Cathedral Cove Beach
New Zealand is full of spectacular scenery, and the Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve in the Coromandel Peninsular is no exception. White rock cliffs, a large pumice island, and a naturally formed archway joining Cathedral Cove Beach to Mares Leg Cove give this beach a distinct look.
The headland here was once the site of a fortified Maori village ruled over by chief Hei. The area is known in the Maori language as Te Whanganui a Hei. Descendants of these people, the Ngati Hei continue their connection to this special place.
Cathedral Cove is only accessible by boat, or on foot through the Cathedral Cove Walking Track. The hiking trail runs from Hahei Beach through coastal scrub and pine forests, with access to Gemstone and Stingray Bays along the way. The return walk takes around 2 hours and is a little hilly, but you are rewarded for your efforts with headland vistas over the water. Wear comfortable walking shoes and take food and water for an oceanfront picnic. Amenities are provided at Cathedral Cove Beach.
Kayak to Cathedral Cove from Hahei Beach through offshore sea caves and over colorful rock gardens, encountering the local wildlife. The sunrise and sunset kayaking tours are an opportunity to enjoy the breathtaking colors on the water. There are full day tours for travelers wanting to explore further. Many of these tours provide refreshments or lunch and can be booked from Coromandel Town.
The underwater boulders and rock pinnacles around Cathedral Cove are a haven for fish and molluscs, and since the site is protected from winds, it’s the perfect spot for a snorkel. The whole marine reserve is popular with snorkelers and divers. A snorkel trail runs through stingray habitat at Gemstone Bay. Take a dive tour departing from Hahei Beach out to the deep waters and pinnacle rocks where you can swim amongst huge fish and explore the reefs.