New Zealand has so much to offer for nature lovers! It can be difficult to choose which part to visit when planning a trip around the antipodes.
One of the things you can’t miss when visiting the North island in New Zealand is Cathedral Cove, in the Coromandel peninsula. After visiting I can completely say it’s worth all the hype!
How to get to Cathedral Cove?
When travelling to this side of the Coromandel peninsula, you’ll likely end up staying in or driving through Whitianga. From Whitianga there are different ways to get to the cove: drive, bus or private tours. Here’s the detail on how to get there in your preferred transport:
Drive to Cathedral Cove
This is definitely the most flexible option, as you won’t depend on any schedules. You drive from Whitianga to Hahei and leave the car in the city’s car park. From there, walk around 1 hour to get to the cave, or you can jump on the park&ride shuttle (leaving from the city car park) taking you to Cathedral Cove’s drop off. You will notice a car park at the drop off point, though this is only for buses & tours. Here’s a map of the walking route you follow from the drop off to the cave, taking around 25-45 mins dependant on fitness level. There are both uphill parts and a series of steps to ascend. If you’re looking for a wheelchair or accessible view point, you can follow a slope path from the drop off.
Get to Cathedral Cove by bus
I opted for this one, as it gave the best options for me: flexibility & budget. I travelled from Auckland and stayed at Whitianga as this is the closest town to the Cove with public transport. You catch a local ferry to go across the other side of the bay (Ferry Landing), you’ll then catch the Go Kiwi hop on/off bus that will take you to Cathedral Cove’s drop off (where the 30min trek to the cove starts). Easy, right?! You can book the bus tickets at the i-Site in Whitianga (tourist information center) and incorporate it in with other stop off’s. Here are the bus timetables & prices. The ferry is an additional $7/£3.70pp for a return ticket:
Cathedral Cove by boat and kayak tours
These options are without a doubt the most popular. It’s pretty cool to aproach the cove from the sea in either a boat or a kayak. This though, of course, comes with a price. Here are the tours we heard are the best:
Cathedral Cove water taxi: the best option for those who like adventure without the trek factor. A speed boat takes you from Hahei beach to the cove and back, you will be viewing the cove from the water, not on land. Check and book your seats here. Cost: $15NZ/£8 pp, each way.
Cathedral cove kayak tours: if you’re an active adventurer, you can jump in a kayak and paddle your way to the bay. Not only do you get to land and walk along the cove, you’ll be seeing lots of small islands and maybe even marine wildlife on the way! Book your kayak here. Cost: from $115NZD/£61 pp.
Cathedral Cove by private tours:
Private tours can be arranged either at your accomodation or at the i-Site (tourist information center) upon arrival in Whitianga or in Hahei. A word of caution, this is the most expensive option. To me, a private tour seemed a waste of money when you can do it yourself. Though if you’d like a guide, or perhaps there are a large group of you, this may be the option you want to go for.
There’s lots more to see on this side of the Coromandel peninsula. The best part is that you can do a lot of it in one day! After Catheral Cove I dug my hole at the Hot Water Beach and walked along the stunning Shakespeare Cliff by Lonely Bay. All by the way have free entry… even better!
I hope you enjoy the cove as much as I did! If you have any other questions, send me a message either in the comments below or via whatsapp and I’ll help you out.