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A Guide to Snorkeling in New Zealand: Where To?

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

Snorkeling over the summer season in New Zealand is a good way to spend your vacation. New Zealand will impress you with its variety of sea life such as corals, fish, jellyfish. Read along to find out what are the best places to snorkel and which companies are best hired for snorkeling.

Organized Events

Snorkeling can be fascinating. There was an organized event in New Zealand, Auckland, Northshore area. Snorkeling gear was quite simple. They gave us diving equipment such as a mask, a wetsuit, snorkeling fins, and a swimming tube. When dressed up, you would go with the group of other snorkelers on a guided tour into the waters of Mairangi Bay. The tour would take you to the corals where you would see many underwater creatures. There would be tiny red-colored jellyfish all around you. From time to time a fish would appear wandering among the seaweeds. When spotted it would slip away under the corals.


The tour was an amazing experience. It lasted about half an hour. Upon completion, you could take some time to wander around the beach. You would see schools of tiny fish in the shallow waters near the shoreline.

Best Places for Snorkeling in New Zealand

In New Zealand, there are many places to snorkel. Among the most popular are Goat Island, Tutukaka dive, Paihia dive, and Cathedral Cove at Hahei. Below I describe each place in greater detail.

Goat Island

Goat Island is located near Matakana, north of Auckland. Considered one of the top 10 places to visit near Auckland, on the Goat island there is shallow water. You will enjoy the Marine reserve snorkel and scuba rental, which is a fantastic place with a beautiful beach and coastal walks.

The Marine Reserve features many fish species. This includes giant snapper, eagle rays, large schools of smaller fish, and ancient crayfish residing in the rocks.

Snorkeling Goat Island
Snorkeling Goat Island

Goat Island Dive and Snorkel operates near the area. The snorkeling gear can be hired for $15 per person while a guided snorkel tour would cost $75 per person.


Dive! Tutukaka is an official name for a premier full-service dive charter operator. It is a boat trip organization that offers trips to the Poor Knights Islands. You will experience diving, snorkeling, dolphin watching, and sightseeing. It is the largest family-run dive company with professional and friendly crew. It costs around $219 for an adult and $119 for children under 15 years old. There is a Family pass of $519 for 2 adults and 2 children.

Stingray fish
Stingray fish

Another option is The Perfect Day at Dive Tutukaka. Leaving at about 11:00 am and returning at 4:15 pm, the cost is $229 per adult and $129 for a child under 15 years old. There is a family pass on offer for 2 adults and 2 children, which is $569. They will take you to Poor Knights Island, while you explore caves, kayaking, sightseeing, and snorkeling. The tour is often accompanied by whales and dolphins.


Paihia is perfect for snorkeling as it rests on the beautiful Bay of Islands. It will impress you with golden beaches, variations of local birds, beautiful walking trails, and waterfalls.

Paihia is famous for being a place where Maori people met with European settlers and where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

Paihia is one of the recommended places to visit for snorkeling. Take a tour on a sea shuttle around the Bay of Islands. You will be given paddleboards and snorkeling gear. You can also rent a boat and head off to the sea for diving and underwater swimming. You will see dolphins and penguins, stop by the islands, walk, snorkel, and paddleboard.

Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands

Called a Sea Shuttle Bay of Islands, this trip is #2 of 39 boat tours, water sports, and outdoor activities in Paihia. It is a 5-hour trip, starting at 9:45 am. It includes a visit to two different islands. It is an active tour with hiking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding activities. There is also a cruise around the bay on a small boat. You will be taken to Roberton Island (also known as Twin Lagoons) where you can picture a view of the Bay of Islands.

Underwater photography - Snorkeling
Underwater photography - Snorkeling

Still another option is Paihia Snorkeling Dive Day, which costs $180 per person including equipment. The trip leaves at 8:30 am and returns at 3:30 pm. You can also embark on Paihia Dive Trip which is called a Canterbury Dive trip. Suitable for both scuba divers and free-divers, it offers trips to the former Navy Frigate Canterbury F421 that now rests near Cape Brett.

Cathedral cove

Located in Coromandel near the village of Hahei, Cathedral Cove is one of the best tourist attractions in the Coromandel area. It features several scenic tracks on land, including the 1.5-hour return walk and approach on the water by boat or kayak.

Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove

Tour operators and shuttles to and from Auckland are available. There is also a human-operated water taxi that departs from Hahei when sea conditions allow.

Cathedral cove and hot water beach express operates a full-day tour to Coromandel. The most famous tourist attractions are the Cove and hot water beach. The trip would start at $70 per child up to $115 per adult. Departure times are determined based on the low tide time at Hot Water Beach. This is the time for thermal spas to be enjoyed to the fullest.

Snorkeling Alone

You can also go snorkeling at your favorite place by yourself. Remember to buy snorkeling gear such as snorkeling fins, a mask, and a wetsuit and. A general piece of advice though, when snorkeling alone, is to be careful with rocky areas. It might be dangerous to swim as the water gets shallow and you might injure yourself by the sharp edges of the rocks.

Final Thought

When it comes to snorkeling, New Zealand offers many choices to pick up from. These are suitable for snorkelers, scuba divers, free divers, and others alike. The most attractive places in New Zealand are Goat Island, Tutukaka dive, Paihia dive, and Cathedral Cove at Hahei. These places offer picturesque views, walks, boat trips, snorkeling, and much more!

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Hello, I am a Blog Writer

In my blog I love to write about New Zealand Nature. My focus is to provide value to website visitors by offering New Zealand Nature-related information and articles. By reading my blog you will learn a lot about New Zealand nature, how to preserve it and how to get the most out of your travel and nature-related endeavors!

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Nikolai Kolbenev

Blog Writer

Passionate about all things nature, I am giving you facts and showing you tips on nature preservation in New Zealand.


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