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Dive and Wreck sites around New Zealand

Select a region from the map to view the location of wrecks and Dive NZ recommended dive sites.
upper north island middle north island lower north island upper south island middle south island


There are 14 sounds making up Fiordland, with most only accessible by sea. The Fiordland National Park was established in 1904 to protect the land encompassing 1.2 million hectares. It has World Heritage Status.



Sunk in 1942 - W. end Dog Island,Bluff More


WAIKARE, steamer : On January 4, 1910, the steamer struck on an uncharted rock between Indian Island and Passage Islet, Dusky Sound, and was beached on Stop Island to prevent her from foundering. The Waikare became a total wreck, but her complement of 141 passengers and crew of 85 landed safely. More


TYRONE, steamer : The largest vessel to be wrecked on the coast of the South Island to date, the Tyrone struck on the rocks just south of Otago Heads at 4 a.m. on September 27, 1913, and became a total loss. The casualty was caused by a heavy fog which lay like a cap over the land, obscuring the light on Taiaroa Head, and rendering it impossible to determine the direction of the fog signals which were heard from the lighthouse. A curious feature was that the fog did not extend seaward, where conditions were quite clear.



TARARUA, steamer : Few, if any, wrecks on the coast of New Zealand have been attended by such tragic incidents as those connected with the loss of the steamer Tararua-hours of what must have been heartrending suspense, as those on board waited for the succour which never arrived; ever-increasing danger as the seas rose and swept the decks, until, in the hours of darkness, death mercifully ended their sufferings. Only once-in the wreck of H.M.S. Orpheus-has the loss of life been exceeded in a shipping disaster in the Dominion, and on that disastrous occasion the 189 lives lost were those of men and boys, but among the 131 victims of the Tararua wreck were women and children.


Star of Erin

STAR OF ERIN, barque : The vessel sailed from Bluff on February 6, 1892, bound for London with a cargo of wool and grain, and at about midnight the same day went ashore near Otara Point, one mile north of Waipapa Point lighthouse. The barque became a total wreck, only the mizzenmast and part of the hull being visible the next day. The master stated that a moderate breeze from the south-east prevailed when the vessel was towed out of Bluff at 3 p.m. Before midnight the wind changed to the south-west, and blew very hard, accompanied by blinding rain. At 11.30 p.m., after beating about the coast, the Star of Erin struck heavily on Waipapa Reef and remained fast. More


SCOTIA, steamer : The steamer was on a passage from Melbourne when, at 11.30 p.m. on June 2, 1864, she stranded on the reef off Stirling Point, Bluff Harbour, and subsequently became a total loss. The rocks penetrated the vessel's bottom for several feet, but she suffered no damage on either side above the waterline. The passengers and their luggage were saved on the night of the wreck, and the greater part of her cargo was afterwards landed, along with gear and fittings. The hull was sold to Southland buyers, who were engaged for several months in an attempt to float the Scotia off the rocks. No expense was spared in obtaining the requisite appliances for refloating the ship. Prepared canvas bags which were made waterproof and inflated were used, but these proved ineffective, and when eventually the steamer broke in two efforts were concentrated on trying to salvage her machinery. More

Okta wreck 1913

OKTA, barque : When bound to Falmouth, England, by the customary trade route round Cape Horn, the barque was totally wrecked on September 18, 1913, when she put into Bluff Harbour in distress. The vessel sailed from Port Huon, Tasmania, on September 6, and on the following day encountered a heavy south-west gale, during which the barque sprang a serious leak in her forepeak. More

Ocean Chief Wreck 1862

OCEAN CHIEF, ship : The ship sailed from Melbourne on January 2, 1862, for Bluff Harbour, with 4,000 sheep, arriving on the evening of January 13. With a pilot in charge, the vessel entered port against an adverse wind and ebb tide, and was driven ashore close to Taenae (Te Wai?) Point, the wind blowing very hard from the westward at the time. At 11 a.m. the next day the Ocean Chief was refloated, having sustained considerable damage. More

The Manuka Wreck 1903

The Manuka, No. 117,582, was a steel, twinscrew steamer of 4,534 tons gross and 2,813 tons net register, built at Dumbarton in 1903 by Messrs. Denny Brothers, and her dimensions were : length 368.7 ft., beam 47.2 ft., depth 23.2
MANUKA, steamer: When on one of her usual trips from Melbourne to Bluff, Dunedin, Lyttelton and Wellington, the passenger steamer Manuka was totally wrecked at Long Point, south of the Nuggets, shortly before midnight on December 16, 1929. More

Maid of Otago Wreck 1886

MAID OF OTAGO, schooner: Totally wrecked on Howells Rocks, off Stirling Point, Bluff Harbour, on September 23, 1886. The schooner was bound from Dunedin to Riverton, and shortly before midnight a strong easterly wind sprang up, which rapidly increased to a strong gale, and the night was intensely dark. More

Kotare Wreck 1931

KOTARE, steamer: The vessel, which was not in commission, was anchored about 100 yards off shore in Patersons Inlet, Stewart Island, when she caught fire on July 19, 1931. The steamer burned to the water line and sank, becoming a total loss.

