Snorkelling & Scuba Diving
Seeing Southland beneath the water's surface is something different.
From Stewart Island and Ulva Island, you can go to one of the many pristine beaches, brave the cold water and snorkel in the crystal-clear water. Here you will find beautiful underwater kelp forests, various species of fish, such as greenbone and blue cod, and you may even get accompanied by one of the playful New Zealand whakahao sea lions or fur seals.
Scuba diving in New Zealand's Milford Sound (Piopiotahi) Marine Reserve is an experience that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. The diversity of marine life, extreme mountain faces, majestic scenery and powerful presence, lead Jacques Cousteau to rate Fiordland diving as "the last frontier" of underwater exploration. Unique to Milford’s underwater world are sheer cliff faces that provide spectacular Fiord wall diving and a totally unique ecosystem of deep-water emergent black coral trees, which are normally only found in deep-water trenches. The heavy rainfall in Milford causes a 9-meter layer of freshwater on top of the fiord's saltwater, choking off sunlight and tricking creatures of the deep into thinking they're in much deeper water than they're actually in. You may encounter terehu dolphins, seals, mangō sharks, eels, wheke octopuses, whai stingrays, kōura crayfish and over 150 different fish species.
In other places, such as in and around The Catlins and Western Southland, you can go paua diving and source your own dinner, fresh from the ocean to your plate.