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February 12th 2013
Published: February 17th 2013
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Our stay in Whangarei is, sadly, coming to an end; so we decided for our last excursion to go by coach to Cape Reinga, the most northern point of New Zealand. “The name of the cape comes from the Māori word 'Reinga', meaning the 'Underworld'. Another Māori name is 'Te Rerenga Wairua', meaning the leaping-off place of spirits. Both refer to the Māori belief that the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the after-life.” (I paraphrase from Wikipedia). It is also the place where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea; seen from the lighthouse the overfalls and whirlpools are spectacular as the two seas struggle for dominance.

On our way we stopped of at the ancient Kauri forest to hug some 2000-year old trees.

Sometimes it's best to let the pictures tell the tale and I hope that the photographs do it justice. Suffice it to say that Cape Reinga is one of the most beautiful and majestic places we have ever had the pleasure to visit.

On our way back to the nearest town, Kaitaia, we stopped off at the Te Paki stream sand dunes for a bit of dune surfing and, yes, muggins had a go. The dunes are over 100 feet high so it is possible to build up quite a lick on the way down. The cardinal rule is not to let go of the board but this is easier said than done as the dunes are quite bumpy – moghuls?. The first time I did come off just before the stream that acts as a braking zone and ended up with sand everywhere, and I mean everywhere. The second time was better but by then I was completely knackered from climbing up the dunes so called it a day. We finished by driving back along 90 mile beach – which is actually about 56 km long. On the way our coach driver did his good deed for the day pulling out a Subaru well and truly stuck in a soft patch.

Additional photos below
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