|Cape Reinga - 90 Mile Beach
It's a short bus trip to Kaitaia from Paihia. It turned out that Endless Summer Lodge at Ahipara was booked up for the next two nights so I checked in at Main Street Lodge in Kaitaia, (BBH gives it 70% and deservedly so, just a little sgussy).
My delay in Kaitaia turned out just fine, I met up with two more travelling Brits (there's a lot of them, only rivalled by travelling Germans) Kelly and Haley. We took Harrison's Cape Runner tour up to Cape Reinga the next morning which turned out to be one of the best $35 I spent in New Zealand. Now I'm not one for the bus tour scene but this was a tour well worth it. The only stop of true tack was at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom where locals have dug up 50,000 year old rotting trees and carved them in to grossly overpriced, gawdy household items, everything from honey spoons for $3 to dining tables at $30,000. The spiral staircase carved out of a single log is worth the stop though and the coffee was good.
But on to Cape Reinga... The driver was a hoot with an endless stream of good humoured Maori banter. He took us to a number of stops on the way, a couple of cool beaches and an ice cream the size of which would make you weak-kneed at the prospect of trying to finish it, for $2.
The cape and the lighthouse are suitably dramatic perched at what feels like the end of the world above the wild Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. After a walk around the cape we drove down to a sheltered beach for the provided lunch and a nice stroll on the white sand. From there it was down the Te Paki Stream for some sand dune tobogganing, yes, for real, check out the photos.
Then the bus drives right down the beach back toward Kaitaia, almost 70 km of Ninety Mile Beach in a refurbished Japanese coach!
Next day space awaited at Endless Summer Lodge at Ahipara and I hitched a ride with Kelly and Haley along with new American buds August and Emily to our beachside cabana (BBH 92% !!). What a great place. If you go one place in the North Island this should be it. Oh, take a wet suit because beautiful though it is the water is chilly. There's great surfing here and endless walking on the beach in either direction. That's how I filled my time, walking up and down the endless beach. Awesome...
Then on to the Coromandel