Wellington Harbour Home South Coast
Same town, different diving. Here, the rocky coastline has changed from low reefs to high, rugged cliffs. There are still sandy or gravel beach entries, but the headlands tend to limit the entry points available by car. Generally, shore diving is to a maximum of about 12 - 15m with deeper dives available by boat on reefs further out. Boat divers also have access to Kapiti and Mana Islands, and the marine reserves on either side of Kapiti Island.
The currents on this coast subtly change the marine growths and fish-life. For instance, the bottom suits sting-rays which can often be seen resting on a sandy bottom between rocky walls. Tides are approximately opposite of conditions in Wellington Harbour. That is, at high tide in Wellington harbour, it is near low tide on the North Coast.
Depth: Shallow diving.
The better diving in Titahi Bay is around the corner on the northern side of the bay along a rock wall. Driving from Wellington, turn off the motorway at the Porirua exit and go straight ahead at the K Mart roundabout. Follow Titahi Bay Road around the edge of Porirua Harbour. The road bends left into Titahi Bay and becomes Main Road. Follow it to a 'T' intersection at Bay Drive, turn left, and Titahi Bay is at the bottom of the hill.
Swimmers park either on the beach or at the parking area near the bottom of the hill. Divers should turn right at the bottom of the hill into Richard St, next left into John St, next left into Lambley Rd, and park on the corner of Vella St. which follows around the sea wall. You can drive further, but there is no public parking on this narrow access way. You may wish to drop your equipment at the end of Vella St. before returning to the car park.
From the shore many concrete boat launching ramps offer very sedate entry and exit opportunities. The area seems to be popular for fishing off the rocks, so be aware of any lines in the water. The bottom is flat and sandy, schools of fish hang around the rocks and this is a nice, shallow, low stress dive.
Depth: To 12m (40 ft) in the bay.
Visibility: Clear in southerly conditions.
From Bay Drive at Titahi Bay beach, turn right into Richard St, next left into John St, right into Lambley Rd, then left into Terrace Rd. Park on the grass to the right overlooking Rocky Bay.
The parking area is high up, looking down on the bay. It offers a good opportunity to assess conditions here, or to consider diving at Whitireia Point if shelter from westerly swells is required. When the tide is out the rocky nature of the bay can be clearly seen.
Entry and exit points are immediately in front of the car park down a grassy bank and across a rocky scramble. The bay is sheltered from the south, but is exposed to any westerly swells which might stir up the bottom. There are no current flows within the bay.
The visibility is good in southerly conditions, but is low during, or in the next few days following northerlies. With a 10 knot westerly wind and a choppy surface, I recorded that it was clear below with 3 - 5m visibility. (That was my seventh dive, and I had seen a lot of silt by then. Everything is relative!)
My log shows I saw half an anchor, two large crabs, and a stingray. A great buzz.
Depth: 9-12m in bay
Visibility: Clear in southerlies, 5 - 6m.
Whitireia Point is the northern-most tip of Titahi Bay peninsula. Approaching Titahi Bay along Main Road, turn right at the 'T' intersection with Bay Drive, then turn left and follow Thornley St. straight ahead into Whitireia Park. At the top of the hill turn left and follow the road around the summit, past the radio masts. Drive down the hill and at the bottom turn sharp left and follow the road around the bays to the parking area at the end.
Whitireia Point extends into the Porirua Harbour entrance channel. All the bays along this road are protected from southerlies by the high cliffs, and the point provides protection from westerly swells. Commonly, the next bay around the point to the west has better visibility as it is less affected by silt outflow from Porirua harbour.
The idle or unfit can find reasonable entry/exit points immediately beside the car park. A nice clean entry point involves a minutes walk west across the rocks to a rock bench entry point - slide in and go. The best entry is another minute west over the rocks and is a deep pool ideal for giant stride or forward roll entries. The pool is sheltered, large, and interesting in itself. Another alternate entry point can be found by walking up the hill track through the cutting into the west bay and choosing any of the rocky gut's as an entry point. I have commonly entered at the rock pool (with suitable style and flair - big splash), exited in the west bay, and walked back over the pass.
Underwater, there are a lot of rocky channels with sandy bottoms - stingray country. If you meet one, get down low so it can escape over you. Don't provoke it or chance getting poked by it's tail barb - enjoy the meeting. Remember they can't back up, they have to go forward, so if one approaches you, drop down to give it room to manoeuvre. I find them beautiful to watch as they glide along.
Wellington Harbour Home South Coast