Planning your New Zealand itinerary? You absolutely gotta put Cathedral Cove on your North Island ‘to-do’ list. I recently visited this incredible place with my tour group, making our way through New Zealand over 24 days with Haka Tours. It was a completely unexpected spot and somewhere I’d never heard of. Turns out, it’s pretty famous, with part of The Chronicles of Narnia being filmed here, (watch it here).
This amazing, must-visit place is located in Hahei, Waikato, in New Zealand’s gorgeous North Island. If you’re in Auckland, it’ll take you around 2 1/2 hours to drive there. When you arrive, you’ll find yourself in the gorgeous Coromandel. There are a lot of really picturesque places here to visit, but Cathedral Cove needs to be on your list.
After you park your car or camper, you can take a 30 minute or so walk to Cathedral Cove. You’ll definitely need some comfortable shoes, water and sunscreen as well as a hat, towel and swimmers, if you fancy going in for a dip. The walk itself will you take past dramatic scenery, huge rock formations jutting out from the ocean, bright blue water with sunlight bouncing off it and huge trees. Before you know it, you arrive in paradise!
Walking onto the beach you’ll be treated with perfect golden sand and clear water lapping up gently onto the shore. There’s a small waterfall to your right and, to your left, a huge rock formation you can walk under to get to the other side. If you’re feeling brave, you can climb the stairs to the top of this rock, scurry down to the end and jump off the cliff. (You should only do this if the tide is high, you’re a strong and proficient swimmer, you’ve done it before and there are other people around to watch/help you if needed).
It’s a great spot to sit for a few hours with a picnic lunch, enjoy the sunset or sunrise or just spend a day swimming, relaxing and soaking it all in. Locals will tell you one of the best ways to explore this, and other gorgeous parts of the coastline, is by jumping into a kayak. You can paddle along the water, scouring the coastline for good spots and jumping out when the mood strikes.
I loved coming here with our tour group. We managed to arrive, hike down and spend some time, then get back to the car, all before the rain hit. It was completely unexpected and from the moment I stepped onto the first lookout spot, I couldn’t stop snapping photos. I’d definitely recommend taking your camera with you and a GoPro or drone too, if you have one!
The walk to Cathedral Cove can be a bit tiring in spots, with a few steep climbs and stairs, but it’s nothing strenuous and the reward is 100% worth it! Besides, it’s a good way to work off all that good New Zealand food and wine you’ve been having.
I’d probably recommend you spend a couple of hours here, about 1 – 2 will do but you can easily stay longer if you like. We built piles of rocks into little statues, a few people jumped off the cliffs and swam while others just sat on the beach and chilled out. It was a beautiful spot to visit and I got so many photos I just love! I really can’t recommend this spot enough, so be sure to work it into your itinerary.
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger who believes life should be full of fun and adventure. Phoebe shares practical inspiration to help others enrich their lives through travel. Her fun Vlogs, useful travel guides and beautiful photographs are all aimed at inspiring others to live a life they love and never settle for less.