Photos above courtesy of Dive! Tutukaka
The Tutukaka Coast has an authenticity that sparkles all year round. Twenty-three kilometres offshore lies an international icon – the Poor Knights Islands. A total Marine Reserve and Nature Reserve – and pending World Heritage Site – the 11 million year-old islands’ volcanic origins provide a myriad of spectacular drop offs, walls, caves, arches and tunnels. The added factor of a constant current streaming south from the tropics adds to this truly unique ecosystem.
The islands are abundantly populated with unique and incredibly varied plant, animal and fish life, above and below the water surface. Archways and vertical walls are thick with an astonishing array of encrusting life that supports an incredible biodiversity of fish and other invertebrates. During summer vast numbers of stingray gather in the archways to mate; the volcanic structures provide protection by confusing the radar of predatory orca.
Helena Bay works with Dive! Tutukaka, which was founded in 1999 by two diving friends Aussie Malcolm and Jeroen Jongejans. Their focused vision then – to be the best dive operator in New Zealand – holds true today. Dive! Tutukaka is New Zealand’s premier full-service dive charter operator servicing the Poor Knights Islands. Private charter diving reservations can be made through the Lodge.