Country: New Zealand
Outdoor Activities: Kayaking and snorkeling
Duration: three hours
Sustainable tourism rating:
Cathedral Cove is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s treasures. We propose to discover this tourist but well-preserved spots as a Sportrotter. (Don’t worry even in high season you can find yourself almost alone if you choose the time that you go there).
First option is to get there by kayak, you will be able to admire these beautiful white cliffs surrounded by hundreds of birds. Indeed, this coast is even more beautiful from the sea. Also, you can explore the nearby islands which are very beautiful too.
The easiest access way it from Hahei Beach. Unfortunately, there are no kayak rental companies on the beach, the only company only offers guided expensive excursions (people seems to have fun but is about $ NZ 100 per person and you won’t be alone). You can start from Whitianga, which is also a very good base to explore the area but it will take about 3 hours paddling to Cathedral Cove (Try to go at low tide and return at high tide …).
This is a beautiful journey that will allow you to have nice views on the cliffs surrounding bays. Tip: At Harbourside Holiday Park if you are a customer you can rent a kayak for only $ NZ25 per day…
Even more magical, we recommend to go snorkeling! Indeed, there is an underwater trail at Gemstone Bay, one of the best spots in New Zealand.You can see many fishes but the water is cold. Bring a wetsuit, if possible. Be patient, fishes are hidden by the algae and also go on the left of the bay, there are lots of big blue fishes!
DOC has installed four buoys which correspond to the 4 types of environments you can find in the area with many fish around!
To reach Gemstone Bay, several solutions offers to you : either park at Cathedral Cove parking and walk for 10 minutes. If there is no parking place available you can go to the beautiful Hahei beach and walk 30 minutes on the Coastal track. Note that Cathedral Cove is a 35-minute walk from Gemstone Bay.
A few kilometers away is Hot Water Beach, a beautiful beach with hot springs: come at low tide with your shovel, dig your hole in the sand and enjoy the thermal hot water.
We found it amusing but too touristy and the crowd made the place less peaceful for a relaxing day in hot water (be careful the water http://surfonaleaf.org/en/wp-admin/edit-comments.phpis very hot).
The pros :
– The nice spots are close to each other
– Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove are among the most touristic places in New Zealand …
– Water is a little cold (18-20 degrees in Summer), bring your wetsuit …
– No kayak rental companies at Hahei Beach