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Cathedral Cove walking access: DoC working on options to reinstate track

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Cathedral Cove is The Coromandel’s poster boy. Photo / Andy Belcher

The Department of Conservation (DoC) has announced a range of options for the reinstatement of walking access to Cathedral Cove.

The popular walking track has been closed since February 2023, due to damage caused by extreme weather.

DoC’s Hauraki Waikato Taranaki regional director Tinaka Mearns said the department had identified three main options that were currently under consideration.

“One is a short-term fix, which would see construction of new steps and a boardwalk to reinstate a section of the existing track, while the two others would be long-term repairs involving installation of new infrastructure.”

The two long-term options would require significant investment and also the installation of a new, potentially cantilevered, staircase and steps to the beach – and therefore take longer to design, procure and complete.

Mearns said the land had continued to move since the initial storms, which made identifying a “simple walking solution” challenging.

“What we’ve worked to produce is a suite of possible options that cover reinstatement of walking access to the beach and also entrance to the recreation reserve.

“Upholding the values of Ngāti Hei has [also] been a key factor as we work through the options. Alignment with several pieces of conservation legislation, and community perspectives provides both great opportunity and creates a shared awareness for compromise.

“As an example, we’ve had to examine pros and cons for each of these options and also factor in an historic pā site which is significant to Ngāti Hei,” Mearns said.

Other options explored as part of the development work included visitor entry points from the Hahei Short Walk, making use of an existing entrance at Grange Rd, and whether access over adjacent farmland is feasible.

“We need to balance out aspects including costs and investment risk, resilience against future weather events, as well reducing the environmental and social impacts on what has been a heavily visited site.”

Destination Hauraki-Coromandel general manager Hadley Dryden said the regional tourism organisation would support the process DoC and other stakeholders go through.

“There has been a huge amount of demand for the walking track access to be reinstated, so we are supporting the process.”

Minister for Conservation Tama Potaka has been approached for comment.

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