This morning was another early start, with a pick up time from Pipi Patch at 7:15am. We rolled out of bed, packed our bags and got on the Bus headed to Cape Reinga. Cape Reinga is the most norther point in New Zealand where you can see the Pacific Ocean meet the Tasman Sea.
The itinerary for this day trip included:
A walk through a 1000 year old Kauri Forest
A drive down a 90 mile beach
Indulging in New Zealand’s Best Fish & Chips
This trip is included in some of the Kiwi passes (It was included in mine which is the Whole Kit and Caboodle) however, it can also be purchased for $212 as part of the Bay & Cape Add on and I would highly recommend it.
The first stop we made was at the Puketi Kauri Forest, this forest is home to New Zealand’s native plants, including the famous Silver Fern and Kauri Trees. The Kauri trees live up to 2000 years and are amongst some of the mightiest in the world, they can grow to over 50m tall and have trunks girths of up to 16m! The walk around the forest was brief, yet breathtaking. The trees project a sense of wisdom and authority, and as you walk alongside them you can’t help but be in awe of their presence. The trail we were asked to follow was a short one, allowing us a break of about 15 minutes after which we jumped back on the bus, headed for the next stop.
We were particularly lucky with the weather and as we made our way downhill towards the beach, the views were spectacular. By the time we got to the coast, it was midday. As Cape Reinga is a very spiritual and sacred place for the Mauri people, you are not allowed to consume food on site, subsequently, the Bus Driver stopped at a small beach 5 minutes away from Cape Reinga, here we were able to stretch our legs, take some pictures of the beautiful beach and eat some lunch.
Once we finally reached Cape Reinga after lunch, the Bus Driver explained that the reason this location is such a special place, is because the Mauri people believe it to be the gate into the afterlife through which all the souls that have travelled up the coast, cross over to return to the land of their ancestors.
Aside from the Spiritual significance of this place, it is also the location where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea, creating a swirl of currents…As it is all water, in reality it isn’t that easy to see the meeting point, however, the two seas are different shades of blue so on a day with good weather it is possible to catch a glimpse of where one ends and the other begins. There is also a lighthouse, which is a common New Zealand icon. It isn’t a working light house and it is not open to the public, however it makes for some pretty nice pictures!
Next it was time for a bit of action with a drive down a 90 mile beach followed by Sandboarding! Sandboarding is similar to surfing or bodyboarding except you are on sand instead of water! We had caught a glimpse of the dunes on the drive down to Cape Reinga, but once we actually reached them, the view was incredible. Huge mountains of red sand stood before us, ready to be scaled. On the way to the sand dunes, the bus driver had done a good job of scaring all of the girls on the bus by explaining how the boards pick up quite a bit of speed on the way down and that if you fall off them you risk seriously injuring yourself in the form of dislocated shoulders, broken bones and the like. By the time we were given a board and asked to queue up, a few os us were well and truly petrified. This certainly wasn’t helped by the fact that a few of the boys were literally flying down the Dunes at the speed of light - I am not going to lie, I almost turned around opting to be boring and safe than fun and daring…but, one of the things I have promised myself on this trip is that I will challenge myself in every way possible, so with that in mind and board in hand, off I went down the sand Dune.
By the time I got to the bottom of the sand Dune I wanted to do it all over again! It was SOOOOO much fun! I don’t know what I was scared of. Which is why ladies and gentlemen, it is true that more often than not, it pays off to push yourself out of the comfort zone!
Following all the action, we had all worked up an appetite. We headed back towards Paihia but not before stopping off at Manganui’s famous Fish & Chip shop where we indulged in one of New Zealand’s best Fish & Chips (or Fush & Chups as the Kiwis would say). The secret to the award winning Fish & Chips is that first and foremost it is caught fresh every day from the local boat, secondly it is cooked in beef dripping! (not recommended for pescatarians/vegetarians!….or anyone looking after their wasteline!) I must admit, it was delicious and you could tell that the Fish was fresh BUT good old English fish & chips is just as scrumptious.
After a day of beautiful views and fun activities, we returned to Paihia with full bellies and eager to discover what other amazing experiences await us in New Zealand.