Sunday 14 April 2013

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove is another very popular tourist attraction we decided to visit. The signpost said a 45minute walk to the cove but it’s very deceptive when you look at it from the viewing platform by the car park. It looks like it’s just a few hundred metres away and I’m sure some of the people we saw making their way there thought the same too. A couple of women were in high heels, a few wore stockings on an extremely humid & hot late summer's day, some carried their handbags like they were going shopping & then there were some very elderly people with walking sticks.

In fact it’s two & half kilometres of pretty strenuous  walking, up & down and over some very uneven ground in places even though it’s a well marked & worn track. The climb up the very steep stairway out of the cove on the return leg is a real killer.

Was it worth it? Well we decided we liked seeing it better with a wine in hand while lunching on the deck of the boat safely anchored in the lee of the famous archway for the afternoon, much less of an ordeal! J Actually it wasn’t that bad & it was great to see it from the beach & walk through the huge cavern but it would have been nicer if the sky had been blue for me but then again, that would have meant a very hot walk back to the car.

The above shot may look familiar, some of the scenes for The Chronicles Of Narnia - Prince Caspian Movie were shot inside the archway.

Cathedral Cove's famous sea stack, Te Hoho, crowned with Pohutukawa trees, stands strong despite the endless erosion of the Pacific Ocean. The eight million year old ignimbrite rock is made of white pumice and volcanic ash.

We also visited Cooks Beach, another large crescent of white sand with a good number of baches & holiday homes five & six deep lining the beach, another very popular holiday spot. 
Cooks Beach & Lonely Bay
Next stop was the lookout at Shakespeare Cliff which gave a panoramic view right around Mercury Bay, from Whitianga’s Buffalo Beach in the west to Hahei in the east and all the islands in between & further afield. Straight across the water was Simpsons Beach where we were staying a couple of nights ago.

Centre back- Buffalo Beach, Whitianga
Centre Left- Flaxmill Bay

Simpsons Beach, the pines we stayed under to the right

Shakespeare Cliff & Flaxmill Bay
Then it was down past Flaxmill Bay, another little beauty, & one we’ve anchored in for a swim & relax awhile during the day. On & up over the little rise to Ferry Landing & the wharf where the passenger ferry from Whitianga comes & goes all day long. A five minute crossing saves a half hour & 40kms trip by car. 

Some obviously think the ferry is too expensive :)

Ferry Landing Store & Library; I guess you only need a small library because the books will be short stories as the ride is only five minutes long.
Mercury Bay Islands & part of the marine reserve
Along side the ferry landing were a family of oystercatchers, the parents teaching the two chicks how to gather shell fish. Each time they managed to stab a limpet or nab a cockle when it opened it's shell they make a big fuss & headed for the beach with the youngsters hot on their heels. The young birds quickly took over finding their own dinner.

A quick stop at Hahei on the way home, which is a very popular beach due to it being very close to Cathedral Cove, it also fronts the marine reserve that covers a wide area on this side of Mercury Bay. A lot of kayak tours leave from Hahei Beach, along with glass bottom boats so visitors can see the spectacular sealife around the reefs & islands of the reserve. A very long time ago in the early days of our  boating adventures we totally forgot about the reserve & stopped for a fish. We wondered why we had a very fruitful couple of hours! Luckily nobody spotted us, it’s a possible $300,000 fine & forfeiture of your boat if you’re caught.

Hahei Beach from Cathedral Cove lookout
Hahei Beach


  1. Hi Shellie, your photos are beautiful! what type of camera do you use? :) Helen

    1. Hi Helen, thankyou very much. I have a Nikon D7100 plus a few lens, as you've probably already guessed I love photography (but it can be an expensive hobby!) Here's a blog post regarding some of my gear.
      Thanks again


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