The Te Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve is a popular destination in New Zealand for a very good reason. Its picturesque fringed coastline consisting of Pohutukawa-lined coves, white sandy beaches and lush rainforest-covered hills provided the breathtaking scene from the movie ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ in which the Pevensie children discovered the ruins of Cair Paravel.
A must visit location in The Coromandel, several hostel mates and I made a trip to Cathedral Cove in order to witness its beauty with our very own eyes. 😀
Te Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve
The scenic drive from Tauranga city to Te Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve via the Pacific Coast Highway route took about 3 hours. We left early in the morning and arrived safely at our destination at about 10am. There are 2 car parks for Cathedral Cove Walk access points – one at the entrance to Hahei village, the other at the end of Grange Road.
Do know that all marine life is protected at the Te Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve. Visitors are not allowed to litter, pollute, damage any natural feature, fish, harvest, remove or interfere with or damage any marine life in the reserve.
Anyone caught violating the rules are punishable by up to 3 months imprisonment or a maximum fine of NZD250,000 or both. Domestic animals, camping and fires are not permitted in the reserve too.
Cathedral Cove Walk, Coromandel
Cathedral Cove is only accessible on foot, boat or kayak and the Cathedral Cove Walk starts at the top of Grange Road. There are no rubbish bins or toilets along the track, therefore visitors are advised to dispose any rubbish and refill drinking bottles before starting the walk.
From the top car park, it takes about 45 minutes to walk from the car park to Cathedral Cove and the return journey covering a distance of approximately 2.5 kilometres takes about 1 hour 30 minutes. The walking track to Cathedral Cove is well formed and follows a moderate path. 🙂
There are plenty of spots to sit and rest along the walk, with lookout points for photo taking. The Viewing Platform offers a breathtaking view and a different perspective of Cathedral Cove from above.
Iconic Archway, Breathtaking Cliff Top & Vast Ocean Views
The views at the Te Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve and Cathedral Cove are nothing but impressive! It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I have ever laid my eyes on in the North Island of New Zealand. The journey from the car park right down to Cathedral Cove itself was pleasant and enjoyable.
Tall Kauri trees, skinny pines, fantails, ferns and delicate undergrowth lined the walk, adjacent to rolling green pastures, majestic cliff top and vast ocean views. I was even lucky enough to spot a pair of California quails (Callipepla Californica) foraging for food on the ground. 😀
At Cathedral Cove, we admired the gigantic arched cavern that cuts through a white rock headland, joining 2 secluded coves and ancient rock formations. Crystal-clear waters, a white sand beach and shady pohutukawa trees create a picture perfect scenery.
Due to time constraint, we did not visit Puriri Groove, Gemstone Bay, Stingray Bay and Mares Leg Cove. It takes about an entire day to explore the entire Te Whanganui A Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve area. After that, we visited the Hot Water Beach on Mercury Bay located nearby.
Up next: Visiting the Hot Water Beach on Mercury Bay