Cathedral Cove – Everything you need to know

You know those places that you see all over the internet, and you are never sure whether they are going to live up to the hype? Cathedral Cove is not one of those places. 

Cathedral Cove is one of those places which is equally impressive as beautiful. The unique rock formation that makes the cove, it’s a true marvel of nature. And the view you get from inside the cove to the other side – postcard perfect. 

This is one of those spots which although touristy, I do recommend you take some time to visit. I would give yourself roughly 3-4hrs to truly enjoy this spot. 

Where is it?

Cathedral Cove is located on the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Roughly a 2.5hr drive from Auckland – which makes it a great day trip! For my international friends, the roads leading into this part of New Zealand are extremely windy, so take care when driving them (even though the locals may get mad if you drive slowly). 

How to get there?

There are three ways you can access the cove; by hiking, shuttle bus or water. 

The hike starts at Hahei Beach carpark, it’s about a 5.6km return hike. The path leads you along the coastal cliffs, with impressive views along the whole way. This is way I chose to visit and the way I recommend! The hike itself isn’t too hard to complete, there are some steep sections, which will work the calve muscles. Despite this, the path is paved, and it can be completed by anyone with some sort of fitness. 

The shuttle bus is the second option. The bus leaves for the Hahei visitor centre, where there is free parking for you to leave your car. The shuttle bus operates from 9am to 6pm and will cost you $7 NZD for a return transfer. The whole bus ride takes 5-10 mins and takes you to the Cathedral Cove car park. You will then need to walk the 20min path to the beach. The shuttle will pick you up from the same spot. 

Please note that you cannot drive to the Cathedral cove car park and park. It has been closed permanently to the public. 

The third option is via water taxi or kayak. The water taxi takes about 10mins and runs pick up/drop off every 30mins. The taxi departs from Hahei Beach at the main car park. It will cost you $20 NZD per person for a return transfer. There are also kayak tours, which can be found here. 

What to do?

There isn’t much to do at Cathedral Cove expect admire the view, have some lunch, and go for a swim. If the weather if nice, I recommend doing all these things! 

If you have chosen to hike to the cove, I recommend you visit Stingray Bay and Gemstone Bay on the way there or back. Stingray Bay is a very beautiful bay, that looked protected when I went. It would be a great place to escape the crowds and go for a swim. 

Gemstone Bay is not as nice as Stingray Bay but is part of a snorkelling trail. So, if you love to snorkel this might be something to investigate! There is also a swing at the end of Hahei beach, which is a bit of fun – just be careful as I don’t know how sturdy it is.

TIPS – To make the most of your visit!

  • If you want the place all to yourself I highly recommend going early in the morning or late in the afternoon. I arrived at 8.30 just before the shuttle bus, and go the place to myself for about 30-45mins 
  • Drones are allowed to be flown on this beach, just make sure you follow guidelines 
  • Wear comfortable shoes if you choose to hike. Although the path is paved, I wouldn’t want to do it in slides or sandals 
  • Make sure you put on sunscreen and a hat – A lot of the walk is exposed and the New Zealand sun is something else 
  • Wear insect repellent – there are sandflies on the beach. 
  • Visit during low tide if possible, this way you can walk through the cove. It doesn’t matter either way, you just will have to walk through water to get to the other side of the cove. 

Click here for a detailed two week North Island itinerary!

Like this post? Pin it and share it with others!

Comments (1)

  • North Island, NZ – 2 Week Itinerary – TREKwithBECK

    17th February 2023 at 5:01 pm

    […] Today you will visit one of the most popular places in the Coromandel Peninsula, Cathedral Cove. This cove is absolutely gorgeous, and well worth visiting. The Cathedral Cove walk is very pleasant, I recommend you do this rather than take the shuttle bus. You will be rewarded with spectacular views over the coastline, although it may take you a little longer! You can read my full guide to visiting Cathedral Cove here. […]

Leave a Reply

Prev Post

Pinnacles Hut Review - New Zealand

Next Post

Hell's Gate - What an experience!

%d bloggers like this: