If you looking for a place to get away from it all, then look no further than Hahei, situated in Mercury bay on the east coast of Coromandel Peninsula. Just sit on the beach and you’ll soon see why the locals consider Hahei one of the most beautiful beaches in Coromandel; a region renown for its stunning beaches.
Hahei is a veritable beach paradise of pink sand and pristine clear blue sea framed by cliffs and maori pa sites either end of the beach and a necklace of islands. Combined with its vibrant community life and unspoiled natural habitat, Hahei is the perfect place to recharge those batteries and take a break from big city life.
The first place to start is on the water if you want to see the best Hahei has to offer. Sheltered from rough seas by outlying islands, Hahei is a safe family swimming beach. If you enjoy open water swimming, keep an eye out for the local swimming groups who regularly meet on the beach. They welcome all swimmers, local and visitors and if you’re lucky, you might find yourself swimming with dolphins who visit the area from time to time.
The neighbouring marine reserve is a magical aquatic world, abundant with fish and other sea life and ideal for snorkeling, kayaking or if you want to stay dry, taking a cruise on a glass bottom boat. There are several local operators who can help you with gear and equipment or take you on diving trips or boating and kayaking tours.
The marine reserve is also home to the famous Cathedral Cove, one of the most photographed locations on the Coromandel Peninsula. Accessible only by foot or water, this magnificent cathedral shaped cavern and its spectacular environs are a “must visit” site.
With so much beautiful coastline, boating is also a favourite pastime. You can launch your boat off Hahei beach or from the boat ramp at Cooks Beach just 10 minutes away.
Nearby Hot Water Beach is one of those unique experiences every visitor to the Coromandel must do. An underground river of hot water surfaces at Hot Water beach and one hour either side of low tide, visitors flock to the beach to dig their own spa pool in the sand. For easy digging, bring a shovel or you can hire one from the General store. Hot Water Beach also offers some serious surf action for boogie boarders and surfers alike.
If all this water activity has made you hungry, then start with a great coffee and delicious homemade food from Hot Waves Cafe at Hot Water Beach. While you’re there, check out Moko Artspace next door. Filled with contemporary NZ and Pacific art, this gallery features jewellery, designware, wall art and sculpture.
Or you can head back to Hahei and visit the popular Luna Cafe. Considered the best coffee in Hahei by the locals, Luna is renown for its friendly service and relaxed atmosphere.
Hahei has its own micro-climate; excellent for growing fruit and vegetables, much of which ends up in local restaurant kitchens. The Grange is a cafe by day and brasserie by night specialising in local seafood and good hearty meals and for the kids, both big and little, fish and chips and pizza. A great way to finish off a day on the beach!
If fine dining is more your style, then enjoy a sumptuous meal at the Church. Set in a refurbished old church, this establishment exudes character with high vaulted ceilings, arched windows and beautiful polished timber, surrounded by lush native garden.
After eating, stretch your legs and head to the Te Pare point historic reserve at the southern end of Hahei Beach, the site of a pa occupied by the Ngati Hei people. Or just relax on the beach and enjoy the stunning scenery as the sun sets on Hahei.