Completion of remedial works at Cathedral Cove Recreation Reserve has allowed the iconic arch at the Cove to be reopened today, though the Department of Conservation (DOC) urges visitors to remain vigilant in this naturally hazardous area.
DOC’s Hauraki Area manager Melissa King-Howell said the remedial work has involved scaling the arch faces and the internal area of the arch.
“The scaling process involved highly skilled contractors, abseiling and using ladders to manually pick and break off identified weak areas of rock which were identified as a potential risk,” Ms King-Howell said.
The Cathedral Cove arch has been closed since April 2010 because of several significant rockfalls, prompting DOC to erect barriers and signs warning visitors to stay out of the arch area.
“Two significant rock falls that occurred in February and May this year made us revisit our future management options,” says Ms King-Howell. “We engaged geotechnical specialists to provide a report on the risk of further rock falls and potential options to manage the problem.”
“Although the site has been reopened, people must continue to take care as the cave and the arch are natural features and will continue to be subject to ongoing natural weathering and erosion. Some risk of rockfall hazard will always remain within the cove. New signs warning visitors of the risk have been installed.”
Cathedral Cove is an iconic site on the Coromandel Peninsula visited by thousands of people each year. Gemstone and Stingray Bays offer safe swimming beaches enhanced with pohutukawa, spectacular white cliffs and turquoise water. A great view and information can be obtained from the visitors’ lookout at the beginning of the track.