40. Sun worshipping at Cathedral Cove
When it comes to unadulterated outdoors and authentic wildlife experiences, New Zealand over delivers: here is No. 40 of our 101 Reasons To Stop Dreaming About New Zealand And Go.
The Coromandel Peninsula’s lush native forest, white-sand beaches and friendly climate make it a deservedly popular holiday destination. Cathedral Cove is its most famous attraction, not only for its grand rock-arch but the beautiful beach where you can laze around, picnic and swim. The cove is most commonly reached via an hour-long bushwalk starting at the seaside village of Hahei, which marks the southern boundary of the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve that protects this unique coastal environment. The walk takes in big ocean views as it traces a clifftop before dropping down into the secluded cove. This stretch of Coromandel coast is even more striking when viewed from the sea.
For a memorable Cathedral Cove experience, head out on a kayak or boat cruise to see other strange yet beautiful rock formations and hidden sights. Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours runs trips for all abilities, aged five years and up, and is the only kayak operator allowed to land at the cove. Get up close to the coast, enjoy close encounters with marine life, paddle through sea caves and maybe even try a bit of kayak sailing with the wind at your back. From Whitianga Harbour, close to Hahei, the Glass Bottom Boat runs daily, small-group, two-hour tours packing in the sights and stories on the return journey to Cathedral Cove. The glass bottom offers a unique window into the underwater world and the sea life that makes this marine reserve so special.