Hiking to Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove is known to be the most beautiful and photographed beaches in all of New Zealand. No visit to the Northern Island would be complete without a stop here. I should probably start off by saying that this particular post is mainly about the hike (not the cove). Once we got to the cove, we spent a couple of hours on the beach. We therefore have hundreds of photos, and have decided to split this particular adventure into two parts. In our next post, we will show you some of the fun that we had down in the cove and on the beach.
Cathedral Cove is an isolated beach on the Coromandel Peninsula in the small coastal town of Hahei. Since this is one of the most beautiful places in all of New Zealand, we were told to expect some crowds. We were, however, pleasantly surprised by how little people was saw along the way. The hike down to the beach is about 2.5 km and should only take about 35 mins, but it took us longer since we stop to admire every second tree.
You start along the ridge with unreal views of the ocean and the countless islands jutting out of the sea. You then dip into the forest and eventually take some stairs down onto the sand. We read a few recommendations to wear shoes, instead of sandals, but it was HOT, and we just did fine with open toe sandals. Take some snacks, water, and A CAMERA. If you leave anything in the car, it’s a steep uphill walk to get back – so make sure that you have everything before you set off towards Cathedral Cove.
A walking track gives access to Gemstone Bay, Stingray Bay and the beautiful sandy beaches at Cathedral Cove separated by a rock arch. Although this track is well-laid and maintained, there are some hill slopes. Nothing, however, that we couldn’t handle with a sleeping toddler strapped to Justin.
I absolutely fell in love with fern leaves on this New Zealand adventure.
I believe that it was on this walk that my Fern-leaf obsession began!
WW1 Memorial Forest groves have recently been established around The Coromandel. They commemorate the New Zealand soldiers killed in the Great War 100 years ago.
The eight WW1 Memorial Forest sites pay tribute to the NZ soldiers who fell in a particular battle or to the men from a particular Coromandel town who were killed by planting an equal number of trees to men who never came back from the Great War.
Except for some birds, we didn’t see much wild life along the walk. What a pity!
Next Up: Our 45-minute walk took us to the gorgeous Cathedral Cove. We explored the cave, and then found a quiet spot on one of the beach. There weren’t that many people on the beach, and it sort of felt like we were on an island. Well…. I guess New Zealand sort of counts as an island, haha.
At the end of Grange Road at Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula.
Turn left just past the Hahei shops (signposted to Cathedral Cove) and take that road until it ends. There is a small parking lot and, depending on the time of the year (we were there during peak season), you might have to wait for someone to leave to pull into their spot. We circled the lot for 20 minutes and stalked people walking to their cars, until we got lucky.