Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve

Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve

Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve
5
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World-renowned diver Jacques-Yves Cousteau rated this reserve, notable for its excellent visibility, as one of the top ten places to dive in the world.
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles198 reviews
Excellent
171
Very good
20
Average
6
Poor
1
Terrible
0

Renee G
Montreal, Canada55 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2013 • Couples
This place is amazing. I went on the perfect day boat and went snorkelling. I think it is the best snorkelling spot in New Zealand and you must do it. Not only is it amazing snorkelling with heaps of fish, but the views of the islands are gorgeous. Check out some of my photos here:
http://photographyaddiction.com/tips-landscape-photography-boat/

We were lucky on the way back, seeing a few orca.
http://photographyaddiction.com/orca-photography-northland/
Written March 23, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Blackw00ds
Warkworth, New Zealand14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Couples
We travel to Poor Knights for diving at least once a year and it's always amazing. It's a pleasant drive for us from north Auckland to Tutukaka where activities are based for the trip to the Islands. They are basically rugged, beautiful and uninhabited. We are not permitted to land on them but you don't need too because it's what's below the water that we go to see.
There are live aboard options and day trips available. It all depends on the time you have. The diving is fabulous. So many fish plus the scenery around the islands is good too. Caves, arches and birdlife above and below the water. Blue Maomao arch is pretty and middle arch with its bubble cave also a highlight. We have seen seals there in the cooler months and wonderful macro too. Colourful Nudibranchs abound. If doing a day trip we often stay in Tutukaka holiday park which has excellent gear cleaning and secure drying areas. It's cheap, comfortable and perfectly sited to get out on the water early in the morning. There is a good selection of eateries both sandwiches, simple and more gourmet meals in Tutukaka. We especially love Schnappa Rock Restaurant. There is plenty of options for all different staying, eating and diving requirements at there that's for sure. I can heartedly recommend the area as a holiday destination.
Written November 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robby G C
Toronto, Canada78,235 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2014 • Couples
While on our trip in New Zealand, we had planned on having a diving experience like nothing we had ever experienced before. We carefully chose the best diving boat, the best diving instructor, and the best diving location.

Being new to the sport, we received plenty of basic survival instruction. Unfortunately, we weren't instructed about the dive itself … After being fitted with numerous devices that literally turned us into waddling ducks, my wife and I both made our way to the diving platform. It was here that the weights around my waist began to slowly shift in the direction of the boat's deck. It seems I have no waist. Only a pot belly!

Our instructor initially wished to try and train both of us at the same time, but for some reason, after just five minutes in the water, he gave up and worked with us one at a time.

My wife let the instructor propel and guide her, but her tendency to float to the surface put more than one snare in her instructor's instructions. He looked a bit pale when he came back for me.

Because I was wearing duck-like fins on my feet, I figured I needed to use them. And I did. Constantly. As it turned out, I propelled my instructor, who was quite occupied with the task of keeping me under water, on a wild goose chase. Once back on the boat, with my weights now comfortably settling around my knees, all he could say was, "What a ride!"

It's then that I realized that we had no idea how to actually enjoy the dive. Other than the fact that we were to breathe regularly and try to follow our instructor's hand gestures, we had no idea what was expected of us once we were under the water. Is this why our instructor was completely beat by the end of the day?

And to make matters worse, all those beautiful fish we had anticipated seeing had been totally absent … As the end of the day rolled around, we weren't exactly rejoicing. Both my wife and I were in agreement: Snorkeling was far more fun than diving! But then, how could we rejoice, when we hadn't really enjoyed our experience?

In retrospect, we had it all wrong. I had expected a dive, but instead I experienced a flipper marathon, while those slippery weights just kept making their way south! I hope ducks don't ever experience anything like this! My wife's expectation was different. She had anticipated admiring the many beautiful fish. Instead, her experience was a constant elevator-going-up kind of ride. We can see the humor in it now. Perhaps had we seen it then, we would have had more fun!

To prepare ourselves we bought a couple of disposable underwater cameras. We wanted to remember this once in a lifetime experience! Now they tend to pack these things with air-tight aluminum, just like pop-tarts, and we weren't supposed to open them until just before we were ready for the dive. As a result, we didn't have the chance to figure out how to use them ahead of time. But how difficult can it be? All cameras have a button, and once triggered by the means of a finger, they will take the desired picture!

