Rarotonga is home to some of the best and most diverse diving in the Pacific - there are about 40 dive sites around the island and, of these, there are some that are consistently better than the rest. We only dive the very BEST sites around Rarotonga - the ones we LOVE to dive!
Listed below are a selection of some of these along with a brief description of each to whet the appetite!
The Maritime Reefer was a large fishing vessel sunk by Dive Rarotonga in 1981. Subsequent cyclones have since broken up the wreck into 2 main sections and left it in 26m of water. With a resident giant moray, plenty of lionfish, as well as the usual suspects, this is a picturesque advanced dive in a rich reef area.
With lots of coral bommies and a full array of pretty reef fish, Alberto's is a fantastic shallow site for the novice diver, or the experienced diver who likes to take photos. Only a short hop from Avarua Harbour but a picturesque dive site for finding those stonefish and lionfish, not to mention the moray eels!
Apparently named after a couple of very nice Swiss girls...named by Eric by any chance? This is a very nice coral garden with the usual suspects to hunt out and coral to explore. A favourite hang out for the elusive Spanish Dancer nudibranch and whitemouth moray.
A shallow, curving coral shelf leads to swim-through caves with overhead breaks to the surface. The caves are a great introduction to an overhead environment for the beginner, as there are several different exit points and plenty of light from above.
The shallow coral shelf also houses a wide variety of reef life, the exploration of which is the perfect way to complete your safety stop.
Another cave/cavern system but this is a bigger one! Entrance through a well hidden fissure in the reef followed by a chain of interspersed large caverns that affords the diver the likes of lionfish, moray eels, spanish dancers and even sometimes a resident white tip sleeping in a dark corner of the ending cavern.
A 'river' of sand sloping progressively downwards to a steep drop off with coral nooks and crannies either side. A great place for seeing sharks in caves along the drop-off, or a beautifully scenic site to just sit and play with the ever-curious reef fish. Swimming across the river above the sand gives the closest feeling to weightlessness you'll get this side of space.
A site rich with fish life and a coral landscape that provides a stunning backdrop. This is a site for the explorer, with plenty to see in and around all the swim-throughs and bommies. Keep an eye out for the huge numbers of fish that will come in close to have a good look at you and see if you can spot the local 'celebrity' fish 'Monty' and 'Tommy'.
The Matavera drop off gives a real sense of how deep the ocean around our small island really is. Anchoring in a shallow reef area full of fish life is a lovely way to begin and end your dive. Within a short swim, you will be able to see the drop off as the reef falls away underneath you, and maybe see some of the local shark population sleeping on the slopes, unconcerned by your presence.
Opening up from the pretty Avana lagoon, this site is a broad sandy passage with large coral formations and plenty of marine life. Ending in a steep drop-off, it's great for the more experienced diver too. There are several channels to explore and some deep blue water to gaze into and hope for passing sharks!.
Coral running alongside a sand area that leads into a sandy drop off. See the anchor caught between two large coral bommies at 24m. This is an ideal dive for all levels. Those qualified can experience the drop off's full splendor from a deeper perspective while shallower dives give a wide view of its curving nature. This is the perfect site to get yourself stuck into exploring and see what you can see.
The Mataora, once a Tongan registered 395hp cargo vessel, 44.25m in length and 299 gross tonnes was purchased on the 11th Dec 1990 for the massive sum of $1!! . She started her last voyage to the sea bed a couple of days later and now lies in 18m just off the reef to the north of the island. This is a great place to search out those lionfish, even the rarer oscillated variety.
This rich coral area is very similar to Paradise but with much more pronounced mushroom shaped bommies rising all around, making this a truly picturesque dive site. This is a great place to explore, and a favourite with eagle rays in season.
Explore around a natural opening in the reef with a chance of seeing eagle rays swim over the sand below.
Explore the often fast moving water of the passage with the chance of seeing sharks and turtles hanging in the current.
This dive site is only suitable for experienced divers. The passages of the south can be dangerous and this site has to be treated with caution. We will not take you diving here if the conditions are not suitable.
A stunning drop-off at the end of Avaavaroa passage. A great site to make you feel small in the deep blue! A swim out from the reef over a very steep wall allows the feeling of having a bottomless abyss below. The larger pelagics can often be seen in the distance, and whitetip reef sharks and eagle rays are common in this area.
This is another stunning passage with steep walls and bowls to explore. Again, you may need some stamina to get into the passage but the views are worth it!
Parts of this dive site are only suitable for experienced divers. The passages of the south can be dangerous in certain conditions. We will assess the dive site on any particular day to ensure it's a comfortable dive for those on the trip.
Follow Rutaki Passage down to an awesome drop-off where a school of Barracuda can often be seen hanging in the deep blue. You really feel small when you look down to what looks like the ends of the earth! Trevally, several types of tuna, and other hunters often gather at this site.
The south-west point off The Rarotongan Resort often has currents from two sides of the island. A nice reef dive for the fitter diver! This can be an exciting dive with a chance to see some of the bigger pelagic fish and sharks hunting including the occasional oceanic whitetip!
The west coast has a lot less coral than the pretty gardens of the north of the island, but still makes for interesting diving. This site boasts a huge coral bommie feature situated on the drop off, between about 22 and 30m. It's a good place for scorpionfish, stonefish, lionfish, anything that can sting you basically!!.
An interesting cavern when the conditions are right. A favourite with Spanish Dancers and other pretty coloured nudibranches. Elegant spotted eaglerays can sometimes be seen schooling around this area.
No, you won't find any skull and cross bones! This is a pretty coral garden and a good alternative to 'Paradise' when it's a bit windy out the north! Lots of the usual reef fish, turtles, the odd whitetip reef shark and napoleon wrasse on a good day..
A recent addition to our favourites list! A beautiful coral bommie laden site with some big overhangs and a sudden, eerie end of coral at 26m. This somehow must be the preferred choice for white tip reef sharks as they seem to like it here!
A slightly deeper dive of coral bommies and diverse marine life. There is a drop-off at 30m, which is great to swim out over and see what lurks below! This is the place to explore the depths and see what you can find!
Ok, so can anyone pronounce that?!? A beautifully scenic dive with lots of coral bommies creating interesting formations to swim around and explore. As the name suggest, there is also a drop-off, which makes for an interesting diversion!
Please note that selection of dive sites are always weather dependant. The prevailing wind for the majority of the year is South Easterly (Trade winds), which is obviously a controlling factor.