Cape Reinga

 

Cape Reinga  is the most northwestern tip of the Aupouri Peninsular, at the northern end of the North Island of New Zealand; it is located more than 100 kilometers north of the nearest small town, Kaitaia, where I had spent the night before my drive there……..its name comes from the Maori word Reinga, meaning the underworld; another Maori name for it is “Te Rerenga Wairua”………meaning the leaping-off place of spirits, both are a reference to the Maori belief that the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld………….the scale and beauty of the place, certainly generate a feeling of great power, and the mystery of surrounding legends cannot help but enhance the value of visiting this beautiful place………..

 

I drove north on Highway 1, which since 2010 will take you all the way to the cape on a good surface of tarmac…………it is possible to drive most of the way on “ninety mile beach”  (which is exactly what it says it is)………….so I took the turning to the beach and drove tentatively onto its vast expanse……….a local couple were just coming off the beach in their 4wd and I stopped them for advice; they told me that the tide was starting to come in and although it was still a couple of hours from high tide, they did not think it was a good idea to attempt it in a 2wd car……….the main risk was that the incoming tide would force me too high up the beach onto the soft dry sand where the car would lose traction and get stuck……………….any small amount of bravado that I was clinging to disappeared and I turned back to Highway 1

 

Once I got to the cape, I spent a couple of hours there, just wandering around and sitting and breathing in the incredible panorama; I tried to get a few photographs that would somehow convey the feeling of  visiting Cape Reinga, but it was a hopeless task, no two dimensional image could ever get close to portraying this special place on earth………….so, sorry, you’ll just have to pay a visit…….

I left feeling extremely elated, and privileged to have spent some special time at Cape Reinga, and as I pulled out of the car park onto the seemingly deserted Highway 1, wondering where I would be at the end of the day, an old yellow and white VW camper van came round the bend towards me, as if to fill in the last remaining colours of my paint by numbers daydream

 

 

The entrance to “Ninety mile beach”

Stairway to heaven, well, to the huge sand-dunes at the back of “Ninety mile beach”

The perpetually deserted Highway 1, about 30 kilometres from Cape Reinga………….

 

It’s a long way home…………18,029 kilometres………

 

 

Cape Reinga is also the point where the Tasman Sea collides with the full force of the Pacific Ocean, creating surf and white water that is not flowing into the shoreline in the usual way……………swimming there might be a bit demanding…………..

 

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