Cathedral Cove—with its stunning and distinctive beach, caves, and rock formations—is the source of some of the most famous images of New Zealand. The beach, which is located on the eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, boasts white sand, clear waters, and great views. Visit to enjoy activities like kayaking and boating.
The Coromandel Peninsula juts out of the eastern coast of the upper North Island. There are a number of pretty beaches on the peninsula, and Cathedral Cove is one of the most popular. Come here to just relax and have a swim, or get a bit more active and join a kayaking or snorkeling tour.
Many travelers like to visit the beach as part of a kayak or boat tour from Hahei or Whitianga. You can also book a full-day trip to the area from Auckland; some tours also stop at nearby Hot Water Beach.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring plenty of water and snacks with you, especially if you’re hiking to the beach; there are no facilities at the beach itself.
- Accommodation is available at the nearby village of Hahei.
- Wheelchair users should take a boat tour to Cathedral Cove; the walking trail leading to the beach isn’t wheelchair friendly.
How to Get There
Cathedral Cove is part of Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve, just a couple minutes’ drive northeast of the village of Hahei and about a 2.5-hours’ drive from Auckland. If driving to the beach, you can park at the Cathedral Cove parking lot and follow a well-maintained walking track down to the sand. During the busy summer season, you can also take a shuttle bus from the Hahei parking lot to the start of the path. Alternatively, access the beach from the water on a boat tour.
When to Get There
Cathedral Cove is one of the most popular beaches in New Zealand. To avoid the worst of the crowds, visit during the week rather than on the weekend. The beach is especially busy during New Zealand’s schools’ summer holidays (late-December to late-January). If you visit in winter, you might not be able to enjoy the water, but you’ll avoid the crowds.
Visit Hot Water Beach
A short drive from Cathedral Cove is another of the Coromandel’s most famous and popular beaches: Hot Water Beach. If you visit, time your stop to the low tide, and bring a shovel; if you dig a hole in the sand, you’ll find warm water that bubbles up from underground hot springs. Visitors often make themselves an open-air bath next to the sea, especially on cool days.