A world-class dive site at our doorstep – the Poor Knights

A world-class dive site at our doorstep – the Poor Knights
Dive james me
Diving off Trevor’s Rock

For many years now I have been a resort diver and only pull out my dive ticket when I’m off on holiday to some exotic tropical location.

Dive step
The water visibility is amazing even from the boat

But having recently visited the Poor Knights thinking it would be my last dive, it had quite the opposite effect and I now have a renewed vigor for this great sport.

Dive ray
The string ray gracefully swam around us

The warm water, visibility of over 20 metres and plentiful marine life, all added to this surreal day of diving, better than 90% of the dives I’ve previously done.

Dive fish
The school of fish seemed unperturbed about us

I thought it would be like diving in Fiji, on a reef with small islands, but no, the islands are large. Captain Cook named them the Poor Knights as he thought they looked like a person lying on their back with a shield over their legs.

Dive cave
Seven metres below sea level we popped up in a cave

A lot of activity has happened since Captain Cook’s days of discovery and in 1981 the Poor Knights were declared a nature and marine reserve. The reserve extends 800 metres from the island and even further for commercial fishing vessels.

No one can land on the islands but visitors can swim, snorkel and dive in the reserve.

Dive eel
This Mosaic Moray Eel has come from the tropics and will live in the Poor Knights but will not breed

This has ensured the marine life is left to breed and grow old peacefully. Among the many fish, we saw a metre long snapper, possibly 60- 70 years old.

As well as our own local species including Trevally, Kingfish, John Dory, Golden Snapper and Short Tailed Sting Ray, there is a delightful mix of tropical fish as the sub tropical current carries them to the Poor Knights. Yellow and Mosaic eels added great colour as did the sponges and Clown Nudibranch sea slugs.

Dive Nudi
Clown nudibranch sea slugs add great colour to the ocean

While the Poor Knights is a popular dive site it is possible to feel you have the place to yourselves as there are 60 dive sites creating more than enough room for everyone.


Tutukaka is a two-and a –half hours drive from Auckland.

The Poor knights are 24 kilometres off the coast.

Dive Tutakaka provide everything you need for a great days diving or snorkeling.

Jane Jeffries

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