Access Update
Safety Information
  • Stay away from the cliffs - there is a risk of landslide or rockfall
  • Do not stand in or walk under the cove’s arch
  • Stay off the tracks in the area and access the cove by water only
Before you go
  • Access is via a local boat, kayak or water taxi only
  • There are no toilets on the beach
  • Take food and water, and carry out all your rubbish - no shops or bins down here!

The Worlds 50 Best Beaches 2024Located on the edge of the great Mercury Bay, close to the village of Hahei, famous Cathedral Cove is one of the “must visit” places in The Coromandel and Aotearoa New Zealand and voted 46th in The World's 50 Best Beaches 2024

To feel the magic of this place and to discover the secrets of the volcanic coastline from which it is formed, jump on a local boat or in a kayak and approach the majestic cove from the water

Where is Cathedral Cove?

The famous bay is located in Hahei, just 10 minutes' drive from the famous Hot Water Beach

Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve, Te Whanganui o Hei, covers 9 square kilometres and is New Zealand’s sixth marine reserve. It is protected by the Department of Conservation and is the sole access point to Cathedral Cove.

Ngāti Hei / History of Cathedral Cove

Te Whanganui o Hei is part of a special area first claimed by Hei, an esteemed spiritual tauira (authority), who sailed to Aotearoa on the waka Te Arawa, sometime 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, Ngāti Hei. 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 town of Hahei.

Hei’s descendants, tangata whenua, have strong ancestral and spiritual attachments to the area and continue their role of kaitiaki (guardians) of the bountiful resources within it.

Te Whanganui o Hei Marine Reserve

Many Kiwis will be familiar with the spectacular coastal walk into Cathedral Cove which is closed for now, however the best way to explore the breathtaking coastline of the reserve is by vessel. Boating or kayaking in and around this amazing coastline can be as simple as taking a guided scenic adventure boat or kayak tour or if you'd prefer to experience the underwater world, book a locally guided dive tour.

When to Visit Cathedral Cove

To make the most of your visit it is recommended that you go on a tour that will take you to dramatic scenery along the Pacific Coastline (including the impressive Orua Sea Cave, Champagne Rocks, Wai Ora Ana Blow Hole).

Boat Tours operate from the Whitianga Wharf and Ferry Landing. You can also do a 1-hour boat tour or 3-hour kayak tour from Hahei Beach. Tours offer an immersive insight into the history and fascinating geology.

For those wanting transport only with a beach drop off, Cathedral Cove Water Taxi can provide return transport from Hahei Beach to Cathedral Cove Beach allowing an hour stop over at Cathedral Cove.

Safety Information

Visitors can access the beach from the adjacent Te Whanganui A Hei Marine Reserve – but please inform yourselves of and understand the risk of injury from falling debris and landslides.

Visitors who are not comfortable with the risks at the site should consider not going. For further safety updates please refer to the DOC site