Cathedral Cove {Coromandel Peninsula}

Cathedral Cove {Coromandel Peninsula}

Cathedral Cove

Going to Cathedral Cove is a must-do if you find yourself on New Zealand’s north island.

The Cathedral Cove hike is a well-known gem that is worth the hype. But as with all things well-known and beautiful, you have to get there early to beat the crowds. By the time we left, it was hard to find a spot on the sand that wasn’t full of people. I am sure that by early afternoon, the beach is completely overrun with people. We started walking in around 9:30 and looking back, I wish we had skipped breakfast and just got there around sunrise.

Cathedral Cove Coromandel Peninsula
Sea stacks, I just can’t get enough of them! Te Hoho Rock is one of the biggest sea stacks I have ever seen!

The cove is only accessible by foot, boat, or kayak. Since I don’t love boats and have little desire to pay someone to ferry me a very short distance in a boat full of other people, we walked in.

The walk from the visitor parking adds in a large hill to the bluff where the trail starts, but it is worth not being on someone else’s time table and not being crammed in a bus full of people. The additional 1.5 km each way isn’t much, so just park and start walking – don’t wait for the bus. Also, there are a few nice restaurants on the way, so you can grab lunch or dinner on your way back to the car.

Once you get to the Cathedral Cove viewing deck on the top of the bluff, head left (north) down the trail.

There are offshoots to visit Stingray Beach and Gemstone Bay – save those for the way back. They are worth a visit but are much less crowded.

Head directly to Cathedral Cove.

When you land on the beach, your jaw will drop and, if you are like me, frolicking will commence.

To the left and through the tunnel is Te Hoho Rock and to the right is the Smiling Sphinx Rock.

The sand is inviting, white, and soft. Bring a picnic lunch, a frisbee, snorkel gear, and whatever else you like to have for beach adventures. Come at low tide and maybe stay for high tide, it is worth lingering here – even with all the people.

Cathedral Cove Coromandel Peninsula
Postcard-perfect views! Te Hoho Rock is absolutely huge – perhaps the biggest sea stack I have ever seen.
Smiling Spinx Rock Cathedral Cove
Smiling Spinx Rock at low tide.
Sting Ray Beach Coromandel Peninsula
The white craggy cliffs of Stingray Beach are worth exploring.

Make sure to stop in at Stingray Beach on your way back. It is a short jaunt to a beautiful cove. Gemstone bay is a rocky bay that is listed as a great place for snorkelling. If you don’t love snorkelling or rock hopping, skip Gemstone. But if you are curious like me, stop in because you never know when you’ll be back!

The Cathedral Cove hike is truly stunning and a must-do.

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