cathedral cove from cave

Costa Brava in the South Pacific

Thursday, March 21-Monday, March 25, 2019

After a wonderfully successful inaugural #ossCoromandel in April, 2018, we've confirmed dates for the 2019 oceanswimsafari. Package details and costs are below.

We tend to look to far away destinations for places of great beauty, and we forget that we have some of the most spectacular locations close at hand. Such as New Zealand. The romance of Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma against a backdrop of the Southern Alps lingers evocatively in our psyche. The Southern Alps are not renowned for swimming, however, although it does go on down there.

On the North Island, we’re heading to the Coromandel Peninsula, a virtual wilderness region a couple of hours to the east of Auckland, and playground of recreating Aucklandians. The coastline in this part of the world is marked by towering cliffs topped by extravagant homes stuck to their peaks as if by Glag. It struck us, swimming along there on our reccie trip, that we could have been on Catalonia’s Costa Brava.

It’s a dramatic place.

There are not many people in that part of the world: no dual carriageways, or expressways cutting through mountains. It’s all single lane roads with the occasional overtaking lane winding wistfully through the hills and verdant meadows, between the cows, sheep and vineyards and around the whispering estuaries towards a coastline that’s hardly seen a human footprint.

hot water beach 450At Hot Water Beach, you can dig your own spa.

Here we come in 2019 on our second Coromandel oceanswimsafari based for a long weekend in one of the prettiest towns in one of the world’s prettiest regions, Hahei, venue of the Cathedral Cove swim.

Hahei is a small, holiday town, a favourite weekender of well-to-do Aucklandians. Out of holiday time, it’s very quiet, a natural retreat in a stunningly beautiful setting. Bounded by vertiginous hills to the north and more to the south, Hahei sits in a basin with a long beach fronting the sea. Offshore, a ring of islands create a peaceful haven within.

The oceanswimsafari

Our oceanswimsafari is an extended long weekend, Thursday through Monday. We meet at Auckland Airport on Thursday afternoon for our coach transfer to Hahei in time for dinner at one of Hahei's two restaurants (arrange your flights to get into Auckland by c. 3pm).

On Friday morning, we’ll swim early along Hahei beach, around the point towards Stingray Bay, where the spotted eagle rays seek haven from the orcas. The swim will give us a feel for the water and the locale, and you’ll see why we call it “the Costa Brava of the South Pacific”. Cathedral Cove is another point north of here.

We'll also visit Hot Water Beach, a little to the south, to dig our own spa as the thermal springs bubble up through the sand at low tide. Motels in Hahei and Hot Water Beach issue sand shovels to their guests in preparation for their visit to the beach. The idea is that you dig a hole in the sand and loll there in the springs, as if in a bath. Some of it is too hot to immerse yourself for very long, and you long for the broken waves of the incoming tide to break down your walls and temper the springs with the refreshing cool of the South Pacific.

Later, if you like, we'll duck over to Whitianga for evening drinks and dinner at one of this regional centre's myriad beachside cafes (optional).

hahei tennis ball tree 350New Zealand and the Coromandel are an exotic place. They even have trees that grow tennis balls. We always wondered where they came from.

Saturday morning is the Cathedral Cove Swim, either 4km ‘round trip from Hahei to the cove and return, or 2km from the cove back to Hahei. The swim, run by the Kiwi swimming and triathlon legend, Brent Foster, is the centerpiece of the weekend. The Cathedral Cove Swim is one of the prettiest, and perhaps one of the most dramatic swims you will ever do.

Sunday, we’ll enjoy a sea kayak tour of the islands and the coastline from Hahei to Cathedral Cove. You’ll be out in the middle of nowhere, (but watch how your kayak guide can conjure an espresso on the beach).

If time permits, we’ll also squeeze in a bushwalk from Hahei over the hills back to Cathedral Cove. It gives a different perspective on this dramatically beautiful region.

On Monday morning, we'll transfer back to Auckland Airport for points beyond.

Package details

There’s plenty of down time included in the program so there’s ample opportunity to catch up on that book that’s been by your bed since Xmas. We’ll be close to the beach, so you’ll have plenty of time, too, to leave your footprints in the sand at your leisure. Get to know your other half again, perhaps. Or yourself.

Package from Thursday, March 21, through Monday, March 25, 2019

  • 4 nights accommodation
  • Cathedral Cove Swim entry
  • Early morning swims
  • Kayak safari of offshore islands and the bay
  • Hot Water Beach excursion
  • Cathedral Cove bush walk
  • Programmed transfers
  • Airport transfers from and to Auckland Airport

Package cost from $A1,840 pp Twin/Double share and $A2,180 single.

NB: Package prices are under continuing review in view of exchange rate movements and variations by suppliers.

Note that this a land package from and returning to Auckland Airport. It does not include meals. Whitianga excursion is optional and at own cost (involving shared cab and ferry).

hahei from south
Hahei from the sarf.

Accommodation options

Room options include studios for 1 or 2, villas with 1 or 2 bedrooms, up to a beach villa sleeping 4. Bring your friends and share a 2 bedroom villa (and cut your per head cost)!

We can also arrange other dates to suit your group, if you'd like to travel at a different time of the year (albeit without the formal Cathedral Cove swim event).


Note that are tour operators and we handle all your land arrangements. We do not book airfares for you, although we are happy to advise on flights. The key is that you need to be at Auckland Airport ready to leave on our transfer to the Coromandel at 3pm on Thursday, March 21. Return flights on Monday, March 25, should be booked to depart from 3pm. If you use flights that don't agree with these times, you may need to arrange your own transfers between the airport and Hahei.

cathedral cove kayak tour

Enquiries and bookings

When you wish to make enquiries, please first lodge an Enquiry Form to give us basic information to allow us to advise you accurately... Click here

When you're ready to book, please first check terms and conditions... Click here

When you've checked our Terms and Conditions, you will be ready to lodge your Booking Form... Click here

With enquiries... Click here

tatahi lounge 2brm 600
Digs at Hahei, Tatahi Lodge.

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Hellercamp Pty Ltd
PO Box 1164
NSW 2114

ABN 97 163 965 704

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