James’ blog: Heaven on your backdoor step! Why you need to go to the Poor Knights Islands

As an experienced dive instructor who has explored some of the most beautiful diving locations in the world, I can tell you that the Poor Knights Islands are up there with the best.

I’ve had the opportunity to dive in locations such as Bora Bora, Tahiti, Bahamas, Greece and many others, but there’s something truly special about diving in the Poor Knights Islands. The marine reserve here is home to an incredible variety of sea life, and the water is so clear that visibility can reach up to 30 meters. As soon as I submerged, I was struck by the vibrant colors of the coral reefs and the diverse range of fish and marine life.

One of the most memorable experiences I had while diving in the Poor Knights was exploring the Riko Riko Cave. This cave is enormous, large enough to fit a superyacht, and is a favourite among divers who are looking for a unique and thrilling experience. As I made my way through the cave, I was surrounded by a stunning array of marine life, including giant sea snails, colorful anemones, and schools of fish.

But the Poor Knights Islands aren’t just for diving enthusiasts. If you prefer cruising and exploring, there’s plenty to do here too. The islands are a nature lover’s paradise, with stunning landscapes, lush forests, and an array of birdlife. One of my favourite activities was taking a boat tour around the islands, exploring the caves and tunnels, and the many amazing archways.

What I love most about the Poor Knights Islands is that they’re right on our back doorstep, just a short cruise off the coast of Tutukaka. It’s easy to see why these islands are so highly regarded among divers and nature enthusiasts, and I feel lucky to have such a unique and beautiful location so close to home.

The Poor Knights Islands are an absolute must-visit destination for anyone who loves diving, cruising, or exploring. As someone who has dived all over the world, I can confidently say that the marine life and natural beauty of these islands are truly exceptional. So, if you’re looking for an adventure that’s close to home, make sure to add the Poor Knights Islands to your list! carry on below for 10 quick Facts.

10 Quick Facts about the Poor knights islands

  1. There are two large islands and over 24 islets and rocky outcrops. The land and the sea extending for 800 metres around the islands is a marine reserve.
  2. There are more than 120 species of Sealife, with new ones being discovered each year, it is home to many dolphins, whales, and Stingrays.
  3. Why Captain Cook bestowed the islands’ name in November 1769 is not clear. Some say the outline on the horizon resembled an effigy of a knight lying down
  4. Jacques Cousteau ranked the Poor Knights as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.
  5. More than 400 people once lived on the islands with five known pa sites, marae, and terraced gardens but the population was wiped out after a bloody tribal massacre around 1820.
  6. The largest sea cave in the world by volume is Rikoriko Cave.
  7. A dead sperm whale washed up inside Rikoriko, making it almost impossible to go inside due to the smell as the skeleton rotted and sank.
  8. In World War II a Japanese submarine hid inside the cave for two weeks while undergoing repairs.
  9. In Māori Rikoriko means waning light, twilight, or dancing light – referring to the sunlight patterns reflected off the water surface onto the cave walls and ceiling.
  10. Rikoriko is renowned for its acoustics. When the band Herbs played in the cave, there was submerged audio transmitting the live sound, and dolphins entered the cave and swam to the music. Neil Finn has also performed in this natural auditorium. Often when you visit you will hear Impromptu performances of Chants, Māori haka, opera singers, Swiss yodellers, Irish folk singers and didgeridoo players.

Written by James Rennie-Swan