The Very Top

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Day : 213
Temperature : 25 degrees
Weather : Cloudy, sunny, windy, calm, drizzly, rainy

A few kilometres south of Cape Reinga, lies the Te Paki Giant Sand Dunes. These are by far the largest dunes we have ever seen, and the perfect place for a spot of sand boarding!

Despite my best persuasive attempts however, Kevin had decided to give the sand boarding a miss, as he was too worried about his knee. For those of you who aren't aware, Kevin managed to dislocate his knee cap a few months ago whilst we were half way up a mountain trekking in Nepal, leaving only myself, and Renske (a Dutch girl who we were trekking with) to help poor Kevin hobble back down the mountain to safety as night was falling. It was a bit of a situation, and so Kevin was understandably feeling somewhat cautious about the prospect of hurtling head first, on a plastic board, down an incredibly steep dune at frightening speed, using only his legs to steer!

I however, was well up for it, having figured out where the nearest hospital was, and feeling confidently reassured that we had a very good travel insurance policy. And so fully loaded up with my surf board, or sand board, and my set of instructions, we headed up into the dunes.

If these dunes looked large from a distance, they loomed twice as large close up, and the first task was to actually climb to the top of one of these monsters. Easier said than done. The sand was so soft, that every time you stepped up, your foot would slide back down probably 80% of the distance you had moved it, leading to an exhaustive, heart pounding, lung burning, muscle throbbing, 10 minute climb to the top.  I would have paid a lot of money for someone to carry me up there!

By the time I finally reached the top I was absolutely pooped, and so Kevin’s shouts from below, "Come on! What you doing?" resulted in a response from me something along the lines of “ actually dear I’m just a little tired, so give me a minute to get my breath and I’ll be right there”…except not quite so polite!

Once sufficiently recovered, I positioned my board and lay down on it. It looked awfully steep from up here too. I pushed with my feet a little to get me going over the edge, and then gradually I gathered speed. I got faster, and faster, and faster, as I plunged alarmingly down the dune at breakneck speed, screaming like a banshee, past a startled Kevin, with plumes of billowing sand trailing behind me, until I finally and miraculously came to a stop with my body parts intact, shaking and laughing uncontrollably, at the bottom of the dune some distance away. Now that was fun, if not a teeny bit dangerous. And the fun continued for another hour and a half until I could walk no more and I figured that I was now pushing my luck as far as accidents go.

By the time we handed back the sand board the weather was turning, and when we arrived at our campsite the bay was shrouded in fog and light drizzle. That was fine though, we were both too tired to do anything else.

The following morning the weather was still pants, but we made our way to the Cape Reinga Lighthouse nonetheless. We should have been afforded wonderful views of the cliffs and the sea, but nope, the visibility was about 20 metres.  We decided to leave and head back south again, but were surprised to discover the difference in the weather in only a few miles, as the clouds had cleared giving great views of the dunes once again. We decided to stop and walk down the Te Paki Stream towards the beach.  When we arrived at the sea we saw several buses driving up the beach towards us…..the tourist buses were arriving. We sat on the dunes and watched the huge waves break out at sea. After a while we noticed a family of two adults and three children with age ranges from about 10 to 16 walking down the beach. We said hello as we passed each other and they carried on further up the beach. Kevin and I decided to walk up onto the nearest dune to take some photos, and the next thing I heard Kevin say was, “Dom, don’t look now but they’ve got no clothes on!!” I of course immediately turned round to see them all entirely starkers! They walked back past us towards the stream and Kevin and I became engrossed in our camera, not wanting to make eye contact! You can imagine! It was very odd, here we were on miles and miles of deserted beach, and they decided to remove all their clothes right in front of us! After about 10 minutes we decided to walk back down the dune onto the beach, but as we looked up we could see from our vantage point that a tourist bus was heading straight up the beach. By the time the nudist family noticed the bus it was heading straight for them and getting closer every second. The ensuing scene was hilarious as the five of them fled from the stream, but there was no available cover and as the bus passed 20 metres away all the bus passengers were staring with amusement out of their windows!

Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos for you all, since the family were running directly towards us away from the oncoming bus and I didn’t think I could be subtle enough to point the camera in their direction and snap away…it would have made a great picture though! You’ll just have to use your imaginations!
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • Please enter a comment.
  • Please provide your name.
  • Please avoid using symbols in your name.
  • This name is a bit long. Please shorten it, or avoid special characters.
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


Tony on

Looks truly bootiful!!!! Try and ring christmas day night team? I will be from 5.30pm our time.

Renske on

Looks great! Makes me think about the sand dunes in Mongolia!

nomadic-brands on

Ton - we will definitely call on Christmas day after 5.30pm..will just need to work out what time it will be in Rarotonga! :-)
Renske - So great to hear from you!! It's lovely to see your comments on the blog :-) I will send you an email and fill you in on all our news. Hope you are well and all ready for Christmas :-) xx

Eileen on

How much are flights to Ratatonga ??

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: