26 May 2014

Going For A Walk: Cathedral Cove {Or Beware Of The Falling Rock}

On our little road trip, we headed over to the Coromandel Peninsula and did the Cathedral Cove walk. It is a popular one with tourists - around 150,000 visitors visit each year. Cathedral Cove is located in the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve and some folks visit to enjoy the great snorkeling spots in the bays along the walk. Other folks visit to see the spot that was featured in one of the Narnia movies. The rest of us come to enjoy the beach, walk through the famous Cathedral Cove arch and check out the rock formations. It is a relatively easy walk which only takes a couple of hours return from Hahei Beach. After our big walk in Tongariro the day before, it was a welcome relief.

We started out our walk from Hahei beach. We stayed in a cabin at Hahei Holiday Park, which is right on the beach so it was a hop, skip and a jump through the dunes and down to the water. Hahei has a really nice, white sandy beach that is sheltered by Mahurangi Island. The permanent population is around 300, but at peak holiday times, multiply that by a gazillion and it can get really crowded. When we were there this time, there weren't a lot of people around and it was oh, so peaceful.

I love seeing all the tractors on the beach. A lot of folks have a tractor at their holiday house which they use to haul their boats in and out of the water. These guys use their tractor to tow kayaks for the tourists down to the beach.

At the end of Hahei beach, you'll see a sign leading up stairs to the pathway to Cathedral Cove.

Along the way, there are some great views including this one out to Stingray Bay.

I love these ladies' hats - not only are they looking stylish on their walk, but they're also good protection from the harsh New Zealand sun. This bench is a good spot to catch your breath and have a look at the offshore islands.

There is a side loop through a puriri grove that you can take. I love the giant boulders interspersed between the trees. If it is hot out, the grove is a good place to get out of the sun and cool down.

Part of the walk goes through a pine forest with an understorey of native shrubs. There are also some friendly cows in the pasture nearby that you can say hi to.
After wandering through the pine forest, you head down the stairs to the Cathedral Cover beach. And this is what everyone comes on this walk for - the famous arch separating the two beaches at Cathedral Cove.
Just before you start to head through the arch, have a look at this sign. Yes, serious injury or death is a possibility as rocks break off and fall down from time to time. But, heck what are the chances this would actually happen to you. It's worth it - come on through.

See, it was totally worth it! You can see Te Hoho through the arch. I think it used to be part of cave once upon time. But time, erosion and rocks falling off have caused it to stand all on its lonesome now.

You need to time your visit with the tides. We got there just in time and were able to walk through the arch to the other side without getting wet.

And one final shot of our walk to Cathedral Cove. Just lovely!

Walk took place on Wednesday, 9 April 2014

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