Ninety Mile Beach & Cape Reinga
Apr 12, 2011
|This was a great trip, the hotel staff tried to discourage us from doing it ourselves. They strongly advised going on the bus tour instead. Rental cars are not allowed on the beach but we had our trusty Land Cruiser thanks to Denise and Murray.
We are way to independent to take the bus and are really glad we didn't! We arrived just after low tide. Followed a bus onto the beach and stopped alongside for pictures. We visited with the driver for a bit and he took our picture for us. "Just follow my tracks!", he said.
The beach was the best road in NZ. Sixty miles of straight hard-pack with a 60 MPH speed limit. We saw several buses and they were all traveling at least sixty. One SUV passed us that was probably going 70 MPH.
We stopped several times, once to investigate a dead seal that was up on the dry sand. Turned ou it was just sleeping! By the look on it's face I guess 10' is a little closer than it liked. Oh well, got nice close ups anyway.
At the end of the beach you drive up a creek about a mile to exit the beach. Before reaching the gravel road we came upon many large sand dunes, three buses were parked and their passengers were sledding down the dunes.
After this we drove out to the cape so we could see the Northern most part of NZ. This was really awesome. The Tasman Sea and the Pacific merge and there is quite a churning of water where they meet. I have posted a photo, hopefully you will be able to see the action of the water. We spent about an hour here as it was about a half mile walk to the lighthouse.
Upon our return to the lighthouse we saw and talked to the bus driver for the fourth time today. I wondered how he got behind us after we followed him out of the dunes and he said they took a little side trip down the mountain to a small bay for lunch, He recommended we do the same which we did. He also recommended that we stop later at Te Kao for New Zealand's biggest ice cream cone. Linda had two scoops, amazing! Unfortunately I had a strawberry shake, one scoop of vanilla with strawberry milk. Very thin and not very good. I dumped half of it a few miles down the road. Thank you Linda for sharing your cone with me!
An hour down the road we stopped in Awanui at Kauri Kingdom to look at he Kauri wood products they had on display. Believe it or not, the bus driver is here with his load of tourist. He showed us where the buses wash the salt off so thanks again to him for his advise. This wash even had a in ground sprayers to clean the underside. The Land Cruiser is still dirty but the salt is gone.
Inside was an amazing display of Kauri wood. They had a couch made from it and there was a tree about 8' in diameter standing in the room that had a circular staircase cut into it leading to the next floor. Pictures hardly to do justice to the beauty of it.
For those interested here is a link for Kauri wood:
After this we made a hasty trip back to Paihia arriving just at dusk. What a GREAT DAY!