Accessible only on foot, boat or kayak, famous Cathedral Cove is one of the “must visit” sites on The Coromandel.
There are several scenic tracks on land adjacent to the reserve, including the 2hr return walk to Cathedral Cove track, which gives access to Gemstone Bay, Mares Leg and Cathedral Cove.
To find out more about the Te-Whanganui-a-Hei Marine Reserve view the Department of Conservation fact sheet.
Where is Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove is located at Hahei, just 10minutes drive from the famous Hot Water Beach. Foot access to the Cathedral Cove car park is at the western end of Hahei Beach and vehicle access is up Grange Road (turn left past shops and go all the way to end of Grange Road). It is here that you can also access Gemstone Bay and Mares Leg.
Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve, Te Whanganui- A-Hei, covers 9 square kilometres and is New Zealand’s sixth marine reserve. It is administered by the Department of Conservation.
Ngati Hei / History of Cathedral Cove
Te Whanganui-A-Hei is part of a special area first claimed by Hei, a Tauira (teacher/skilled person)
from the waka Te Arawa, some time around 1350 AD.
On a northbound voyage from the Bay of Plenty to Hauraki, Hei chose the area around Mercury Bay to settle with his people. He proclaimed ownership by referring to Motueka Island as “Te kuraetangao-taku-Ihu” (the outward curve of my nose). It is said that he made this claim near the present day site of Hahei.
Hei’s descendants still retain a strong ancestral and spiritual attachment to the area and continue their role of kaitiaki (guardians) of the bountiful resources within it.
Te Whanganui a Hei Marine Reserve
Many kiwis will be familiar with the spectacular coastal walk into Cathedral Cove, but perhaps the best way to explore the breathtaking coastline of the reserve is by kayak. Boating in and around this amazing coastline can be as simple as taking a guided scenic adventure boat tour or if you'd prefer to experience the under water world book a local guided dive tour.