New Zealand's clear blue waters have much to offer and not surprisingly, the country has more divers per head of population than anywhere else in the world. Many shipwrecks are found at the bottom of Marlborough Sounds, among other places. It is best to go from January to April when the water temperatures on the east coast of the Northern Island average 21°C.
A few of New Zealand's prime diving areas are the Bay of Islands and the Poor Knights, about 22km (14 mi) off the east coast at Whangarei. The Bay of Islands is the resting-place of the sunken Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, which was towed here from Auckland Harbour. The latter area is popular for its large numbers of fish and steep coral walls. Diving in the virgin bays of Fiordland, New Zealand's largest national park, is offered through Divers World in Christchurch (03-379 5804).
Fishing is a main hobby in New Zealand. Its lakes and rivers are known worldwide for their elusive trout. The country's expansive and ever changing coastline offers a limitless supply of fish species, and its blue water angling is legendary. There are about four kinds of fishing in New Zealand: trout fishing, salmon fishing, boat fishing, and deep sea fishing.
Trout fishing in the North Island occurs during the months of October to April. Winter trout fishing is also available in the Taupo/Rotorua regions. In the South Island, the season runs from October to May, but good year-round fishing is available in specified lakes and rivers. Fishing licenses must be obtained from fishing tackle and sports shops. There are licenses for a day (NZ$12), a week (NZ$25), winter (NZ$37), or a whole season (NZ$62). It is advisable to always go along with experienced guides though you may be a professional fisher.
Salmon fishing is marvelous on the east coast of the South Island (Rakaia, Waimakariri, Rangitata, Ashburton and Waitaki rivers). The season goes through autumn and the best months are between February and March. Operated tours, which offer experienced guides, transport, and refreshments, are available.
The best times for boat fishing would be from March to November when bottom fish are available. Guided line fishing from chartered boats are available all around the coast, particularly from Whangaroa, Bay of Islands, Tutukaka, Auckland, Mercury Bay, Tauranga, Whakatane, the Marlborough Sounds, and Milford Sound.
Game fishing is popular in this part of the world. New Zealand seas are swamped with broadbill swordfish, Pacific Blue, black and striped marlin, mako, thresher and hammerhead sharks, yellowtail and yellowfin tuna. Main areas for game fishing are on the east coast of the North Island from bases in the Bay of Islands, Tutukaka, Whangaroa, Whitianga, Mayor Island and Whakatane. The best months are from January to May. Boats are accessible for group charters, and provisions of bait, tackle, equipment and refreshments are given.
A visit to New Zealand would not be complete without the experience of whitewater rafting and jet boating. Fast jet boats are maneuverable and skim the surface of the water. The activity is best enjoyed at the Shotover River. Whitewater rafting is a thrilling experience with your adrenaline rushing as you sit on an inflatable with up to seven other people. Some of the most exciting rivers are the Shotover (Queenstown), the Kawarau and the Kaituna (Rotorua) rivers.
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