Konini Wreck 1924

KONINI, steamer: At 1.33 a.m. on December 22, 1924, in heavy rain and pitch darkness, the steamer, on her maiden voyage from England to New Zealand, went ashore at Whale Head, or South-west Point, on the coast at the back of Bluff Hill, and about half a mile from Ocean Beach, Foveaux Strait. More

Holmglen Wreck 1959

HOLMGLEN, motor vessel: In a strong southerly wind and a moderate to rough seaconditions not so bad as to prevent smaller craft from responding to her distress signal-the Holmglen foundered at a point approximately 22 miles east-south-east of Timaru on the evening of November 24, 1959, with the loss of her crew of 15 men. More

Endeavour Wreck 1795

ENDEAVOUR, ship: The loss of this vessel in Facile Harbour, Dusky Sound, in October, 1795 the first recorded instance of a shipwreck on the New Zealand coast-is closely associated with two other "firsts" in the history of the Dominion-the first, albeit temporary, settlement and the first attempt at shipbuilding.


Elginshire Wreck 1892

ELGINSHIRE, steamer : On the morning of March 9, 1892, the steamer struck on a reef about 200 yards from the shore off Normanby Point. The vessel was bound from Oamaru to Timaru to continue loading for London. There was a dense fog along the coast, and the vessel veered from her course landward. She was observed off Normanby, steaming very close to the beach, by a railway employee. More

Cezarewitch Wreck 1876

CEZAREWITCH, barque : Loaded with railway iron, the barque sailed from Bluff on June 8, 1876, making water at the rate of one inch per hour, and two days later the leak had increased to two inches each hour. Fine weather was experienced until June 11, when the wind hauled to the south-west and increased to gale force, with a heavy sea. The vessel laboured and strained, and the leak increased, necessitating the pumps being manned every two hours. More

Bruce Wreck 1875

BRUCE, steamer: When bound from Timaru to Dunedin, the steamer encountered very thick fog, and shortly before 3 a.m. on October 16, 1875, struck on the coast a quarter of a mile south of Taiaroa Head, at the entrance to Otago Harbour.


AHURIRI, steamer : Sailed from Oamaru, on November 22, 1871, bound for Dunedin with a large cargo, which included four valuable racehorses. Steaming against a strong southerly breeze, the vessel passed inside Fish Reef, but outside of Danger Reef. When between Pleasant River and Jones Head the fore-and-aft sails were set, the captain leaving the bridge to take the helm, to enable the helmsman to assist. The master had left the bridge about five minutes when the steamer struck a submerged rock, not marked on the latest charts. The Ahuriri was then about a mile and a half off shore, Jones Head bearing SW. More

Ann Gambles 1878

ANN GAMBLES, barque : The vessel sailed from Gravesend on January 26, 1878, and the South West Cape was sighted on May 15, the wind then blowing with hurricane force. The weather was very thick and the barque was close inshore. Great difficulty was experienced in clawing offshore, and at one time it was feared that the vessel would strand. More

Ben Venue 1882

BEN VENUE, ship : Sunday, May 14, 1882, was a memorable date in the history of Timaru, marking as it did the third shipwreck at the port during the year, but, unlike the previous two, this one was followed by the loss of lives. Early on the morning of May 14 conditions at Timaru became exceed¬ingly rough, and gradually grew worse until a tremendous sea was running, breakers showing for miles out to sea. More

Duke of Sutherland 1882

DUKE OF SUTHERLAND, barque : When lying in the roadstead at Timaru on the evening of May 2, 1882, the barque struck the ground, and filled with water, ultimately becoming a total wreck. An unusually heavy sea was running, and it was dead low water when the Duke of Sutherland struck. She was being loaded with grain, and had over 1,000 sacks of wheat on board, her draught being 18 ft., and there was something like 28 feet of water where she was lying. More

Englands Glory 1881

ENGLAND'S GLORY, barque : Disaster finally overtook the barque England's Glory at the end of a long and eventful passage lasting six months when, on November 7, 1881, she was totally wrecked near the entrance to Bluff Harbour. The barque sailed from London for Bluff, via Nelson, with a general cargo, the principal part of which was iron rails, and had a fair passage until off the Cape of Good Hope, when she encountered heavy weather. The iron cargo began to work and shift, and it was found necessary to jettison the general cargo from the main hold in order to reach the iron. More

