The Top of New Zealand
06.01.2014 - 07.01.2014 30 °C
Paihia - Cape Reinga - Ahipara (337km/209m)
Up early the day and we had a long drive a head of us to "The Top of New Zealand at Cape Reinga This is the furtherest north point of New Zealand and the place where Maori believe their souls go to leave the Earth. The drive was long and amazing, but with some more incredible scenery along the way.
Once we arrived at the very full carpark, we took the 20 minute walk to the lighthouse marking the furthest point you can walk and could see where the Pacific meets the Tasman Sea - it was really cool to see!
A quick lunch stop in a lay-by (surprisingly not ham and cheese but the cheaper option of tuna sandwiches) with more amazing views.
We drove to the Sand Dunes at the North end of 90 mile beach. These were amazing and not what we had expected at all, we have been to some in Wales but these are supersized. At 100 metres high and covering 7 sq/km you feel like you are in the Sahara, it just keeps on going and with it being a lovely hot day (much to Nick’s delight) we had beautiful blue skies contrasting against the bright yellow sands. For $15 (£7.50) you could hire a body board and go down the huge slops.
Taking many photos, Nick taking a sun-bathing stop (not really!) and racing each other down the huge hills.
We got back in the car and drove to the other end of 90 mile beach. Sadly we couldn’t drive along the beach like so many others, as we didn’t have a 4WD and later we were glad we didn’t try as we saw someone being towed out driving a hatchback. The beach was good to see though as it just didn’t end and had tyre marks where everyone had driven, this is actually a registered highway (you do have to be careful though as many people get caught out in high tide and have to abandon their car).
Just 30 minutes down the winding roads and we were at our next stop for the night Ahipara and the Ahipara Holiday Park. A lovely little campsite/youth hostel/motel and at $56 (£28) a night exactly what we needed. It was a short stroll to Shipwreck Beach from the hostel and even though it was 16:00 the sun was still hot and shining so we stopped for a spot of sunbathing and a paddle before dinner and the next part of our trip.