Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve

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Cathedral Cove

Accessible only on foot, by boat or kayak, famous Cathedral Cove is one of the “must visit” sites on The Coromandel.

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.

This site was chosen for a marine reserve because of the rich and varied habitats associated with the coastline and outlying islands.

Reefs of hard rock, soft sediments, intricate caves and underwater arches provide homes for complex communities of plants, crustaceans, molluscs and fish. Sheltered from the worst of the southerly winds Te Whanganui-a-Hei gives visitors an opportunity to learn from and enjoy an unspoilt marine environment.

Kayaking within the 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.

The picturesque limestone cliffs, superb volcanic coastline, clear water and abundant marine life of Hahei’s marine reserve blend to create New Zealand’s best kayaking trip.

Along the way your guides will take you kayaking through limestone archways, into sea caves and will even serve up a café quality cappuchino for you on the beach!

The area is rich in stories from the many navigators who first discovered Mercury Bay, like Cook, Kupe and Hei after whom the marine reserve is named.

Scenic Adventure Tour

Boating in and around this amazing coastline can be as simple as taking a guided scenic adventure boat tour on the Hahei Explorer. Referred to by many as a photographers dream, this one hour highlights tour departs daily from Hahei beach.

Cathedral Cove Walk

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 and Stingray Bays, Mares Leg and Cathedral Coves. Pedestrian 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).

For further information on the Cathedral Cove Walk refer to the feature listing or to find out more about the Marine Reserve check out the DOC fact sheet.

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