Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach: A Trip Worth Taking

The Sea At Cathedral Cove
Once our little jaunt to the Bay of Islands was over, it was time for us to get back on the dreaded bus. Actually, it wasn’t dreaded just yet, but what’s a little hyperbole between friends? In fact, this journey was the start of some beautiful bus-made friendships. We headed back to Auckland and all bonded over Mexican food and a hostel room with no functioning lights, before getting back on the bus again.

This time, I wasn’t really sure where we were going, but I went anyway. We were dropped off in a place called Te Whanganui-A-Hei; otherwise known as Cathedral Cove. The Cove is located at Hahei – a name I find highly entertaining – and is only accessible by foot or boat.

View from the top of Cathedral Cove New ZealandSo, when I say we were dropped off, I mean we were literally told to get off the bus and follow the walking route until we found the beach. Sidenote: The Kiwi Experience essentially treats you like children whether you like it or not.

To give you some context: it was a grey, drizzly day and the beach wasn’t exactly top of my wishlist at this point. Sadly (for me) it wasn’t a choice, so we started walking.

We finally got there and it was actually pretty darn impressive. ‘Cathedral Cove’ refers to the ginormous naturally formed archway which links two coves together. Supposedly the archway resembles a Cathedral and yes, I do realise it sounds like I’m stating the obvious, but I was totally oblivious beforehand.

Cathedral Cove New ZealandWe had a few hours to kill and it was bloody freezing. Some people were straight in the water, but the party poopers (myself included!) just observed. It’s definitely a great spot for a sunny day, but is still worth seeing despite the weather.

Sea at Cathedral Cove New ZealandLater that evening we were instructed to go to ‘Hot Water Beach‘. So obviously that’s what we did (who needs to think for themselves anyway?!). Unlike Cathedral Cove, this is a spot I have read about time and time again. There are countless articles detailing the most unique beaches in the world, and you guessed it, this one makes the cut!

At Hot Water Beach there are natural hot springs which filter up through the sand, so twice a day you can dig yourself a hot-tub/spa pool situation. Just make sure you check the timing of the tide to avoid disappointment! Or you could rely solely on your group leader as we did. You know, whatever works for you.

We were told to go there pretty late, when it was pitch black and cold. I started to wonder if we were being pranked, but it turned out to be such a fun and surreal experience. Our whole bus-group were there with torches and spades, eagerly digging their pools. Granted, it was a bit of a mad scrabble for space as the ‘hot’ areas are limited – but we all got there in the end!

Cathedral Cove New ZealandI think it’s safe to say that there is a reason why Hot Water Beach is so famous in the blogosphere. Whilst it may not be the most beautiful, or exotic, it certainly is unique. I would definitely recommend getting yourselves over there if you can, but of course you can all make up your own minds!

Disclaimer: because it was dark, sandy and wet, I didn’t think taking a camera a wise idea, therefore I have no photos of Hot Water Beach. I can however link you to some enticing shots and information. Alternatively, I’d love to see your pictures or hear about your experiences though, so please leave them in the comments 🙂

 Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach New Zealand
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