Cape Reinga

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January 1st 2016
Published: February 9th 2016
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Friday January 1 - Today we continued our journey north, stopping in Cooper's Beach in Doubtless Bay along the way. The weather was not very good - a lot of wind and rain. The van kept blowing to the side and Jeroen had to make constant corrections. We stopped at a store that sold wooden objects made from Kauri trees that died and were buried in the swamp 45,000 years ago. Pretty amazing. The Kauri (cow-ry) tree is the largest and most famous tree from New Zealand. They are enormous but there are so few of them left now. Inside the shop they had a staircase that was built through an old kauri tree that is priced at $2.5 million! From there we continued up to Cape Reinga, the northernmost point of New Zealand, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. It is quite a spiritual place for the Mauri, the leaping-off place for the souls of the departed. I expected it to be quite amazing and dramatic, and with so much wind and rain, it definitely met the dramatic standards. We ate lunch in the van in the smallish parking lot, and watched as a family let their car door fly loose into the side of our van, as the wind took it. Jeroen got them back and we had a look and exchanged info, just in case, but nothing came of it in the end. At this point it was still very windy and misty, but the rain had stopped, which made the walk to the point much easier. It was a kilometer to get to the lighthouse, which I had completely forgotten existed, since it was so misty we couldn't see it until we were almost there. We could barely see the water where the oceans met, but it was still very cool. We had considered spending the night nearby, but since the weather was still bad, we decided it would be worth it to continue south. We drove as far as Ahipara and stayed there for the night. At the holiday park we cooked dinner, and then a large family having a reunion invited us to join them with their meal, since they had so much food. Jeroen declined, but I joined them for some dessert. They were from New Zealand mostly, but the ones I chatted with, Bec, Mary and Caleb, were living in Australia. It was really nice to invite me to join them, and I appreciated it.

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