Cathedral Cove Walk, Hahei - A New Zealand must do!
For me a New Zealand summer doesn’t feel complete without a visit to Cathedral Cove. This gem of a spot is located in Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula.
My most recent trip here was just a few weeks ago in early October and I must say, it was a pretty perfect time to visit! If the Spring weather behaves and you score yourself a gorgeous day like I did then you’re in for a treat. October is outside of school holidays and Uni holidays so it’s not crazy busy. The main people you will bump into at this time of year are either other tourists or the locals.
You’ll begin your day by parking at Cathedral Cove park and ride. It’s pretty easy to spot, it’ll be on your right hand side before you get to the Hahei shops. There used to be selected parking up the top of Cathedral Cove, which you could score if you got there early but this has now been closed off from October until the end of April each year to make way for the shuttles that run. They run every 20 minutes so you aren’t left standing around which is good and at $5 return per person it’s pretty reasonable. Theres a ticket machine where you can pay by card or give cash to the driver or if you’re super organised you can book and pay online at www.go-kiwi.co.nz. If I were you, I’d take the shuttle. Trust me you don’t really want to have to walk all the way up the hill just to get to the start of the track…
The shuttle drops you right at the track entrance and the views you get from here blow me away every time. It is so beautiful looking over Hahei and the rest of the coromandel coast. It’s these views which keep me coming back again and again.
The walk itself is actually pretty easy. They’ve recently paved it which makes the journey so much faster! Probably still not suitable for prams though as there are a few stairs once you reach the end. It’s classified as an easy walking track and takes about an hour and a half return. About 15 minutes into the walk you’ll come across Stingray Bay, one of my all time favourite spots! A lot of people just carry on walking and miss this hidden gem but it is well worth stopping by and because so many people miss it, it’s pretty quiet. I’ve never swam here because as the name suggests, there can be a lot of stingrays here! But I’m pretty happy just walking along the sand, putting my feet in the water and taking in the gorgeous turquoise blue shades of the ocean.
You’'ll get pretty amazing views of the coast as you continue along to Cathedral Cove, it’s a very scenic walk with plenty of photo ops. Before you know it you’ll have reached the stairs with will take you down to the beach at Cathedral Cove. By the time to get down to the water you’ll probably be ready for a swim, especially if you’re here in the middle of summer! It was too cold for me to swim, I usually don’t go anywhere near the water until after Christmas but there were some people splashing around in the waves. The ocean here is quiet calm, at least on the days i’ve been here. It’s definitely not a surfing destination but it’s not dead flat either.
To snap a famous pic of the cove with minimal people in it you’ll want to aim to get here early. By the time we got down to the cove it was about 11am and within half an hour of us being there, it got so much busier! I still managed to get some snaps with no people in it but fast forward to November or December this would be a lot more difficult.
It’s easy to spend half a day here, enjoying the sunshine and taking a dip in the gorgeous ocean before mustering the energy to walk back to the carpark. Luckily once you reach the top the shuttle won’t be far away to take you back to your car. Be sure to stop for an icecream in Hahei before heading back! And if you feel like another swim to cool off, Hahei is absolutely stunning and well worth a visit while you’re in the area.
After visiting this part of the North Island there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll come to realise why I love this place so much!