You are currently viewing <strong>Cathedral Cove visits come to an end</strong>
DOC has announced the work it will undertake to determine viable, safe and resilient long-term solutions for visitor access and experience at Coromandel’s Cathedral Cove. FILE PHOTO

Cathedral Cove visits come to an end

There’s no “yes or no” answer when it comes to the question of Cathedral Cove’s reopening.
The Department of Conservation, driven by concerns over landslides and rockfalls, will not reinstate the track ahead of summer.
It will be a further six to 12 months until the department knows “what the future” will be for the iconic tourist attraction.
“The track down to the cove is 3.8km long, and along that track there are 180 landslides, both recent and historic,” DOC Hauraki-Waikato-Taranaki regional director Tinaka Mearns said.
“We’ve had rockfall as early as last weekend, so that’s really showing the volatility of that site.”
At a media conference on August 17, Tinaka, joined by fellow conservation staff and Tonkin +Taylor representatives, said that after the extreme weather events this year, the bays and tracks around the Coromandel cove had suffered significant damage.
Tonkin + Taylor produced a landslide risk assessment report, and “in a nutshell” described an ongoing risk of landslides and rockfall across the area, presenting a high level of risk of injury or fatality to visitors.
“While we anticipated this may be a likely outcome from the information we’ve received, we know it’s not the best news everybody probably had their fingers crossed for.
“The level of risk is really concerning to us, and we do want to couple that with what’s practical to rebuild on the ground, but also what’s resilient going into the future,” Tinaka said.
“We are not at a point where we can clearly say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ [to reopening] at this point in time. We’re saying ‘no’ for right now – the track will remain closed. Going forward, that’s what we want to explore.”
Within the next few weeks, visitors will be able to return to the cove’s beach via the sea – the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve; however, the department of conservation said guests will be going at their own risk.
They are strongly urged not to go through the cove’s famous arch, with debris falling from the natural structure as recently as August 12.
“Renewing access to Cathedral Cove from the sea allows people to go there, but we want to make very clear there is still risk associated with going to this site and people need to inform themselves properly before visiting,” Tinaka said.
“There is still potential for rockfall landslides at these sites, and we need to emphasise this to the public. You go at your own risk.”
DOC will also decommission the toilet block at Cathedral Cove beach, while visitor numbers will be monitored by its Coromandel district team.
“In light of a lot of this conversation, it’s really about tempering expectations and what can be achieved in what period of time,” Tinaka said. “We are wanting to be transparent and honest, and we want to work with the community.
“[It’ll] be] six to 12 months until we know what the future will be.”