Cape Reinga is as far north as you can drive on the North Island of New Zealand although it’s not quite the most northerly point – that honour belongs to private land not open to the public.
Cape Reinga is at the northern end of the North Island of New Zealand and is located by travelling by road from the nearest town Kaitaia eighty miles to the south. Although the Surville Cliffs are slightly further north than Cape Reinga it is to all intents and purposes the most northerly place a visitor can reach.
According to Maori legends and beliefs, the souls of the dead leave on their journey to the spiritual homeland of Hawaiki from ‘the place of leaping’. On the most northerly tip of the cape is an ancient tree thought to be over eight hundred years old and this is the point at which it is believed that the spirits of Maori leap into the ocean to return to Hawaiiki. Once at sea it is said the spirits stop for one last look at land before continuing on their final journey.
Two oceans collide
At Cape Reinga you can watch the Pacific Ocean merge with the Tasman Sea, with the lighthouse of the area offering what many consider to be the best spot. The Maori expressed this meeting point as a union between the male and female spirits of the waters.
The ninety mile beach
Running from Spirits Bay on the East Coast through Cape Reinga and then on all the way to Ahipara is what is known as ‘The Ninety Mile Beach’ walkway.
This is in fact a series of interlinking tracks of different terrain and a journey which takes in spectacular headlands and glorious beaches, through to massive sand dunes and swamps that are teeming with wildlife. It is the perfect mix that highlights everything any holiday in New Zealand has to offer. Different sections of the track range from thirty minutes walking time to several hours.
Map Direction: http://goo.gl/maps/JVTTj
Puketi Kauri Forest
Amongst the splendour of the natural landscapes and coastal features, there is also a wealth of nature and wildlife on offer. The Puketi Kauri Forest is an ancient expanse of bush where some Kauri trees have been found to be over one thousand years old.
Map Direction: http://goo.gl/maps/a59qR
Cape Reinga, like the majority of New Zealand, enjoys a mild climate where there is little seasonal distinction. This means that most of the activities on offer are not dependent on which time of year you visit, making it a perfect choice all year round.
Apart from simply exploring the Cape on foot, other unique ways to pass the time include sandboarding down the huge sand dunes at Te Paki Stream and digging for shellfish on the Ninety Mile Beach.
More on WeAreTraveller: What to See in New Zealand
Photo credits: Simon Lieschke
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