Day 10 to Cape Reinga
Cape Reinga Travel Blog› entry 8 of 12 › view all entries
Today started out being one of those days. I got to thinking last night that Iâ€™m a little pressed for time. That extra day at GBI took my day at Tiritiri Matangi ďż˝ďż˝" the birderâ€™s place to go ďż˝ďż˝" and I had to move it to the day before I go home. Thing is, that requires me to stay in the Auckland area for my last two nights. Yuk. When I first looked at this trip, I thought Iâ€™d do Northland, East Cape, Rotorua, maybe even down to Wellington. Not a chance. I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ll even get out of Northland. Not that Iâ€™m complaining. The only complaint I have is that Iâ€™m having to bypass places Iâ€™d like to go and I have to hurry through the places I do stop.
So back to my day. I decide I need to dump the grey water ďż˝ďż˝" always a fun chore. I get all done with that, go to back out and thump a knee high post with the camper. Oops. Didnâ€™t hurt anything, always embarrassing! So I now feel like I need to make it to the lighthouse and back today. I leave before 8 am, just after sunrise. Something in the roads is attracting all the finch and sparrowlike birds, maybe a mineral or maybe just the warmth. But there are hundreds of little birds flushing as I drive. Unfortunately they are flying erratically and I whack a couple. Oops. Couldnâ€™t even identify one as it hit the windshield. So on I go. I thought I was taking the coastal road but the GPS took me through the middle of the island instead. Oh well, no big deal. I stop at a nice little picnic area and turn down the drive. Just around a curve, thereâ€™s a tree down across the road. Now I have to back up the drive. But I get the tires on the grass/mud and they wonâ€™t move anywhere. Oops. I eventually get all 4 tires on the drive again and back out successfully. By now Iâ€™m thinking maybe I should just park it for the day and try again tomorrow. But no, my flight home is pressuring me! At this point, I think my day got better, or at least neutralized to not a bad day.
I have 220 kms to go to Cape Reinga. It takes me until 3 pm. Thatâ€™s 7 hours. Of course I canâ€™t go straight there. I make a few stops and detours. Instead of taking SH 10, Iâ€™m on SH 1 before I realize it. It goes through Raetea Forest and Mangamuka Gorge. Lovely drive, watch for the double semis coming at you on the twisting, turning two lane road! I head up the Far North peninsula and I stop at Lake Ngutu where I see a couple new grebes. The second turnoff I make is to Lake Waiparera. This one has Black Swans and lots of Canada Geese. I go down to Houhora Heads, another lovely place to stay but alas, I press on. Another detour takes me to Paua and Parengarenga Harbor. I chat with a fisherman on the dock. No one else around. Heâ€™s been there for a few weeks, camping out in his van, tucking up into an old building with aspestos warnings all over it when it gets cold at night. I guess my luck is good with the weather since he said it had been stormy for the last two days. He also told me he saw a couple hundred Spoonbills, a bird I had yet to see, roosting that morning. Nowhere to be found at the moment. An inadvertent detour takes me to Te Hapua. I had meant to take a short road to a forest but missed it and turned down towards Te Hapua. Turned into an hour or so detour but low and behold, when I got to the end of the road, there were a couple hundred Spoonbills. I turned down the road to Spirit Bay on the way to the main road and then was finally on my last leg to the lighthouse. No more detours I swore, until the sign that said Te Paki Giant Sand Dunes. It was only 3 kms so how could I pass them up. And yep, there they were, giant piles of sand, the start (or end?) of 90-mile Beach, which is really only about 60 miles long. Another lovely sight, back to the main road I go. Finally I get to the lighthouse. Again, just lovely.
And now it was almost 4 pm. I wanted to be farther than I was going to get tonight but I head south on empty roads. I think I actually hit the speed limit of 100! Kph not mph. But getting that tank to go that fast is a challenge. And when I do get the speed up, either a curve, a town or a one lane bridge shows up to slow me back down. And uphill, forget about it! I wanted to make it down the west coast to the kauri forests to stay the night and have a chance at seeing a kiwi but that was going to take until 8 pm and I wasnâ€™t up for that. So I drove until dusk and stopped at a campground in Ahipara.
By now Iâ€™m starving since all Iâ€™ve had to eat all day was a package of Timtams (chocolate cookies) and Diet Coke. The only place in town is a takeaway place and I get a fish and chips meal to go. They wrap it in packing paper which works well to suck up all the grease! I get back to camp, pour a glass of mead and have dinner. It just slides right down. Then the mornings luck comes back and I spill the wine all over the camper stove. Try to get online but I neglected to look for the word â€śfreeâ€ť before the wifi and getting a PIN is way too much effort tonight. Tomorrowâ€™s another day.