Slip at Cathedral Cove
Image: DOC


Cathedral Cove and the adjacent Hahei coastal area were severely impacted by the extreme weather events of summer 2022-23, including Cyclone Gabrielle.

The extreme weather events caused landslides and rockfall, and significant damage to the main track to the Cathedral Cove beach.

Date:  16 May 2024

Community drop-in sessions

On Saturday 25 May, we’ll hold two community drop-in sessions, during which we will share information on the options to reinstate walking access to Cathedral Cove.

The feedback on the options will input into our decision processes.

You can read the media release with the key information on these drop-in sessions here. There’s one each in Whitianga and Hahei.

Residents unable to attend the drop-in sessions can email to provide their feedback on walking access reinstatement options.

Track reinstatement options

Over the last few months, we’ve been gathering and analysing information we need to inform the possible options to reinstate walking access to Cathedral Cove.

We’ve examined long-term and short-term options – work guided by the legislation we operate within, the values and cultural heritage of Ngāti Hei, as well as what can be practically achieved at the site.

We need to balance the impact of visitor tourism, the economic value of that tourism, the costs and benefits of the options, and the likely impact of climate change at a coastal site where land movement has been an issue for some time.

Our team has produced a presentation which explains our context and the options we’re exploring.

View the Mautohe Cathedral Cove - Options under consideration presentations (PDF, 4,120K)

Sharing this information is part of our wider engagement work with the Coromandel community – work which continues over the coming weeks.

Update: 5 April 2024

DOC is working on a durable solution for opening walking access to Mautohe Cathedral Cove. This is a landscape that’s vulnerable to landslides and rockfalls. Our goal is to reopen the track safely, in a pragmatic way. 

The Tonkin + Taylor 2023 report undertook mapping and a landslide risk assessment following DOC’s Natural Hazard Risk Analysis methodology. The report recommended DOC review the site and explore practical risk reduction options. 

This review process is underway and includes: 

  1. Landslide predictive modelling – this shows how resilient the land is likely to be in the future.
  2. Geotechnical monitoring to ascertain if the land has stabilised and what level of risk remains. We had to wait to let the land settle after an extremely wet year in 2023. Now we can proceed to test what has changed further.
  3. Identifying options for a resilient walking track access to Mautohe Cathedral Cove beach.
  4. Identifying practical visitor risk mitigations.

What we’ve done this year 

  • In February, DOC, with Ngāti Hei’s support, undertook a summer visitor experience survey. Analysis of the visitor experience survey responses are available below.
  • In March, DOC, Ngāti Hei and technical experts visited the site to assess access and infrastructure options. Further investigations are required by technical experts.
  • In March, we commissioned a new landslide predictive model to be run for Mautohe Cathedral Cove. This showed a high likelihood of further landslides under different storm conditions.
  • Community engagement is underway with support from Ngāti Hei, Thames-Coromandel District Council and Destination Hauraki Coromandel. Follow our website for more details. 

Still to come 

  • Results of the geotechnical monitoring are due June 2024. 
  • Feasibility assessment of options for resilient walking access are due to the Minister June 2024.

2024 Visitor survey results show high levels of satisfaction

2024 visitor survey results show highest level of overall visitor satisfaction with Mautohe Cathedral Cove in the country.

This summer, with the support of Ngāti Hei, DOC undertook a visitor experience survey to test visitor perceptions of their visit to Mautohe Cathedral Cove via beach access. The survey was conducted from 27 January to 29 February 2024. It collected the impressions of visitors who used marine operators to access the Mautohe Cathedral Cove beach.  

The survey used the ‘intercept method’ for recruiting participants, approaching randomly selected visitors when they arrived back from the Cove to answer questionnaires. A total of 210 questionnaires were completed, which is above the minimum sample size required to provide statistically robust findings. 

Survey results indicate: 

  • Mautohe Cathedral Cove remains a top New Zealand visitor destination- despite the track closure
  • the overall satisfaction with the Mautohe Cathedral Cove experience is the highest for any DOC managed destination in the country
  • how people access the Cove – currently only by boat or kayak - doesn’t influence their satisfaction rating
  • scenery and landscapes are the drawcard for visitors to Cathedral Cove.  

The survey also assessed facilities and services for visiting Mautohe Cathedral Cove with the frequency of water transport scoring highly (3.9 out of a possible maximum 4), followed by safety information and structures (3.7 out of 4).  

Community information sessions are underway  

We are engaging partners, stakeholders and the community to help inform the most compelling solution for Mautohe Cathedral Cove - one that people can support, now and into the future.

Over the next few months, we are running: 

  • stakeholder update sessions
  • a community survey 
  • community drop-in sessions. 

We’re working closely with Ngāti Hei and proactively engaging with identified key stakeholders before seeking wider community feedback.  

We are committed to working collaboratively with Thames-Coromandel District Council and Destination Hauraki Coromandel to maximise opportunities for the community to participate.  

We’ll update this page when we have more information to share. 


The future approach and timeline are subject to change as options are tested, and engagement is undertaken. 

Mautohe Cathedral Cove recovery timeline (PDF, 138K)

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