Henderson Bay, NZ

Trip Start Jun 11, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Our first morning at the hostel, it's nice to know we're staying somewhere for a month.
Our first job today is to travel to Cape Reinga and do some sight-seeing, cool eh.
The Cape is about 50 mins from the hostel, the tarmac road of highway 1 turns into a gravel track all the way to the Cape, it's the most northern point that you can get in a car. It was a really nice day but windy on the tops. We walked to the lighthouse, I got a photo of Rob holding the lighthouse in his palm. We saw the guy with his son again they'd done a tour up 90 mile beach. We did a short walk over the cliff tops which was good especially as the track had gotten a bit overgrown and we had to work our way through in some areas. We had lunch back in the car park, which had become really busy with coaches.
We drove down the next road we came to which took us to Tapotupotu, a lovely Bay with a white beach that was really pretty if a bit busy, further around the bay was a camp site that is really cheap, you pay on an honesty system and there is cold running water and eco-loos and not much else than the view. We headed back to the No 1.
The next road we turned onto took us to the largest sand dunes in NZ. You can go sand boarding here, we forgot to bring the board from the hostel, but you can hire them there. We didn't try it as Roberts dislike of having sand in every orifice made him disinclined to give it a go and I was put off by the hike up the bloody things in order to board down it. It did look awesome though and there were plenty folk trying it out.
This is also where the stream is that you have to drive down to get on the most northern point of 90 mile beach. John was telling us that it's great to watch tourists going down here because if they stop they sink and get stuck, however some know about this and panic and drive too fast and cover their car in salt water. Unfortunately there were no takers today so we were unable to partake of this spectator event.
Our next deviation from the main road was to Kapowairua which is on Spirits Bay. This was about 13km on more gravel track but the views on the way were amazing. At the end of the road you drive through another honesty camp site along side the river which has horses running around in the field opposite, park up, climb the stile and walk over the bell -shaped, pale-pink flower covered (lower) sand dunes to the beach. Where there is an almost deserted beach in a cute little bay. (I'm sure that it will get busier into the summer season, but it's nice right now).
Our next jaunt was just back up the gravel road, and a left turn before hitting back onto the main road, to Te Hapua. This is a Maori village and was, I hate to admit, a little intimidating. As we drove over the winding road to it was passed a car, just like ours, that had obviously been rolled and was in a bad way (we took photos, of course). Then as we drove into the village itself, we saw a horse running crazily through gardens and across the road, through what look like, a scrap-yard on some ones lawn that had a fire burning in the middle of it. We drove along the harbour edge passing houses in various states of repair to a small wharf where we turned around and drove back. Before we left the village we decided to make a left turn down a dead-end street and was waved at by a bloke tending his garden, which was nice. This ended at some private land that looked really nice and we passed a lovely horse that posed for it's photo.
Time was now getting on as we needed to be back at the hostel for dinner by 6pm. However we decided to make one last turn off and found ourselves past a place called Paua. We went right to the end of the road which was on a point in the Parengarenga Harbour (Te Hapua was to the left across the bay), the white pure silica sand dunes were right in front of us and it was so peaceful here. We met Len & Jen who were camping and fishing (with bow and arrows!) for a while. We chatted to them and it was so nice and they were so friendly. When we left they gave us two Mullet to take with us. How nice was that. Although we did have to find something to wrap them in and have them in the car for 30 mins whilst we got back to the hostel!!!
We got back to the hostel at 5:30 pm. Had dinner, watched War of the Worlds then hit the sack. We're up early to watch the sunrise.....
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