Cape Reinga - Rising Roads

Cape Reinga and Giant Te Paki Dunes

Cape Reinga is not quite the most northern point of New Zealand, North Cape’s Surville Cliffs hold this title by a smidgen, but it can lay claim to where an ocean and a sea meet, namely the Pacific and the Tasmin. Jono and I took turns driving there, three hours north of Paihia. They say a picture tells a thousand words, so have a look.

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IMG_1639The now automated lighthouse at the cape, built in 1941 and last manned in 1987

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IMG_1654The little blurred dot on the side of the distant cliff at Cape Reinga is the ‘ancient tree’, though I’ve no idea how ancient ancient is. However, pohutukawa trees have been known to live for a thousand years

Sea Meeting - Rising RoadsThe Tasmin Sea on the left meeting the Pacific Ocean as seen at Cape Reinga. In Moari tradition the two seas are male and female coming together to make love. Sweet as!

IMG_1626The odd mixture of wetlands, grassy hills, sand dunes, and ocean (with a grinning idiot thrown in for good measure) all within a mile of one another at Cape Reinga

Within a kilometre or so of Cape Reinga is the Te Paki sand dunes: beautiful to look at and a lot of fun to slide down on a bodyboard. You can rent a board by the dunes for 15 dollars but we got one at a farmhouse on the way for a little cheaper. There are a few signs for them on the way, the going rate being ten dollars. Make sure you check your board before you accept it; a lot of them have scores on the bottom caused by stones which renders them slow, and that’s the last thing you want.

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Another word of advice: DO NOT sit on your board. Jono and I both learnt this the hard way. We started with the steepest dune (another mistake), sat upright on our boards and pushed ourselves off. I nearly lost control halfway down but managed to straighten up just in time. We both landed in a heap at the bottom, our eyes, nose and mouths full of sand. The correct way is to lie on your board and go down the slope head-first, that way you don’t get sand in your face and you can use your feet as brakes if it gets too hairy.

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The trip is available on Kiwi Experience, but if you are travelling independently, without transport, ask around in the hostels at the Bay of Islands. There is always someone going and most backpackers are glad to give you a lift if you chip in for fuel. I’ve heard people on Kiwi Experience say they feel that they were rushed a bit, especially at the Te Paki dunes, so if you can tag along with others, do.

This trip is probably the cheapest fun I’ve had in New Zealand. Really amazing scenery too, which my camera doesn’t quite do justice. Definitely recommend.

If anyone else has been, let me know what you thought in the comments below. Cheers!