Cape Reinga - north isle
Trip Start Jun 24, 2008
64Trip End Oct 17, 2009
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Left for the cape in pouring rain.
Drove as far as Whangarei, about 1/2 way up and stayed the night in a road-side car park next to a tourist information booth. It was a bit noisy but no serious disturbances. One noticeable difference from Australia is an absense of the anti-social behaviour we had come to expect (such as wheelspinning fast cars up and down every street on the continent and blowing horns by every camper spotted at night).
It is worth a mention here that the New Zealanders seem to live gracefully alongside the Mauri indigenous people. The contrast between them and the indigenous of Australia could not be more stark. Aboriginals are clearly marginalised and although accepted by government as in need, they don't appear to be welcome by white australia in their own land!
We were shocked by the level of alcoholism and associated problems within their divided communities
Our journey north continued the following day in fair weather.
We stopped on the long 90 mile road between the town of Kaitaia and the cape to pick up 2 hitchhikers. Johannus and Andrea were from Germany and were walking to the cape when we offered them a lift. Lucky for them as they were a good 20 miles south and there was nearly no other traffic. We all arrived late in the afternoon and were greeted with a lovely set of views east, west and north.
We walked down from the car park on the top of the hill, following the windy path to the light house about 1 mile on the edge of the cape. The 2 seas converge off this abutment and sometimes they merge at different levels as the strong currents draw them up differing sides of the country causing a turbulent wash extending towards the northern horizon.
Not today though.
Our guests suggested use of the nearby dept. of conservation camp site and, since the light was fading by the time we'd returned to the car park, took this good advice.
The 4th night in NZ was spent by the beach in Tapotupotu Bay. Our first taste of the fabulous wilderness of this place. Apart from 6 backpackers in tents and us in our van there was no other residents in this remote camp site laid by the Pacific ocean in a broad bay nestled between 1000m high hills.
A river flowed past to the sea 100 metres away and the rolling surf was a gentle reminder that we were 100's of miles from city life, in a place where peace came first.