Situated just off the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island near Coromandel, lies the Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve, or Te Whanganui-a-hei as it is known in the Maori language. The marine reserve is notable for being one of New Zealand’s most important conservative ecosystems and plays host to a diverse range and species of flora and fauna. The cove extends from the northern end of Hahei Beach and right up until Cook Bluff Scenic Reserve. The area is also home to some of the country’s finest scuba diving and snorkelling locations. Kayaking and canoeing are also popular activities in the region and there are a number of beaches that provide ideal locations for swimming as well. The Cathedral Cove can only be reached by either foot, kayak, or by boat.
The Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve is known for the wide variety of crustaceans, molluscs, and other animals that live amongst the hard coral reef around the cove. These complex reef systems and sponge gardens that are features of the marine reserve is a big reason why scuba divers particularly love this region. The hive of animal activity that divers are exposed to underwater makes for an altogether more incredible diving experience. Gemstone Bay in particular is notable for being a wonderful snorkelling site. The life buoys that can be found around Gemstone Bay are vibrant hubs of life for marine life and can be found within the seaweed systems. Alternatively, visitors can take guided snorkelling tours with Cathedral Cove Dive & Snorkel which allow visitors to swim at the crystal clear waters of Stingray Bay.
Kayaking tours are regular activities and begin from Hahei Beach. Boat tours that leave from Whitianga Wharf and Ferry Landing are also great experiences among travellers, giving them the chance to see whales, dolphins, and seals. Hahei Beach and the beaches around Cathedral Cove are perfect locations to go swimming in the open waters around the Marine Reserve.
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