Poor Knights Islands are one of the world's top 10 dive sites, but Jason found there was as much above the water to enjoy at the outcrop of islands in the Pacific Ocean.
Known as New Zealand's Pompeii, the stunning area is more than 11 million years old. It was formed by volcanic activity, wind and water erosion and what remains is a surreal landscape. It's home to the world's largest sea cave and a menagerie of sea creatures including humpback whales, dolphins, manta rays, sharks, seals and countless species of fish. Sunken ships are used for wreck diving and the whole area is a site rich in Maori history.
The islands are a nature reserve and protected. Landing is not permitted so animals, birds and plants thrive. They are termed 'gigantism' which is when creatures and plants grow bigger than the same species anywhere else. Visitors can cruise or kayak and usually see their first wettas, a sort of cross between a cricket and a cockroach. The world's largest wettas live there.
Puller shearwaters are endemic to Poor Knights Islands. There about 5000 of them, and as there are no imported pests such as rats or cats, everything is as safe and natural as it was millions of years ago.
A sacred area called Puretal Valley holds the remnants of a tribal village. Terraced gardens used for growing crops are there from the day they left.
The Rikoriko sea cave can only be entered in calm seas. It's around the size of a football field and was created by swells crashing against the cliffs and dripping water. Light is pretty dim so it may not be the best place to dive, but people love to say they've been there. It has excellent acoustics, so a lot of singing and shouting goes on.
Blue Maomao Arch does have great diving. Fish seem to be mesmerised by the light. They are used to human visitors and just go about what they usually do. 'Tui' and 'Waikato' shipwrecks are deep dives and there are requirements before you can explore them. Dive Tutukaka will be able to give you all the necessary information.
Before his day was over, Jason Dundas was talked into trying his hand at a very unusual activity underwater extreme ironing!
It was invented by German extreme ironist, Iron Lung, when he took his iron and board into the Mediterranean sea off Majorca in 2001. It spread around the world and Melbourne's Bay City Scuba Diving Club hold the record after ironing in the waters of Port Phillip Bay.
Off the Tutukaka Coast in the Northland region of New Zealand's north island.
Dive! Tutukaka Poor Knights Island dive is $199 per person. Dive equipment, guiding service and underwater iron are included. There are two dives a day (8am and 4pm) and they run every day.
Air New Zealand has flights to Christchurch, Auckland and Queenstown.
- Sydney and Melbourne $189
- Brisbane $190
- Sydney and Melbourne $220
- Brisbane $249
- Adelaide $297
- Melbourne $288
- Sydney $289
Sales and validity dates apply.
For more information
Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476
Ph: 64 09 434 3867
Visa: Australian citizens do not require a visa to enter New Zealand.
Electricity: 230V/50Hz using the same plugs as in Australia.
Time zone: GMT +1.
Currency: The New Zealand dollar.
Telephone code: +64.
It is recommended travellers see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there may be specific vaccinations recommended for areas you will be visiting. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au and www.welltogo.com.au.