Cathedral Cove
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Community and stakeholder activities are the next key steps of DOC’s work to reinstate safe walking access to Cathedral Cove.

Date:  16 April 2024

The popular Coromandel walking track has been closed since February 2023 after it was extensively damaged by extreme weather events, including Cyclone Gabrielle. The track was deemed unsafe for the type of casual “day trip” visitors who frequently go there, and DOC has consistently urged the public not to use the walk.

DOC’s Hauraki Waikato Taranaki Regional Director Tinaka Mearns says sharing information with community and stakeholder groups is an important part of DOC’s work as it works through a complex set of overlapping issues pertaining to management of the site and the feasibility of reinstating the track.

DOC is working closely with Ngāti Hei, Thames-Coromandel District Council and Destination Hauraki Coromandel on planned activities and ensuring conversations with the community are forward-looking and positive.

“Ensuring we’re aligned with Ngāti Hei and key government organisations is vital.  A natural extension of that is creating community stakeholders’ awareness, on the work and the progress and importantly hearing their perspectives,” she says.

“We know it’s crucial to have honest conversation with the community on what the future holds for this site and how we can reinstate walking access to the beach.”

DOC, Ngāti Hei and technical experts visited the site in March to assess access and infrastructure options. Technical experts returned to the site this week, guided by DOC staff, to carry out more investigations.

Expert advice will be included in information DOC will share at a community drop-in session planned for May. Details of that session will be publicised in coming weeks.

The first phase of data gathering and information sharing for the project is complete. With support from Ngāti Hei, DOC undertook a summer visitor experience survey in February.

The results of the survey of more than 200 visitors strongly indicate Cathedral Cove’s remains a top New Zealand visitor destination.

Analysis of the survey responses revealed the overall satisfaction with the 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, according to survey results.

Scenery and landscapes are the drawcard for visitors to Cathedral Cove.  The survey also assessed facilities and services for visiting 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). The full results of the survey are available on the DOC website.

A second survey will also form part of DOC’s community update on the future of Cathedral Cove and will be launched in early May.

DOC is working closely with TCDC to maximise opportunities for the community to have a say.


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