Even as a teenager, I dreamed of the islands off the New Zealand North Island and always wanted to go and dive there. The Poor Knights Islands are among the best dive
sites in the island nation. Although I've been to New Zealand twice, I had never previously realized the dream. This time I had planned everything before the trip and went together with my wife Sibylle to Tutukaka, where Jeroen and Kate operates a large dive center: 'Dive!Tutukaka'. Tutukaka is a small village and just a few kilometers northeast of the city of Whangarei, 190 km northeast of Auckland.
We move into Lodge No.9 which is located directly behind the dive center. The dive center and lodge are operated by Jeroen Jongejans and Kate Malcome. The couple
has created with love a perfect dive center and an extraordinarily beautiful lodge. Here we spend two days and hope for four carefree dives.
The islands themselves may not be entered without a special permit, but diving off the coast in the nature reserve is allowed. Since the end of the 1990s, the entire marine area around the islands has been completely protected and may only be dived by licensed dive centers. There are countless canyons, caves, underwater mountains and more than 60 designated dive sites around the islands. An Eldorado for every diver, even if the water is only 18 degrees on average. The kelp-covered rocks are inhabited by many fish and countless nudibranchs, and crabs and shrimps live in the crevices. Now in the summer months big rays meet here to mate in the canyons. From mid-January, it's just teeming with them.
Directly off the coast of Tutukaka are two shipwrecks which we would have liked to visit, but we will probably dive them on our next trip. - the HMNZS Tui and the HMNZS
Waikato. The two ships were sunk in the late 90s and early 20s. Instead, we continue to Paihia, where we will dive the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior and HMNZS Canterbury. More about this soon.
Thanks to Kate and Jereon for their professionalism that is second to none. Perfectly trained and always helpful dive guides, great equipment and despite large boats, small
individual dive groups. It is an experience that convinces us both in combination with the fantastic dive sites around the Poor Knights Islands. Although the water is a little bit cold, we can recommend the diving here a lot.