November 15th, 2008 – by: Rubbertoe
Cape Reinga Lighthouse
I enjoyed driving along these beautiful roads so much that I decided to carry on to Cape Reinga all in the same day. One of the guide-books I was carrying is the ‘New Zealand Motorcycle Atlas’ and it highlights the best roads giving you information about what to see along them. It also shows where to find camp sites and motor home parks, and I could see there were a few where I was heading, so the plan was to reach Cape Reinga and spend the night there.
Waitiki Landing is the last stop where you can refuel, the road then forks.
I took the left turn to Cape Reinga and had to put up with 20 odd km of unsealed road. It was well worth it, and the views from the big hill overlooking the lighthouse were amazing. From up there you can see all around you, about 300 degrees of the Tasman Sea meeting the Pacific Ocean, and the rest is mainland, quite spectacular. I didn’t pay attention to this detail but apparently you can see a clear divide where the ocean meets the sea. I checked out the camp sites but realised I didn’t have anything to eat with me and it wasn’t that late, so I turned back and headed south towards Kaitaia. I wanted to make a left turn and step foot on North Cape, the northern-most point of Mainland NZ, but I couldn’t put up with any more dirt roads shaking the crap out of Betsy, so I gave it a miss.
Along the way, I stopped to check out the massive sand dunes in Te Paki Recreation Reserve.
I have heard lots of backpackers raving about sand boarding these dunes, and when I got there I saw a few people giving it a go with a small body board. To be honest, it looked a bit pants, I think sitting in a large cardboard box would be a lots more fun, that’s definitely what I would do if I came here again.
Cape Reinga Lighthouse
I carried on driving and realised that the sun was almost setting, so I found the nearest turn for the famous 90 mile beach (mostly famous because it actually measures 88km or 55 miles!) parked up and cracked open a beer for the show! This beach was one of the reasons why I wanted a 4 wheel drive, I drove the hired 4x4 on the beaches of Fraser Island and it was so good that I was hoping to repeat the experience here in NZ with my own vehicle. Whilst meditating these thoughts, the tiniest vehicle appeared in front of me skidding on the sand, surely that’s not a 4x4? It was quite comical, an old man taking his dog for a walk in his small 2 wheel drive. I watched him skid away and finished my beer as the sun disappeared beneath the Tasman Sea, then I drove off to Kaitaia, where I had a filthy Chinese take away, I mean you wouldn’t feed this crap to your worst enemy. I didn’t like Kaitaia at all, and for the first time I didn’t feel safe stopping on the street for the night, so I drove back to the 90 Mile Beach Campsite.