Nearby Whitianga is the town of Hahei, which has 2 main attractions - Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. Due to my trip planning I did not manage to visit Hot Water Beach. I later found out that summer isn't a good time to be digging your own thermal pool in the sand anyway. Now would be different though!
Cathedral Cove was featured in the second Narnia film - Prince Caspian. In case you don't remember (it was such a forgettable movie after all), watch the trailer and see where they are at 0:45:
It seems only in Narnia can kids run through the cove as in reality the place is cordoned off and declared unstable.
My experience continues after the jump.
The van dropped me off at the carpark at the beginning of the walking track. Premium options include a boat ride to the cove, but an easy 30 minute walk will get you there as well. This is what I see from the top of the carpark:
Walking down towards Cathedral Cove you'll pass by a few smaller coves as well. These are usually 10 minute detours you can take, but the main attraction is always the impressive Cathedral Cove.
A warning sign and thin rope is apparently not a deterrent to some people who walk through it anyway. I'm the kind of guy who colours within the lines, so of course I didn't take the risk.
The more impressive thing is the number of beach-goers there. So many pristine beaches around the Coromandel and these people take a 30 minute trek to get here for the same kind of sand and sun. I guess they tried to move away from the crowds but the crowd is definitely here.
I walked back to the carpark, but instead of going back up I continued along the track to Hahei Beach, a long strip of accessible beach. Pretty pretty views: