For Narnia - Facebook-2

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.

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Fast forward to October 2015 (if only you could bend time so easily in real life) and Lisa and I decided to make New Zealand the first stop on our world tour. Many people asked us why we made New Zealand our first stop. I usually gave one of two answers; first, it allows us to work our way back towards home, and second, I wanted to ensure that no matter what happened during our years of travel that I was able to scratch New Zealand off my bucket list.5   All I really wanted to say was that I really wanted to go there because it’s the home of Narnia and to a lesser extent Middle Earth – DUH. I refrained because people already thought we were crazy for what we were doing.

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

Keep up with our adventures through FacebookTwitter and Instagram to live vicariously through our travels! 

1. The Chronicles of Narnia is a set of seven books
2. I sadly never owned a 120 pack of crayons. My mom usually bought me the 32 pack and if taxes were kind to us the year before she might even splurge on the 64 pack. Even when I had the 64 pack I used to sit in awe as the 1 or 2 kids (usually the most popular) in the class would open up their 120 pack that came with its OWN FREAKING STORAGE BOX. I was sitting there like “dang son, you got outer space and antique brass in the pack?!” I still feel salty that I never made it into the 120 pack club.
3. I love kid movies and go to see them in theater often. Before I was married (I drag Lisa there with me now) I would always feel like a creep going to see them by myself.  Knowing that there would be many children I would make it a point to mind my own business, make no eye contact, and find a seat by myself in an effort to not weird any parents out… Now that I just wrote that I fit the profile of a weirdo to a T – #fail. I probably looked just like this:Adam Sandler in Billie Maddison
4.At the time I didn’t own a passport and the only country I had been to was Canada. I, like most Americans, with the exception of Michael Scott, do not consider visiting Canada international travel. (
5. Before you think I made this all about me, we already scratched London and Paris off of Lisa’s list a few years before. She agreed to let me have this one.  I married a wonderful woman!
6. Geeking Out: freaking out over something that could be considered nerdy/geeky and knowing it – Urban Dictionary
7. Nerdgasm – When one experiences subsequent events of nerdiness, fandom, or geekiness that causes a sensory overload, loss of bodily functions, and a climax deep within the brain, in the section that recognizes specific information concerning comic books, occult television shows, video games, or electronics that only a specific section of the population would actually know about. – Urban Dictionary
8. This is my default sensory overload reaction.  Surprise birthday party – push-ups, promotion at work – push-ups, Lisa says I do – pushups… I can’t help it, I’m weird.

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8 thoughts on “For Narnia! The Real Reason We Traveled to New Zealand ”

  1. Hey mate,

    I know your feelings about Cathedral Cove and Hahei – I spent all my summers there growing up. Family friends of mine still live up the hill.
    It’s a hell of a spot for sure. I always look forward to heading there to unwind.

    Incidentally, those family friends owned the land the hill top ruins were on. They watched the filming and got to wander around the set. Lucky beggars…

    Hope you’re still enjoying the trip!



  2. This is an amazing description of how you felt visiting this place and how it reminded you of Narnia. I am fascinated by that Movie also and can only imagine being in the same place it was filmed. I am glad to say that I know a couple that is truly living out their dreams!!! I also questioned why New Zealand too but now I have a vivid description. You and Lisa continue to amaze me with your writing skills that allow the words to literally lift off of the paper. The way you two tell stories is Breathtaking!!! Adding in the Videos and pictures just make it all the more REAL!!! I look forward to following you two on all the adventures. Have FUN and I look forward to the Book (I am sure electronic)!!! You two are AMAZING!!!

    1. Thank you for your kind words! Cathedral Cove was everything I had hoped it would be. If you ever have the opportunity I recommend you visiting.

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