athedral Cove starts at the top of Grange Road. Parking is at the Visitor Car Park on Pa Road (turn right just after entering Hahei). During the summer months a shuttle service runs from the visitor car park on Pa Road to the start of the Cathedral Cove track. It only costs $5 return per person, $3 for a child and $10 for a family (2 adults 2 children). It is recommended that all visitors to Hahei Beach and Cathedral Cove use this car park.
The top car park (Grange Road) is a pick up and drop off zone for the Shuttle only. Parking is prohibited at Grange Rd from the 1 October – 30 April. Limited parking is available on Grange Rd from 1 May – 30 September at $15 for 4 hours.
Alternatively, walk from the access point at the northern end of Hahei Beach. It takes a further 25 minutes walk to link up with the main track. Hahei is the last spot for food, water and rubbish bins before the Walk, so it’s a good idea to dispose of any rubbish and refill your drink bottles before you start the walk. It takes 45 minutes to walk from the top carpark to Cathedral Cove. As far as things to do in New Zealand go, this 90 minute return journey could happily take all day.
There are plenty of spots to sit and rest along this walkway, usually situated at vantage points perfect for photo taking. The walk traverses rugged farmland, then delves into regenerative native bush, with mini tracks and detours down to rocky shorelines and mossy glades.
The detour marked ‘Viewing Platform’ offers a slightly more off the beaten path experience. It is a 2 kilometre loop track, and is a worthwhile half hour journey. Skinny pines, fantails & delicate undergrowth define this track, adjacent to rolling green pasture and cliff top views.
Be prepared to see no one else on this track, compared to plenty of people on the main path. The Viewing Platform itself invites a different perspective on Cathedral Cove. From this point, you look down on the iconic rock instead of up at it. The cliffs at a distance look like they’re made of moleskin. The islands seem merely an arm’s length away. To the south you might see campervans perched on a high hill landmarking Cathedral Cove’s full carpark.