Thursday, 3 July 2014

Day 4 Cape Reinga

Today definitely didn’t go as planned but it so fun regardless!

I woke up with my heart pounding (after dreaming I missed my bus) to the sound of heavy rainful. Not the best start when you’re heading to 90mile beach! Today I was going up the most northerly point of the ‘Far North’ of Cape Reigna.

After completely changing what I was planning to wear, I ventured out in the dismally grey and rainy weather. This part of the country regularly gets droughts and most of the time when it rains it’s just a shower, they maybe have 1, possible 2, full days of rain a year. Guess what? I got one of those days of relentless rain. The one plus side is it really wasn’t cold at all

After waiting a few minutes (they were late obviously) I surprised to see a small 4x4 van thing pull up instead of the usual bus. Apparently I was getting a personalised tour as it was just me, the tour guide (Stephan) and two French Canadians in the back seat!
Turns out the bus broke down yesterday, and there was only us 3 booked in so they just used their ‘pick up’ van.  We did quite a few stops along the way, as Stephen was determined to fill us in on every last detail of the place’s history, from the gumdigging days, it’s ‘dalmanic’ culture to today’s incomes and agricultural back bone.

 I also found out what plant makes the manuka honey! It’s the same bush we get tea tree oil from! Who knew? Although you definitely can’t taste tea tree in the honey, it does explain the… ‘freshness’ of the honey. I wish I could bring some back for you to try but 1. It’s really expensive and 2. I don’t think I’d be able to get through customs!

(Wegner Inlet)
We stopped at Wegner’s, that sits next to a beautiful little inlet, the tide was in but it was really beautiful and luckily the rain stopped for the 10 minutes or so we had to wander about. I still love all the random little islands New Zealand has just jutting out of every coastline here

There was a constant stream of chatter in the car that only abated when we got to RaWar Beach. Photos really don’t do this place justice, but the sand is silica, so it’s very white, and very very fine. It actually squeaks when you walk on it! I began to realise that although the tour was going to be beautiful, it was a real shame the weather was so lousy as I could easily have spent longer pottering about if the rain hadn’t been lashing down.
 A sample of the views we saw on the drive - look at those hills!
One of the Bays we stopped at
From there we drove through some incredible mangroves and truly beautiful scenery, dodging the massive logging trucks that run up and down. Some of them even had a car driving a minute or so in front with a massive flashing light on it’s hood saying ‘extra wide load coming’.
We stopped at a few more points but we didn’t get out too often as it was getting windier, we did get out for lunch though at an amazing bay was the perfect picnicking spot!

We ate lunch before going to Cape Reinga as you can’t eat, or bring foot onto the site as it’s a sacred place for the Maori. Maori believe their deceased’s spirits come to jump into the sea and leave this land, and as you enter the grounds a horn is blown which definitely gives you goose bumps!

 A very blustery photo of me at Cape Reinga! I wanted to get one down at the lighthouse but it was FAR to windy, I barely managed to stand up!
The rocks where Maori Spirits are said to lead NZ
The wind had really picked up, and going down to the lighthouse was… interesting. Unperturbed by the wind I also climbed the hill next to the lighthouse, but I didn’t stay at the top very long to enjoy the view of the Tasman and Pacific ocean merging as it just didn’t feel safe with the wind being so strong and there being nothing but a sheer drop into the rocks if I lost my balance.
From here we headed down the sandy West Coast, which is the polar opposite to the rugged East cost we drove up. To get to the 90 Mile beach we just drove straight through a stream! We were driving through the water for about 20 minutes, and it was actually kind of fun!
One minute we were driving through the trees and the next we were faced with massive sand dunes! Despite the weather, all three of us truddled out the car, grabbed the boards, and proceeded to climb the dunes in the wind and the rain determined to bogey board down the dunes!
Sliding down the dunes was actually a lot more fun than I expected! And definitely worth being covered in sand and dripping wet by the time I got back to the car.

After that Stephen took us right up to the beginning of the 90mile beach and then drove down the length of it, stopping a couple of times for particularly beautiful views or to navigate some of the many streams that pour out from the forest. Driving along the beach was also a bit of an experience! Apparently the trick is to just not stop moving!
We finished off the day with a stop at Kauri Kingdom, they sell all sorts made form Kauri wood, which is massive trees that have been preserved for over 45,000 years! To put that in perceptive they’ve been underground since the ice age! The highlight was definitely the massive staircase carved out of the trunk of one tree – that’s how big they were!

It was a really fun day, and I’m so glad I managed to fit in the time to do it, I just wish the weather had been a little nicer!
(I'm updating from a library so I'll maybe add in some better photos etc later)

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