Cape Reinga via Ninety-Mile Beach

Trip Start Feb 01, 2006
Trip End Jun 04, 2007

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Saturday, March 25, 2006

The coach picked me up at 9.15am this morning for the journey up to Cape Reinga, which is the northernmost point of NZ accessible by car. Our first stop was in the town of Awanui for a morning tea break at the Ancient Kauri kingdom, which has a show room selling souvenirs and furniture made of ancient Kauri wood. Most of the wood is carbon-dated to about 30,000-50,000 years old. The Kauri tree is protected, so most of the wood is recovered from trees that have already fallen in swamps.

We then headed further North via Ninety Mile beach, which is actually only 64 miles long. But is a public highway so you are able to drive along it. From what the driver told and showed us it seems the drive is a fairly dangerous one to make by yourself in a car, and there was definitely evidence of this! Also if you choose to make the journey up the beach in a rental car, it probably isn't covered in the insurance. As the beach is banked by sand dunes, there are large stretches of the beach where there is no exit. The area is also very remote, so if you do get stuck, by the time anyone comes to help you, the tide will probably already have come in. Our coach even helped pull another large bus which had gotten stuck in the sand. We exited ninety mile beach at the Te Paki Stream to see the sand Dunes. There was an option to boogie board down the dunes (which I'm afraid I wasn't brave enough to try!).

After a lunch stop at a beautiful bay, we made the rest of the journey to the Cape. From the Cape you can also see where the Tasman Sea and the pacific Ocean meet. Today it was fairly calm, but apparently it can be quite spectacular when the seas are rougher.The Maori believe that after death, Maori spirits travel up Ninety Mile Beach to Cape Reinga to the pohutukawa tree at the Northernmost point of the Cape. The spirits then slide down the roots of the tree into the sea and travel to the land of their ancestors. There is a lighthouse based as the Cape as well as a postbox to send some souvenir postcards from. There is also a cheesy sign showing how many miles you are from lots of cities around the world. It was a really enjoyable day and I would really recommend making the trip.
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