Hahei was definitely one of my Highlights of my entire trip in new Zealand. Take the opportunity for a kayak Tour.
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Cathedral Cove is beautiful, even if you can only go during a day of freezing rain. I wanted to go here because I knew it was used in one of the Narnia movies as a location, but regardless it was wonderful. We had car-camped nearby overnight and then made the hike to the cove. I do not think the hike was difficult, although for us it was thrilling because the rain and wind were biting into us so hard that we laughed out of shock. Standing under the cove, with the waves washing perilously close at times, honestly felt "magical" for lack of a better word. I liked imagining that from the cove we would sail off on a pirate-esque ship into the horizon, after kissing beneath the cove's arch. (Well, only the latter half came true for me--and I highly recommend going there with someone you want to kiss! ;) On a warmer, sunnier day, I am sure it is even prettier there, and that families would enjoy exploring the beach.
You only need a short stop here... it's worth going to though for the great beach scenery. The beach is nice for a swim if it's warm out too.
its a great 1/2 walk to get there from the car park, and stairs at the end, lots of stairs!
but it is worth every step, because the place is awesome, huge cliffs, waterfall, sandy beach, and the cathedral... wow!!!
just be careful in there... it can be very dangerous surf... like WILD!!!
I've been to the cove quite a few times and it's always worth the walk! Gorgeous beach and white stone with lovely ocean view. The walk down is not to bad, the walk back is quite steep, but just take a drink and a walking stick and you should all be able to do it, just take it easy, no need to rush with all the gorgeous view along the walk to and from the beach!