Top underwater spots in the Pacific

By Patricia Greig

Patricia Greig surfaces with a list of Pacific's top underwater spots.
The Pacific is home to many amazing dive sites. Photo / 123RF
The Pacific is home to many amazing dive sites. Photo / 123RF

The South Pacific's tropical waters are home to coral reefs, atolls and a bounty of beautiful fish, so there are endless options for divers, from popular, easy trips to adventures off the beaten shore. Here are our top five sites to see the best sights the Pacific has to offer under water.

SOLOMON ISLANDS
Gizo is the third-largest Solomon Islands town and the perfect base for divers seeking World War II wrecks on the surrounding reef. A must-see is the intact Japanese transport ship Toa Maru, through which guided tours are available. The vessel still has bombs, a motorbike and a tank on board, as well as a fantastic coral garden on top, perfect for a post-explore break. Gizo's waters also contain three aircraft, spots for wall diving and drift dives for the experienced.

FIJI
No Fiji dive trip is complete without a visit to the Somosomo Strait, the "soft coral capital of the world". The waters around Taveuni and the Koro Sea support large marine ecosystems making it the perfect location to see a plethora of underwater life. Of course, with pristine reefs and an abundance of fish, Vitu Levu is an obvious choice.

Feeling brave? Jump into Pacific Harbour and dive with the sharks during feeding time.

RAROTONGA
Around 40 dive sites are sprinkled in the waters around Rarotonga and vary in difficulty, making the island a perfect place to visit for divers of any skill level. Home to local celebrity fish Monty and Tommy, Paradise is an excellent location to start with, crowded with curious fish and coral and plenty of swim-throughs to play around. Similar to Paradise is Mushroom Forest, an area rich with mushroom shaped bommies and one of the best spots to see an eagle ray in season.

TONGA
Tonga's Ha'apai Islands are made up of 62 small islands, atolls and reefs. Ha'apai is particularly unique in that only 17 of its islands are inhabited and many are surrounded by reefs, perfect for exploratory day trips for those who want to feel there is no one else on Earth. The islands offer hard and soft coral, a variety of tropical fish and virtually untouched eco-systems. Ha'apai is a spectacular setting for whale watching in season.

TAHITI
The Tetiaroa atoll is a must-visit. A sanctuary of biodiversity, the Canyons site is fantastic, with incredible clear warm waters and labyrinths of coral nooks and crannies housing bright fish. Whales, sharks and barracuda are also spotted in these waters so keep an eye out! A little further afield is Rangiroa, a lagoon which has been labelled as a dive mecca and must rate a mention in a list of Pacific dive sites. To "shoot the pass" in Rangiroa is an experience on many bucket lists.

Where are your favourite places in the Pacific to scuba dive? Email travel@nzherald.co.nz.

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 11 Dec 2016 12:43:44 Processing Time: 1540ms