Cape Reinga and the Far North

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September 20th 2011
Published: September 26th 2011
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Lie Wei and I finished work at around 3-ish pm on Monday and since weather forecast was going to be good on Tuesday, we (including her sis and Jie Min) decided to head to Cape Reinga, which is almost the most northen-most point in the North Island. The actual most northen point is actually Surville Cliff but Cape Reinga is probably more famous because it is the most scenic. It is about 280+ km north of Whangarei.

Cape Reinga is a very sacred place to the Maori people. It is believed that the spirits of the dead travel to Cape Reinga on their journey to the afterlife to leap off the headland and climb the roots of the 800 year old Pohutukawa tree and descend to the underworld to return to their traditional homeland of Hawaiiki-a-nui, using the Te Ara Wairua, the 'Spirits' pathway'.

We started our journey around 5.30pm from Whangarei and drove towards Ahipara to spend the night. I took the first drive shift and it was horrid! The roads are windy, it was raining and our wipers weren't good. I was glad when Lie Wei took over the wheel.

We chose Ahipara as it is one of the nearest towns to Cape Reinga (even then it is 135km away) and has one of the highest rated BBH hostels, called the Endless Summer Lodge which is just across the road from the 90 Mile Beach. The view from the hostel is just simple breathtaking! We arrived pretty late at our hostel having spend some time getting lost. NZ doesn't have very good signage despite being such a touristy place. We had a short night at the hostel.

The next morning we woke early and spent some time enjoying the hostel before setting off for the 90 Mile Beach. The 90 Mile Beach is actually only 55 miles and it stretches from Ahipara to Cape Reinga. We stopped near the start of it. We intended to drive on part of the 90 Mile Beach because you can do so since the sand is very compact but we already almost got stuck just driving a little bit onto the sand to park and take photos. Thanks to a good samaritan on a 4WD who stopped to pull us out.

Our next stop was one of the whitest beaches in the world, Rarawa Beach. It was quite pristinely white and stretches for quite a distance.

Then it was on to the sand dunes of Te Paki river where we spent a lot of energy scrambling up the sand dunes only to toboggan down in seconds. The sand dunes were a ton of fun though and completely worth the exhaustion!

Last but not least was Cape Reinga where the winds were so strong, we were all literally whipped in whatever direction it was blowing. If you were at the edge of the cliff, you may be blown over!

On the way back, we made a pitstop at the much talked about famous fish and chips place in Wangonui. It was the Wangonui Fish Shop. The fish and chips ($5.90 for a piece of fish and $2.40 for a side of chips) were delectable and we had it with a very expensive bowl of seafood chowder ($13.50). The batter was nice and crispy and despite being deep fried it was not too oily. As for the chowder, despite being so expensive it was worth the cost because it was loaded with chunks of fish, scallops and prawns.

We drove back pretty late in the night so it was another challenging drive back through country roads with no street lamps. Thanks to the dedicated drivers of this trip, the sisters, Lie Wei and Lie Yee!

(Sand boarding pics to follow from Jie Min's camera.)

Additional photos below
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Our dinner!Our dinner!
Our dinner!

Fish and chips with seafood chowder.

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