Last Updated: 20th Nov 2023


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Hahei - Cathedral Cove

Whitianga, Waikato

Submitted by Sean McWilliams

Last Updated: 20th Nov 2023


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Closed More info

The Cathedral Cove track is closed until further notice to to safety issues (rockfalls, etc).

Please notify us if this has changed.

Grunt Factor: 17 ?

Gnarl Factor: 40 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush



Open farmlands

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +7.5%

Average Downhill Gradient: -7.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







Head from Hahei Beach car park onto the beach and take a right. Proceed along the beach until a small creek; this can generally be traversed, but if you don't feel like getting your feet wet then skirt alongside the creek for about 200m. Once on the other side of the creek head southeast and out onto the adjacent headland. This is the site of Te Pare Pa. Follow the track up to the top. There are no guard rails up there, so be careful and don't get too close to the edges. Once satisfied with the beautiful view, retrace your path and head back along the beach. Continue past the car park to the far end of Hahei Beach where you will see a signposted path entrance. This is the track leading up to the Cathedral Cove track entrance. The stairs and track can get a little bit steep (nothing to crazy though); follow the path until the junction with the Cathedral Cove main track. From here it's a simple but beautiful trot through some small stands of native bush, some open farmland, and few stairs thrown in. The side-tracks to Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay are both well worthwhile for a look (and both have fantastic snorkeling). Once you reach the bottom, indulge in the beauty of Cathedral Cove - unless you're in a rush to get back to the start!

Te Pare Pa at the southern end of Hahei beach is a very old Maori pa site.
Cathedral Cove is a world-renowned spot, and is absolutely stunning all year round.

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Hahei is a cruisy 35km drive from Whitianga. A decent amount of parking to be had right at the beach, and some approx 300m up Hahei Beach Rd by the small block of shops. Be warned, this place is packed during the peak summer period (mid-December - mid-January). A shuttle bus runs from Ferry Landing if you feel like catching the ferry from Whitianga over the estuary (the ferry costs $6 return for adults and the trip takes about 5 minutes. The shuttle bus is available for booking and is $13pp each way from Ferry Landing to Hahei, or $38 all up if there are more than 3 passengers ( for bookings).

36 km

34 minutes




It's literally impossible to get lost on this track.

Perfect throughout.


Water at the main Cathedral Cove car park, and at Hahei Beach (taps near the car park toilets, or the general store).

The track to Cathedral Cove can be a little muddy / greasy after heavy rain, but nothing too serious.
During peak tourist season (November - February), Cathedral Cove can get very, very busy. Go early in the morning or in the early evening if you want to be able to run properly.

Stairs on the main track to Cathdral Cove can be a little slippery when wet.

The Pour House
Grange Rd, Hahei (next to the block of shops)
Great local beer (it's the home of the Coromandel Brewing Co.), and guest taps from the likes of Garage Project, Yeastie Boys, and a host of other spectacular brewers. Also, some great food to be had.

Hahei Beach Cafe
3 Grange Rd, Hahei (pretty much right next to the Pour House)
Great food and coffee!

You and Hahei - Cathedral Cove

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Trail Reviews

It's good that this is in the directory or I wouldn't have found a reason to do anything other than the direct route to Cathedral. However, it's pretty much the antithesis of a Wild Thing run (and this from someone who is far from the wildest of Wild Things, more like a Slightly Undomesticated Thing to be fair). As Joe says below, the scenery sells it and rightly so, but the extensive tarmac sections (and screeds of people - on Labour Weekend so I guess I had it coming to me) weren't doing it for me. The loop out to the lookout though the wooded area and on real trail was briefly blissful.

Jeremy Boase

October 23, 2022

Cathedral Cove and Hahei Beach are both stunning, so the start and end of this trail are worth 5 stars. (Just look at the photos below). The only problem is the bit in the middle. The section from the northern tip of the Hahei beach lookout to Cathedral Cove has now been tar sealed the whole way. Great for travellers using buggies, etc but no so good for us trail junkies. But there is an additional 1k loop you can do at the top of the Cove to a lookout which runs through some nice bush on single track.Oh and watch out for the dotterels and other birds nesting at the northern part of Hahei beach. They may dive-bomb you as you pass!

Joe Benbow

January 22, 2020

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