There was no alternative but to rise with the sun. That way the photographs would be more interesting, it would be cool for the 2 hour return walk and, importantly, we would miss out on the hordes (up to 2,500 people a day in high summer) that make their way along the narrow track to one of New Zealand’s most iconic beaches. The only way to reach Cathedral Cove is by kayak or on foot and a veritable armada of kayaks leave nearby Hahei for the limestone formations of the cove all day. The walk, at 6.15am, was cold and the track already getting busy with people running up and down the hills to the beach and underneath the vaulted splendour of the cove itself. It was quite tiring enough walking.
Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve, Te Whanganui- A-Hei, covers 9 square kilometres and is New Zealand’s sixth marine reserve. Spectacular limestone cliffs and a volcanic coastline with a rich marine life make it a ‘must do’ trip for all Kiwis and visitors. It doesn’t disappoint, especially when the sun is rising and the cliffs seems to shimmer like gold. Scenes from the Narnia film Prince Caspian were filmed here. If you have never been or plan to visit NZ some day, be sure to put this beach on your itinerary. And if you to visit in summer, don’t join the crush of the park and ride tourists. Get up early!