A lot of people view New Zealand as Paradise on Earth.
There are an incredible amount of beautiful places in New Zealand, some better known than others.
But, I am here to tell you that the Coromandel is the most beautiful place in this Paradise called New Zealand.
And, Cathedral Cove is the most breathtaking spot in all of the Coromandel!
Fact: My husband agrees, so it must be true!
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If you are planning a trip to New Zealand, now or in the future, do yourself a favour: Make sure you spend some time in the Coromandel!!!
The Coromandel is a Peninsula on the North Island of New Zealand.
It is about a two-hour drive east of Auckland on the Pacific Coast Highway.
Top Tip: The Coromandel is also the name of a town on the Peninsula. But, when people talk about the Coromandel, they usually mean the whole Peninsula, rather than just the town (which, honestly, doesn’t have that much to offer).
Access to Cathedral Cove
The beautiful Cathedral Cove is located on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula and is only accessible on foot or by boat. The walk is a relatively easy, scenic track that will take you about 2 hours return.
Alternatively, you can access this must-visit spot by boat from Whitianga or kayak from Hahei. There are multiple guided trips that will take you there.
I highly recommend going on foot.
This allows you to spend as much time as you like at Cathedral Cove, as well as soaking in the spectacular views along the coastal walk. The track also provides access to Gemstone Bay and Mares Leg Cove if you fancy a detour or two.
Top Tip: Bring your swimming gear and a picnic and I promise you’ll be happy to while away the whole day here!
The track to Cathedral Cove is accessible from the top of Grange Road (turn left off Hahei Beach Road just past a small collection of shops on your left).
Be aware that this car park gets very busy at peak times and parking there might be difficult. Because of this, the car park is actually closed during the summer months. However, there is a Park and Ride service available for a small fee from the Hahei visitors car park, with a shuttle dropping you off at the top of Grange Road.
Alternatively, you can park down at the beach and walk from there. Starting at the north end of the beach, this adds another 20 minutes or so to your walk each way, but is definitely worth it in my opinion.
At the top of the Coromandel Cathedral Cove walk, a wooden walkway and viewing platform give you panoramic views and is a great spot for a few photos before you continue on. The track leading down to Cathedral Cove has been sealed in recent years and is (like most areas in New Zealand) well managed by the Department of Conservation (DOC).
Unsurprisingly, Cathedral Cove does get busy in summer and autumn, but don’t let this deter you. If you’re an early riser you might be able to beat the crowds but either way you’ll be able to secure a spot on the beach without too much trouble.
Weather conditions can change quickly! This is true for all of New Zealand, where they famously experience “four seasons in one day”.
Ensure you bring;
- Plenty of water (walking is thirsty work!)
- Food (there are some shops and cafes in Hahei where you can stock up!)
- Swimwear and a towel (you wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity for a swim down at the beach. Be aware of strong currents though!)
- Sunscreen (you burn quickly in New Zealand – make sure you cover up and apply plenty of sunscreen!)
- Poncho (for those instances where it suddenly starts bucketing down!!)
- Dry bag for your valuables
Stay A While
A lot of people visit the Coromandel on a day-trip from Auckland but I highly recommend that you stay a night or two in Hahei.
While Hahei is admittedly a really tiny town, it has a beautiful beach, a couple of yummy cafés, provides easy access to Cathedral Cove and other spots you might like to visit, including Hot Water Beach and Waiau Kauri Grove.
We stayed in the ideally located Beachfront Hideaway (booked via Air BnB – sign up here for a €30 discount off your first stay!)
The direct views down to Hahei beach from the patio are stunning, and is the perfect spot for a BBQ and a glass of wine!
Bonus: The apartment gives you direct access to the beach-end of the Cathedral Cove walking track so no need to worry about parking!
Have you been to the Coromandel, or better yet, Cathedral Cove? Do you agree with me? I’d love to hear your take on this stunning spot in New Zealand!