The Poor Knights are deservedly the most famous place to dive in New Zealand, once rated by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top ten dive sites in the world. A few hours and 23km from Tutukaka (2 & 1/2 hours north of Auckland), the islands can be dived as day trips with Dive! Tutukaka, fitting in two dives, or a great weekend option is with Yukon Dives MV Pacific Hideaway. Staying on board their boat allows up to seven dives, and free accommodation the night before the trip while the boat is moored.
I’ve done this trip twice, organised through Auckland’s best dive shop, Global Dive. The first trip was to get my Advanced PADI qualification, involving six focused dives, including a deep dive (down to ~30m), navigation dive (using a compass), nature dive (identifying fish), and best but scariest, a night dive at dusk.
Had a surreal moment the second morning of this trip. Woke about 7am to find it much darker than I’d expect in late January. Left the cabin to find myself in a giant cave, the Riko Cave, the largest sea caves in the world. Large enough to fit several boats, we’d moved inside during the night when the winds picked up.
Riko Cave is also a great place to dive, with the remains of a sperm whale jaw bone just outside the entrance.
Unfortunately my second trip wasn’t as successful, due to terrible weather all weekend which limited the number of dives able to dive at. Having my wisdom teeth removed the month before must have done something to my sinuses as diving gave me bad headaches, and I’ve not been diving since 😦 It was pretty atmospheric at the islands in the bad weather though, quite erie.