From the north end of the beach, a one hour walking track leads along the cliff top and then descends to the Cove. Here a gigantic arched cavern passes through a white rock headland to join two secluded coves. The cathedral-like arch gives the whole area an air of grandeur. The beach is sandy with shady pohutukawa trees along the foreshore - a perfect place for a picnic and a swim.
Just off the beach at Cathedral Cove is a large pinnacle of pumice breccia rock known as 'Te Hoho'. Over centuries this has been sculpted by wind and water - it now looks like the prow of a large ship steaming into the beach.
If you prefer a slightly shorter walk (about 1.5 hours return), start from the car park at the end of Grange Road in Hahei - turn left just after the Hahei shops. The top car park at Grange Road is a pick up and drop off zone for the shuttle. Parking is prohibited at Grange Rd from 1 October - 30 April. Limited parking is available on Grange Rd from 1 May - 30 September.
During the summer months, a shuttle service runs from the visitor car park on Pa Road to the start of the Cathedral Cove track. It costs $5 return per person, $3 for a child and $10 for a family (2 adults 2 children). It is recommended that all visitors to Hahei Beach and Cathedral Cove use this car park. A third carpark is open during the summer months on Lees Road.
For snorkellers and scuba divers, Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve provides a visual feast of sponge gardens, reef systems and marine life to observe.