and advanced open water diving as well as dive master training.
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