What to do and where to go
White sand, pohutukawa trees framing the beach, a vibrant seaside community and the gateway to Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach Hahei exemplifies the Coromandel. The village has views of nearby Mahurangi Island. North is Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve with its showcase, Cathedral Cove and its towering limestone arch. Gemstone Bay’s colourful reefs are a marine snorkelling joy with fish and crayfish.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Premier summer resort village with prime access to Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach
- Cafes, shops and galleries showcasing Coromandel Peninsula talent
- Glorious safe swimming beach and estuary
- New Zealand’s only Snorkel Trail to get visitors into the marine world.
The Snorkel trail provides a point of difference to get people into the water so they are able to experience the amazing marine life in the Te Whanganui a Hei Marine Reserve. The buoys have handles on them which snorkelers are able to hold on to which can help novice snorkelers, tourists and children feel more comfortable in the water. The information panels on the buoys give information about the marine environment.
The Lawnmower’s Son Gallery and Art Space is beautifully positioned in a historic homestead displaying local art, jewellery, sculptures in a garden setting.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
As befitting a resort village there are plenty of dining options for holiday makers from street side American burgers to craft brewery pubs to beachside cafes for brunch.
- Church Bistro is classic kiwi fare in a beach casual wine bar. There is an emphasis on sourcing local ingredients.
- For a sweet treat indulge in a beach perennial favourite ice-cream from the local speciality store where fresh fruit is folded into ice-cream as you wait.
- The Pour House is a craft brewery, pub and cafe located near to the paths leading to Cathedral Cove. It is a great place to meet and greet family and friends with an extensive garden bar and cafe.
- The Hahei Beach Cafe is, where else but beach side with banana pancakes a sure delight for brunch.
- Serial Griller’s offer Hahei an American style burger dripping with sauces and stacked high burgers takeout or to enjoy by the beach, watching the sunset. The mobile burger joint is found at Thelma the Container (Harsant Ave, Hahei, Saturday & Sunday 5pm – 8pm) or in Betty the Foodtruck in Whangamata (Monday 5pm – 8pm), Whitianga (Thursday 5pm – 8pm) and Tairua (Friday 5pm – 8pm).
- A new entrant is the Hot Water Brewing Co offering their specialty quality brews with opportunities to observe behind the scenes of the brewery. There is an attached cafe.
With two marine reserves offshore Cathedral Cove Dive and Snorkel (Hahei) offer first time divers a chance to go deep.
What to get around without the hassle, then Hahei Explorer water taxis is the answer to the issue of trudging to Cathedral Cove and beyond. A boat tour covers the highlights including Cathedral Cove, sea caves and offshore islands.
Memorial Garden has storyboards narrating the history of Hahei, of the Ngati Hei, Wigmore and Harsant families. Community volunteers are celebrated.The plaque walls and the historical wall are constructed of rough-sawn timber posts and Corten steel with stainless steel plaques attached. The Tree of Life sculptural stonewall was completed in the garden by stone mason Mark Urlich in May 2020, following the 5-week lockdown of the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With a little help from friends explore a marine trail, let’s get you sortedFind Out More PADI Dive Centre
- Cathedral Cove limestone arch
- Hot Water Beach natural low tide spa treatment
- The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust, volunteers who are guardians of the deep
BEST TIME TO VISIT
- Year round with its temperate climate
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS
- Explore the beach, the estuary and enjoy a burger watching the sunset together
- Learn to snorkel
- Sea kayaking
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE?
- The Hahei community online resource states the name of the settlement of Hahei is derived from the Māori name for Mercury Bay, Te-Whanganui-A-Hei, or “The Great Bay of Hei”. According to tradition, Hei was one of three brothers who arrived in New Zealand with Kupe.
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- Yourself snorkelling among marine life
- The coastline from your kayak, amazing views from the water
WHAT TO DO NEARBY
- Check out the 2021 -2022 Guide to top beaches and nearby Tairua for holiday ideas
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust
Te Whanganui-A-Hei became a marine reserve in 1992 and is New Zealand’s sixth marine reserve, the first for the Coromandel. With no recreational or commercial fishing allowed inside the reserve, marine plants and animals are free to return to their natural balance. Marine reserves have been hugely successful in restoring marine ecosystems, including fish stocks, in other parts of New Zealand. The reserve covers nine square kilometres and is administered by the Department of Conservation in partnership with the Te Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve Committee.
The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust was established in 2010, primarily to raise funds for the marine reserve. The Trust receives funds through grants and donations. Members of the Trust are made up of two representatives appointed by Ngati Hei, one from the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Committee and four representatives from the community. One of the main reasons for setting up the Trust was so that funds could be raised to develop the educational potential of the reserve. We are extremely pleased to be able to help with the funding needed to deliver The Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust’s programme Experiencing Marine Reserves free to local area schools. The focus of the EMR programme (www.emr.org.nz) is to provide quality education opportunities, increasing awareness, and encouraging action and support for marine conservation in New Zealand. The Trust will also raise funds for other projects within the marine reserve and Cathedral Cove. If you would like to help out, donations can be made to The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust.
A receipt will be issued.
Direct Credit to: The Friends of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve Trust Westpac – 03 1578 0095821 00