GO NZ: Poor Knights Islands, New Zealand’s richest dive spot

Visiting the Poor Knights Islands is a rich experience, writes Elisabeth Easther

I’m not a Grinch but I’m no fan of Christmas either, especially the lead-up to it. The music makes my skin crawl. Snoopy’s Christmas and Grandma Was Run Over By A Reindeer have the same effect on me as fingernails down a blackboard. Even wrapping paper makes me queasy. To go to all the effort of planting a tree and watching it grow, to just chop it down, make paper and print it with inane Christmas imagery, for it then to be ripped off a gift the recipient may not want or need, it drives me mad.

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  • Go NZ: The best scuba diving sites in New Zealand – NZ Herald
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  • Poor Knights Islands: Something in the water – NZ Herald
  • Clarke Gayford: Poor Knights Islands a rich kingdom of sea life – NZ Herald

So one year, I came up with an alternative Yuletide tradition. My son and I headed north to Tutukaka. We booked a little Airbnb by the sea and explored the many beaches and coves – and it wasn’t at all crowded, because the lunatics were all at the shops; but the highlight of that trip was an excursion to The Poor Knights, my Christmas present to both of us.

These extraordinary islands are found within a 1890ha marine reserve that was established in 1981, although it wasn’t until 1998 that a full ban on fishing was introduced. Today it is recognised as one of the world’s best dive sites, with Jacques Cousteau having listed it in his top 10.

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