Each one us is striving to reach the top of an invisible podium. We are all living with a restless mind and an unhappy soul. Waking up every morning, jumping onto the tracks and joining the rat race of our unfulfilled and incomplete lives. This race is an unending quest to excellence as we are constantly trying to get a hold of the material securities, which provide us with momentary pleasures. These momentary satisfactions are sand like which keep on slipping from in between our fingers. This makes us continuously strive for the best each day. In This running around and living a robotic, machine like life our body, mind and soul get highly neglected. We all need to escape this rat race in order to rejuvenate ourselves and to think better. One way to do this is to explore quaint holiday destinations. The Te whanganui-A-Hei (cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve is one such refuge from the monotonous hum of life. A place although not very far from civilization has been bestowed with nature’s bounty and gives a feel of sitting as if in isolation. One of New Zealand’s eye catching beaches and marine reserves, the Cathedral cove is full of treasures such as the crystal clear waters, the conspicuous rock formations, pure white sands and impressive coves. Let’s dig a little deeper and give our senses and soul the much needed treat by exploring these hidden treasures. Since time immemorial we have been servants to our greedy mind let’s for once give something valuable to our souls..
Te whanganui-A-Hei (cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve, which lies in the lap of the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand, spreads across an area of 840 hectares (2100 acres). The Cathedral Cove is christened thus after the cave like structure, coupling the Mare’s leg cove and the Cathedral Cove.
This duo of coves constitutes sculpturesque natural rocks ,The Sphinx rock in Mare’s leg cove and the Pumice Breccia popularly called as ‘Te Hoho’, in the cathedral cove. Just off the Hahei beach at Cathedral cove is a large pinnacle of the ‘Te Hoho’, which over the centuries has been carved by wind and water- it now seems like the bow of a gigantic ship steaming into the beach.
The archway of the Cathedral cove is the product of the most amazing artist created by God, nature. It is by far the most scenic locations in the Coromandel Peninsula.
One can stroll from the gorgeous Hahie beach to the scenic cathedral cove, where this gift of nature, the beautiful naturally formed archway, awaits your attention. From the north end of the Hahie beach, one can take a walk, on the hour long walking tracks, which lead along the top of the cliff and then decide to descend to the Cathedral cove. The cathedral-like archway gives one a feeling of being present in the air of total magnificence. The picturesque duo of the two bays, the Gemstone and the Stingray, is accessible by the Cathedral Cove walking track. It also leads to the sandy shores of the cathedral cove. This trio of the two bays and the shores is bifurcated by the majestic rock arch.
The name ‘Te Waghanui -A -Hei’, is a ‘Maori’ word which literally means ‘The great bay of Hei’. Maori is a dialect spoken by the indigenous ethnic group of New Zealand. The Maori people are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. Over numerous centuries in isolation, the Polynesian settlers developed a new culture, with their own language, affluent mythology, various crafts and forms of performing arts. The Maoris arrived from Hawaiki ( a mythical homeland in tropical Polynesia) in a large canoe. Archaeological evidences indicate that the first settlers came from east Polynesia and became the Maori. Being a member of the Eastern Polynesian languages, Maori has been one of New Zealand’s official languages. The name Te whanganui-a-hei, refers to Hei, who was a ‘Tohunga’, which means an expert practitioner of any skill or art, which can be religious or otherwise, according to the culture of the Maori of New Zealand. A Tohunga includes expert priests, navigators, healers, builders, carvers, Teachers and last but not least, advisors. Hei was a Tohunga from ‘Te Arawa waka’, literally a canoe, that gets its name from the red shark that it resembled while battling a storm. Te Arawa’s present day population is about 40’000. It is a confederation of the ‘Maori iwi’ and the ‘Hapu’ tribes of New Zealand. The men from Te Arawa fought in the New Zealand land wars that took place in the mid 19th century, in the north island of New Zealand.
As per the Maori tradition, Hei picked the area encompassing the Mercury bay as a dwelling for his people. Hei proclaimed the ownership of this island by re naming it ‘Te Kuraetanga-o-taku-ihu’ which literally means, the outward curve of my nose. The Mercury bay is an enormous ‘v’ shaped bay, situated on the eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, on the north island of New Zealand. The bay was named after the English navigator Captain James Cook, during one of his expeditions. Numerous tiny islands spread across the northern and the southern ends of the bay. The bay serves as a great location for game fishing, since the bay is inhibited by the marlin fish. Due to the Whanganui-a-hei (cathedral cove) marine reserve, fishing is not an indulging activity for the people, but the abundance of fish in the reserve leads to fishing taking place outside the areas lying within the marine reserve. The bay is widely known for its yachting activity. The Mercury bay yacht club was the first challenging club in New Zealand’s first challenge for the America’s cup in 1988.
The cave and the beach near the Cathedral cove have widely been used in various famous Hollywood ventures one of them being The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian, where its used as the tunnel which leads the main characters of the movie, the Pevensie children, to re-enter the kingdom of Narnia. Recently the cove was employed in a music video of the sound track ‘Can’t Hold Us’ by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring Ray Dalton. Kadira Jennings an astounding artist is currently working on a series of paintings inspired by the Cathedral Cove, by the name ‘The Cathedral Cove: a series is born’.
The Adventures to indulge in…
Let’s go Kayaking within the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve-
Most of the natives of New Zealand shall be well versed with the breath taking coastal walk leading to the Cathedral Cove, but perhaps the best way to explore the stunning coastline of the marine reserve is by Kayak, water taxi or the marvelous Boat cruise. The arresting Limestone cliffs, gorgeous volcanic coastline, clear water and abundant marine life of Hahei’s marine reserve interfuse to create New Zealand’s best Kayaking journey. During this journey of exploring the marine reserve, your tour guides shall take you kayaking through Limestone archways, under water caves and your journey shall conclude with a delicious café quality cappuchino waiting for at the Hahei beach. The site is rich with traditional maori tales about the many navigators who first discovered the Mercury bay, like Cook, Kupe and Hei, after whom the marine reserves have been called.
• A Picturesque adventure trip-
The fantasy of every photographer, this one hour tour highlights the indescribable sites of the marine reserve, the tour departs daily from the Hahei beach. This journey has been made lucid by boating in and around this stunning coastline with a tour guide who shall help you explore the scenic Hahei beach.
• The spectacular Cathedral cove walk-
The land is rich with numerous scenic walking tracks adjoining the marine reserve. These walking tracks include the 2hour return walk to the cathedral cove track which provides an entry to the Gemstone & Stingray bays, the Mare’s leg cove and the Cathedral Cove. Foot access to the Cathedral cove car park can be found at the western end of the Hahei beach and vehicle availability is up the Grange road, one has to turn left past the shops and go all the way up to the Grange road.
If the camera is your companion, buckle up and join the spectacle at the Cathedral Cove, New Zealand !!