However as my wife was an elevator all day and I found myself with weights at my feet, we had no opportunity to see any fish. Our diving instructor took about 3 pictures of fish for us, but it was no comparison to the pictures found online.
My brother-in-law who is an expert in diving told us our instructor had not the right equipment for us. That’s why we never had success. Oh well. It was still quite an adventure!
Written June 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael P
Washington DC, DC80 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
We visited on the Perfect Day, which is a boat that visits daily. The island itself is a sanctuary and is historically Tapu according to Maori traditions, so landfall is not an option. The snorkeling area is well sheltered, relatively shallow, and teeming with marine life. Some caution is warranted depending on the nature of the surf - there can be powerful surges in some of the sea caves. Ask the boat captains - they know the area. There are diving opportunities but I can say (as a long-time diver) that 80% of what you want to see can be seen with a mask and snorkel. The divers go deeper, obviously; there is a steep wall-like decent in the sheltered cove. We saw sea turtles, rays, and too many fish to count. Much of the cove is entirely suitable for novice swimmers who are comfortable not touching the bottom (which is not really an option). Note that this can be done without a wetsuit in summer - but not for long. I used a 3/4mm wetsuit, no hood, full-foot fins, and gloves. The world's largest sea cave is nearby - most boat captains will take you in for a quick look.
Written January 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Preeti R
29 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Family
Initially tried to fit both Austrailia - Great Barrier Reef and New Zealand in a two-week trip which is insane. Worried about the massive bleaching of coral reefs due to global warming so was excited to discover that Poor Knights Island was considered top 3 dive site by Jacques Cousteau! We visited Whangarei just for this excursion and glad we did. It was a two hour drive from Auckland. Wonderful experience with Dive Tutukaka. At first booked the Perfect Day which included kayaking, SUP, and snorkeling from 10:30a-4:15p because one of my teen sons is not scuba certified and my husband had not gone diving in over 10 years. Dive Tutukaka was so accommodating - when we inquired about diving, we were able to switch our booking so that my kids could go snorkeling, kayaking and SUP. My husband was set up for a scuba refresher on the boat to brush up on his skills. I was placed in another group and went on two dives. The wet suits kept us warm. Dive Tutukaka provided all gear - in good condition (including wet suit with vest/hood and dive socks). Lunch was provided and looked good but we opted to pack our own lunches. They provided coffee, milo, soup(broth). It was a 45 minute ride to the islands. Learned history of the islands and Maoris. My family took Bovine to prevent any seasickness. Great to go in the largest sea cave - wish we could have snorkeled there. Dive conditions were wonderful. The waters were a sparkling turquoise with 15m visibility and so much colorful variety and schools of fish, manta rays, sea sponges, urchins, etc. There were like 100 of white birds that flew back and forth in formation was mesmerizing. Wish I brought my waterproof GoPro! My only complaint is that the provided weight belt was given without asking for my weight and ended up being twice the amount I normally dive with - it affected my diving and had a harder time equalizing my ears. The ride back was beautiful, wish I had my camera handy to take beautiful screen saver pictures of the rugged coastline, greenery against the turquoise waters. Overall an amazing experience for the entire family!!!
Written January 2, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

frootbat
New Zealand75 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2011
We dived the Poor Knights with the wonderful Yukon Dive, and are so glad we did - Noel Jo and their team are by far the most relaxed yet most professional operation we've had the pleasure of diving with. Plenty of time is allowed for sorting out your gear,getting there, briefing, gearing up, and the diving - we were told to take as long as we liked, and we did!
Arrow the boat has plenty of room for divers, staff, gear, sandwiches, kayaks and sunbathing, and we were superbly looked after, receiving detailed dive briefings on the sites and what to look out for, a tour around the Poor Knights between dives, help gearing up if you need it and a hot drink after every dive.
We took our own dive gear, but the rental equipment looks to be quite new and in good condition.
What was particularly enjoyable about diving with Yukon is that more experienced divers are allowed to explore in their own groups or pairs, but a guide is always available if you want one. This makes for a really relaxing dive, no-one rushing you back to the surface before you're ready because someone else has guzzled all their air. Beginners were well looked after and everyone benefits from being in a small group.
As for the diving - it was wonderful - great sites with plenty of interest, caves, arches, swim throughs, all teeming with marine life big and small, like being in an aquarium. It was coffee-table booktastic! There are 60+ different sites, so you could visit multiple times and not get bored. We're already planning another visit - with Yukon of course!
Written January 18, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ALWALEED A
Doha150 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Friends
I loved the diving through the kelp forests but I had a 3mm wetsuit and I needed a drysuit , the water was bitterly cold
Written April 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paul B
Scottish Highlands, UK49 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2017 • Solo
Some of the best diving in New Zealand - visited for the weekend and stayed on a live aboard dive vessel. Not enough time to see all the sites/sights, but would definitely go back for more exploration. Excellent underwater visibility (25 metres) and loads of fish life. Highly recommended
Written May 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Elmzie
Surfers Paradise, Australia33 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2013 • Couples
We went to the Poor Knights dive sites as they are rated some of the best in the world. My husband and I are both professional divers and have worked in Fiji. We were a little disappointed as there was not much marine life around and both dives were just big kelp gardens really. I think we have just been a bit spoilt in Fiji but I would have expected a lot more from a ton ten dive site. It was however a different experience for us and we haven't dived anything like it before but we wont be going back in a hurry.
Written May 2, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Len47
Hereford, UK25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2016 • Solo
Very professional! Well organised dive company. 4 boats, plenty of staff and knowledgeable - but it is cold in the water, don't think a 3 ml wet suit will do, use theirs - 2 x 7ml pieces. I was as warm as toast but several others on the boat were still cold!
Saw all sorts of fish life, from large conger eels to large nudibranches, sting rays, sponges, sea urchins, crawfish, corals and various seaweeds-amazing.
Above water the islands have all sorts of cave systems, being volcanic.
Written October 18, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Poor Knights Island Marine Reserve - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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