The track to Cathedral Cove is now open to the public. Contractors completed the reinstatement and construction of the final flight of steps down to the beach last week. The Cathedral Cove arch remains closed as the arch is a known rock fall risk.
The track sustained considerable damage caused by Cyclone Wilma at the end of January. Department staff, volunteers and contractors have worked in the past two months to clear large slips, tree falls and to reinstate the staircases onto the Cathedral Cove beach. The Cathedral Cove walk is now back to its original walking track standard designation.
The track boasts some of New Zealand’s most spectacular coastal scenery. It is accessed from the carpark and information kiosk above Hahei. The information kiosk and lookout give grand views over the Cove, Marine Reserve, Mercury Bay and outer islands. The track is well graded but there are some hill slopes. The track goes through a variety of landscapes, with puriri tree groves, spectacular old pohutukawas clinging to the sea cliffs, native regeneration under old pine trees and a working farm on one boundary.
Slips and their sediments have affected snorkelling opportunities at the beginning of the snorkel trail inshore at Gemstone Bay. However great opportunities to see kelp forest and their fish inhabitants can be seen on the left hand side of Gemstone Bay while swimming towards the point and Stingray Bay. The sea temperature is still warm at 20-21 ° C.