Camping at Cathedral Cove

Ok so regardless of if you are planning on freedom camping or just sight seeing, Cathedral Cove near Hahei is a must do. The entire area you see in the photo below is a marine reserve and is managed by the Department of Conservation, meaning that no fishing takes place so there is an abundance of sea life. While this might not be evident from above, take one of the hikes and find a rocky area to explore along the shoreline with a mask and snorkel. You'll interact with snapper at just an arms length away and see loads of crayfish..Just be careful not to touch them!Cathedral Cove It's one of the most scenic places on the Coromandel Peninsula, it's the new Zealand version of the movie 'The Beach' with all it's rocky outcrops that seemingly pop up out of nowhere. If you're in a self-contained campervan, then you're in luck as there are six parks where you're allowed to freedom camp. You're allowed to stay here for 4 nights maximum in a single calendar month, between 5 pm and 9 am the following day (meaning you have to vacate the area by 9am). The six car parks can be found once you drive to the end of the parking area, and it is on your left hand side, by the roundabout. Cathedral CoveIn terms of facilities, it's basic (but you can't expect much for free) with only toilets available. They are well maintained but extremely busy in the summer during the day. Things tend to quieten down around 8pm which is when you have the place nearly to yourself (and most likely 5 other campervans). This would have to be arguably the most scenic freedom campsite in New Zealand (has anyone seen better?)..main (Large) This is definitely one of the most popular freedom campsites in the area, so you want to be planning your arrival at 5pm. It's a bit of a gamble if you'll get a spot, but it's worth trying your luck. Some people arrive early at around 4pm and park in the area as a day tripper, then stay there the remainder of the time. It's not exactly fair play but just a heads up. Overall, this campsite has to get a 5 star review, simply because of the amazing view on your doorstep. The parking area is very intimate which is great if you're into being social, but if you're the hermit type you might like the nearby Over-Flow Car Park at Purangi Boat Ramp' to your liking instead, near Cooks Beach. Here you can hide away from people behind bush. Another thing that Cathedral Cove has going for it is the surrounding bush, which during summer will give off an array of nature songs on full volume starring native birds and cicadas. Combined with the marine reserve this is one nature filled camping area! [mc4wp_form]