The stuff of postcards and tourism New Zealand posters, Cathedral Cove is exquisite. The beach is framed with pohutukawa trees providing shade and red Christmas flowers in spring. The gigantic natural rock arch with its white sand floor offers visitors a photo moment. Cathedral Cove is at one corner of Mercury Bay and Hahei is a short 8 minutes walk to the start of the Cathedral Cove walking tracks.
TIP: Best time to visit for photographers
Sunset and sunrise in early spring or late autumn after the summer crowds have dropped.
Hahei is the access point for the walking track.
Cathedral Cove car parks have park and ride service to cater for the large volume of visitors wishing to walk the track to the beach. The 1 ½ hour walking track follows the cliff face before a relatively steep descent to the beach. Access to the beach is via the walking track, boat or kayak.
Cathedral Cove Park and Ride is available from the Hahei Visitor car park. The carpark is signposted as you enter Hahei. There is a fee for the shuttle. Parking is free. The start of the walking track is approximately 5 – 10 minutes additional walking time from the carpark. Visitors can alternatively walk from the north end of Hahei Beach to Cathedral Cove. This adds another 25 minutes to the walk and climbs up from Hahei Beach joining up with Cathedral Cove walking track.
TIP: A boat trip gives visitors the opportunity to soak up the dramatic coastal scenery including the stunning Orua Sea Cave, Champagne Rocks and Wai Ora Ana Blow Hole. For visitors wishing to explore the beach ask about tours that include a drop off and pick up option. Boat Tours, exploring Mercury Bay operate from the Whitianga Wharf and Ferry Landing. Hahei beach is a great choice for a kayak tour with tour operators busy from October through to March.
TIP: Boat or kayak tours provide an opportunity to view marine wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seals and penguins.
- No toilets
- No lifeguards
NOTE: From Cathedral Cove the lesser known beaches of Gemstone and Stingray Bay can be accessed on walking tracks.
Getting there from Hahei Beach by Cathedral Cove Water Taxi
DIVING AND SNORKELLING
Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve, Te Whanganui o Hei, covers 9 square kilometres. Check Department of Conservation resources for diving and snorkelling tips and regulations. Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve: Places to go in Coromandel