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Explore Cathedral Cove by water and take a boat trip to discover a coastline that is largely inaccessible by land. This is owing to the steep cliffs and the eroded pumice and volcanic ash, signs of past geothermal activity in the area. You won't be able to land at Cathedral Cove (it's protected) but from your vantage point on the calm waters of the Mercury Bay, you will be able to view it up close at any tide.
Whether you glide along with Cave Cruzer, Ocean Leopard, or Sea Cave Adventures, or take a leisurely ride with the Glass Bottom Boat, your guides will reveal the hidden coves and the narrow caves that make up this part of Mercury Bay. The Hahei Explorer can get you close in to the foot of the soaring Big Bay Blowhole when the tide is right and all the boats will take you deep inside the Orua Sea Cave.
Wildlife and History
The guides are well informed on the geology and history of this strange volcanic coast, and the abundance of bird and marine life thriving in Te Whanganui-a-Hei marine reserve. You can watch birds nesting in holes in the steep cliffs, learn the names given by Maori to the many fissures and distinctive rock outcrops, and learn how they hid their waka in the narrow openings. The bay is teeming with marine life, and you may even get up close to some larger marine animals if they are cruising by.
Getting on board
Most of the boats depart from the wharf in Whitianga, offering 2 hours of sightseeing along a good part of the Mercury Bay coast, including some small beachside towns. if you are staying over the river in Cooks Beach or Hahei or further south, the boats will pick you up at Ferry Landing, saving you some driving time. The Hahei Explorer is launched from the sands of Hahei Beach by a well-known orange tractor, and offers shorter tours, if you prefer.
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