As an adult, especially over the past few years, I have been an avid reader. As a teenager, most of my reading was sports related and consisted of the local sports section and Sports Illustrated. The two books I remember enjoying most as a teenager were the Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley and the Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.1 While reading the books I remember imagining what Narnia looked like with its talking animals and otherworldly landscape. The adjective that always came to mind was vibrant. In my mind, the blues were the bluest hues, and the greens covered the entire 20 color range of the Crayola crayons 120 pack2 – both then and now Crayola crayons is the only way I articulate color.
Fast forward a few years and in December of 2005 at the tender age of 20 I giddily entered into a theatre full of children3 to watch the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe . I LOVED the movie as it was the first movie I could recall that brought to life a childhood memory exactly how I imagined it. I would have to wait two more years until the first Transformers movie came out to experience this again. After being blown away by the beauty of the landscape in the movie I had to know where it was filmed. I learned that many of the scenes were filmed in New Zealand, a country that I knew very little about at that time. By the time I watched the second film in the series, Prince Caspian, New Zealand had moved to the top of my bucket list.4 In Prince Caspian, the transport to Narnia scene, in particular, stood out to me. I remember thinking how incredible it must be to walk out of a perfectly formed rock arch and onto such a beautiful beach.
Once we began traveling around New Zealand my inner fanboy continually geeked out.6 Everywhere you go looks like Narnia or Middle Earth and it was almost too much to handle. When a fellow traveler recommended visiting Cathedral Cove I quickly Googled it and then froze. To my amazement, it was the same location that Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy were transported to in the Prince Caspian movie. There was no doubt that we had to visit.
Driving to Cathedral Cove takes you through, over, and around some of the most beautiful landscape you’ll ever see. While driving through the mountains is an adventure of its own – especially for those of us accustomed to driving on the right side of the road – it is pleasant none the less. Once you arrive on the Coromandel Peninsula you simply follow the signs to Cathedral Cove. Parking can be tight, but if you can find a space close to the entrance you are in for a scenic 2.5 km roundtrip walk. At my first view of the rock arch, I basically had a nerdgasm.7 Lisa, not being a fan of the Narnia books or movies could not understand why she was witnessing me wiping drool off my chin, skipping down the beach, twirling and throwing sand in the air, doing excitement pushups8, running back up the beach yelling “For Narnia”, and trying to have conversations with the wildlife – only 5 of those 6 things are true. The truth is, the experience was everything I had hoped for and more! The weather was perfect, the sky was blue, the greens were all 20 shades of the Crayola 120 pack, and it looked just like the movies minus the cliff top ruins. After all of the excitement and pictures, I sat there on the beach reflecting on how blessed I was to no longer have to be transported to Narnia through the words of C.S Lewis or an IMAX screen. I was there and living it and my experience was as magical as my dream. Now if I could only find the talking animals.
A few tips when visiting Cathedral Cove:
- Parking can be tight so get there early or on an off-peak day (Monday-Thursday) or be prepared to walk even further.
- Bring Walking shoes – the hike is roughly (1 hour 30 minutes return/round trip)
- Bring a towel
- Bring food and water as there is nowhere to purchase it on or near the beach
- Check the tide schedule
- You will want to bring a camera
- You can snorkel at the beach but will need to bring your own gear
- If you don’t like or want to hike you can also kayak in. There are multiple kayak tours available in the area.
- For more information about visiting the beach click here