Mary VanEvery 1874

MARY VAN EVERY, schooner: On March 6, 1874, the schooner attempted to cross the Clutha River bar in tow of the steamer Lady of the Lake, the schooner drawing 18 inches more water than the steamer. The tide was at quarter ebb and a nasty sea was running on the bar. When the steamer was about midway over the bar she grounded, her tow taking the ground at the same time. More

Franklin Belle 1874

FRANKLIN BELLE, ketch : The ketch was driven ashore at Oamaru on June 20 during heavy weather and became a complete wreck. A terrific sea was rolling into the roadstead, and the vessel dragged her anchors. Only one man was on board at first, but the captain and four others put off in boats, and on getting on board hoisted sail and endeavoured to wear the vessel. More

Lloyds Herald 1878

LLOYD'S HERALD, schooner: The vessel sailed from Catlins River on May 12, 1878, for Port Molyneux, and ran to Nugget Point, where she was brought up to await a change in the weather. On May 15, the schooner continued her passage but was unable to cross the Clutha bar owing to a heavy sea, and shortly after noon anchored in Willsher Bay. More

Lena 1963

LENA, fishing vessel: During an easterly gale on June 1, 1963, the Lena developed a serious leak and about 3.30 p.m. was beached in Patersons Inlet, Stewart Island. A combined 'attempt by the fishing vessels Neptune, Rakiura and Sea Fury to drag the vessel off was foiled by heavy seas and the crew, Mr. David Henderson, skipper, and his forward hand, Mr. Crisp, were taken off by the Sea Fury. More

Marlborough 1963

MARLBOROUGH, fishing vessel: The crew were lifting crayfish pots off Mokinui Island, off the south-west coast of Stewart Island, on September 21, 1963, when the propellor shifted on the shaft and the reverse gear failed to stop the forward movement of the vessel. More

Stella Maris 1952

STELLA MARIS, fishing vessel: At 9 p.m. on July 18, 1952, the vessel ran aground near Tewais Point, opposite the entrance to Bluff Harbour, and became wedged between rocks. More

Inga 1952

INGA, fishing vessel: On December 16, 1952, while a search was being made for crayfish pots shifted by the tide, the Inga got too close inshore and a heavy sea lifted her on to a submerged rock at Codfish Island, off Stewart Island. More

Anges Rose 1882

AGNES ROSE, cutter: Totally wrecked on the bar of the Jacob's River, Riverton, on April 3, 1882, her crew of two being saved. More

Tern 1963

TERN, fishing vessel: During a north-east blow on September 8, 1963, the vessel broke adrift from her moorings in Moeraki Harbour, North Otago, and sank. More

Lyttelton 1886

LYTTELTON, ship : Went ashore at Timaru on the morning of June 12, 1886, and became a total wreck. The ship was being towed out to sea by the steamer Grafton, the sea being smooth, and no wind, but a long swell was rolling into the bay. All went well until almost clear of the buoys when the Grafton, in taking a short turn to the north-east, slackened up the tow line. The Lyttelton, instead of following the Grafton, went straight on as if making direct. for the Ninety Mile Beach. More

Otago 1876

OTAGO, steamer: Totally wrecked at Chaslands Mistake, south of Nugget Point, on December 4, 1876. The Otago left Dunedin on December 3, bound for Melbourne. When the master left the bridge in charge of the second mate, the weather was then calm and clear. At 2.30 a.m..on the 4th, high towering cliffs were seen a short distance ahead, and before the ship's course could be altered she crashed in between two pinnacles of rock. It had been foggy all night, but ten minutes after the Otago struck the fog cleared and the weather became quite clear. At daylight it was seen that the steamer was doomed. More

Pacific 1864

PACIFIC, ship : On February 1, 1864, the Pacific was totally wrecked at Paterson Inlet, Stewart Island. The ship, in company with the brig Cosmopolite, was lying at an anchor in Paterson Inlet on January 31. During the day a heavy westerly gale set in, which increased in violence during the night, and on the morning of February I it blew a perfect hurricane. More

Pelham 1886

PELHAM, steamer : Went ashore off Lookout Point, Bluff, on August 9, 1886, and became a total wreck. The vessel was bound from Greymouth to Bluff, and approached the port in fine weather. The master watched for signals from the semaphore, but none was made. Immediately afterwards the steamer struck and continued to pound heavily. When the pilot boat came alongside, the Pelham's engines were still going full speed ahead, but she did not move. More

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