Former HMNZ Canterbury F421

We are lucky enough to have two of the three ex NZ Navy Leander Class frigates sunk for divers right on our door step. HMNZS Canterbury is in Deep Water Cove in the Bay of Islands and HMNZS Waikato is sunk off Ngunguru Bay.

Dived on Nitrox 32% most divers qualified with Advanced Open Water can expect to enjoy about a 35+ minute dive. If you want to go longer and deeper, you must be technically trained.

Former HMNZ Canterbury (F421) was operated by the New Zealand Navy from 1971 to 2005.  On 3rd November 2007 she was scuttled in Deep Water Cove to become an artificial reef to help encourage depleted fish stocks to increase.

Deep Water Cove become a Rahui (no take zone) and as of 2020 it was extended another 2 years. The closest place for launching is at Te Uenga Bay which is a sandy beach where Northland Dive launch their boats from, or from Rawhiti Boat ramp at the end of Rawhiti Road where there is a $10 parking fee.  Paihia is about 16km away by boat.

Deep Water Cove became an attraction for divers and freedivers from all over New Zealand, visiting the area to dive the Canterbury wreck.  Sitting on the sand at 32m at the bow and 36m at the stern, the upper deck sits between 22m and 27m, and the top of the super structure at 12m making it perfect for divers certified to 30m.  32% Enriched Air Nitrox is a popular blend to be used by scuba divers to explore the upper areas of the wreck.  

The outside of the wreck is covered with colourful encrusting life including Jewel Anemones that can be seen spawning on special trips during the winter.  Massive schools of sweep use the wreck for protection from hungry predators such as the large kingfish and snapper that can be found around and even inside the wreck.  Large crayfish can be found in holes around the wreck.  In the darker areas large schools of Big Eyes hide.  

For divers certified with a diving wreck specialty can navigate the upper levels of the wreck relatively easily.  The wreck was sunk with divers in mind and so large holes have been cut out around the wreck to allow easy access in and out by divers.

For divers who want to explore below 30m, this takes a little more planning and training.  Divers technically trained can plan and perform a penetration dive to the lower levels and explore the engine room and lowers decks.  There are areas to stow stage bottles on the outside, but be aware of other divers on and in the wreck that may take an unmarked bottle.

Surface intervals can be taken on the beach.

We run trips to dive the wreck with local charters Northland Dive and Paihia Dive.  

Lust for Rust 3D Map

Trip Requirements

  • if you haven’t been in the water for over 12 months or haven’t dived in cold water and used a 7mm suit, then book onto a refresher in our pool before the trip.  This will ensure you are comfortable in the water before we go on the trip.
  • Bring along a copy of your dive certification.
  • Note that the wreck lies in The Canterbury lies in water deeper than 18m/60ft. As such, any Open Water Divers who wish to dive the wreck must do so in conjunction with a PADI Deep Adventure Dive (which will go towards your Advaned Open Water Certification).  This will cost an additional $50.
  • If you would like to penetrate the Wreck then you will need an appropriate Wreck qualification


Your trip deposit or full payment secures your space. Any outstanding balances are due a week before departure.

Cancellations and transfers more than 24 hours from trip departure will be accepted in most cases. Cancellations within 24 hours of trip departure will incur a cancellation fees of $100.00 per person.  In the event of non attendance full payment is forfeited.

If a trip is cancelled by us due to weather or for safety reasons, a full refund or store credit will be given. Trip pricing does not include transport. You will need to make your own way to the vessel departure point in Paihia.

Opening Hours | Mon-Fri 8.30-5.00pm  | Saturday 8.30 – 1pm | Sundays Closed

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