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Dive Sites

The ocean has its own thing going on and generally has the last say, so we apologise if we cannot take you to a particular dive site on the day. These are just a few of our dive sites within a small radius of Hahei Beach:

South Sunk Rock

  • South Sunk is well known to be one of the top dives in the whole Mercury Bay area with generally very clear water
  • Pinnacle breaks the surface at spring low tide dropping off to 28-30m to the sand, means it is more suitable for the experienced diver
  • An abundance of diverse fish life is attracted to these pinnacles, including huge marble fish, hiwihiwi, silver drummers, moki and of course curious leather jackets. Pelagic fish in the warmer months include kahawai, kingfish and jack mackerel.
    A 20m drop off on the Southern end and a huge swim through with a number of deep crevices, multi coloured weeds and fan sponges and nudibranchs. This is our top dive. An underwater camera is a great tool here. It is only 5-7 min from Hahei beach
  • Outside Marine Reserve boundary.

Kingfish Reef

  • Situated in the centre of the Marine reserve
  • 2-3 large reefs 7m from the surface drops to 18m
  • Large variety of fish including leatherjackets, demoiselles, snappers, maori chiefs, blue maomao, sweep and bastard red cod making up the population of permanent residents and schools of koheru, Jack mackerel, kahawai and kingfish moving in as the water warms
  • Boulders are well covered with yellow, red and Grey encrusting sponges with good patches of jewel anemones and nudibranchs. There are plenty of good hiding places for yellow moray eels, blowfly fish and crayfish.
  • Less than 10 mins boat ride from Hahei

Waikaranga Island (The Wedge)

  • Boundary of the reserve.
  • Seaward side of the island is outside the reserve zone and the terrain is boulder. The large cracks make good homes for numerous red moki and the odd big crayfish. Max depth is 25m but you can enjoy a dive in 15m or less
  • Inside area is sheltered and within the reserve boundary, reaching a depth of 20m but again you can spend a lot of time in less than 18m.
  • Numerous moray eels, moki, leatherjackets and john dory; stingrays and eagle rays are common. In the summer months the pelagic fish are commonly seen here. There are good areas of jewel anemones and eclonia kelp
  • 5min boat ride from Hahei.

Okorotere Island

  • Sheltered with max depth 18m
  • Plenty to see in the shallow water. The rocks are well covered with encrusting sponges, orange and pink golfball sponges, and eclonia kelp.
  • Many permanent sand dagger, moki, brilliant blue maomao, red mullet, rays, and crayfish living in the protected area with schools of mackerel, kahawai, kingfish and koheru visiting in the summer.
  • Again it is only 5min from Hahei.

Gemstone Bay

  • The Department of Conservation has a marked snorkel trail in this bay.
  • Diving and snorkeling out by the third marker buoy is quite remarkable with large snapper and oversized crayfish permanently living in 5-8m of water.
  • The site is well within the reserve boundaries so the fish are not scared of divers. Stingrays and large eagle rays are common in the summer months in the shallow water.
  • This is usually the best snorkeling site inside the reserve with an easy walking track access along the Cathedral Cove Trail.
  • Admission is free. Donations to The Department of Conservation are welcome.

The Long Drop

  • A reserve pinnacle dive on the seaward side of Okorotere Island.
  • 7m at top
  • Boulder terrain and great drop offs. The walls of jewel anemones and pelagic fish make this one of the top dives in the reserve.

Spectacle Reef

  • Southern side of Mahurangi Island, non reserve
  • Begin dive in shallow water heading south, navigating the reef out and back.
  • 18-20m with clear water
  • Jasons nudibranch, colourful sponges and a huge variety of fish makes this a top photographic spot.

Russ’s Ravine

  • Southern side of Mahurangi Island and adjoining Te Tio Island,
  • Boasts a large swim through at around 28m with walls covered in the colourful jewel anemones and a pinnacle rising to 5m.
  • Resident fish include big marble fish, demoiselles with the schooling fish being attracted to the pinnacles. Leather jackets and black angel fish in the shallows
  • If wall diving is your thing, you will really enjoy this dive.
  • The bay is very sheltered from the north and west winds and there is ample area to spend your dive in less than 18m

Tractor Bay

  • Lies on the edge of Mahurangi Island and is just outside the reserve.
  • Two tractors have been lying on the sand since1985 and make cosy homes for moray and/or conga eels
  • The edge of the island is shallow and is a great place to potter around looking for crayfish in amongst the kelp
  • Our Open Water training playground.

Hapuku Reef

  • Heading south from Hahei through Wigmore passage heading south.
  • Rises up out of nowhere to 6m, from a depth of 25m on the ocean side
  • The most startling feature is the sheer 20m drop off to the sand on a wall covered with jewel anemones, mauve finger sponges and colourful encrusting sponges. Great for free falling!
  • A photographers dream
  • This is a top dive and can be very rewarding for the hunter, at certain times of the year.
  • Being a pinnacle, the top 10m of the reef is a good area for spotting kingfish.

Coastline between Hahei & Hot Water Beach

  • 5km of coastline running south from Hahei to Hot Water Beach
  • Sheltered from all wind coming from the north or west.
  • The stunning cliffs and islands provide ideal bays for numerous dive sites in this area, ranging in depth from 5m to 20m
  • The boat can be taken into Orua Cave and the blowhole on certain tides
  • The topside scenery is well worth the trip.
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