New Zealand- Chapter Twenty-Six: Cape Reinga & The Spirits of the North (pt.3)

I’d certainly lingered longer at both Cape Reinga and the Te Paki Sand Dunes, so, as I headed for Ninety Mile Beach late in the afternoon, I knew my plan on making it half way back to Auckland wasn’t going to happen. The realization came as somewhat of a relief, as I wouldn’t feel rushed and would be able to wait around for sunset over the Tasman Sea.

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Since it had been pouring rain early when I’d driven this stretch of road up to Cape Reinga, so I really enjoyed the drive south. The area was so typically New Zealand, with it’s rolling green hills filled with sheep and occasional views of the ocean on each side.

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I passed through a number of small settlement, including Pukenui, picturesquely situated on Rangaunu Bay.

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A few miles down the road, I turned west and headed through the forests on Hukatere Road. The late afternoon daylight was streaming through the dense canopy creating a gorgeous ambiance.

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The road ended at Ninety Mile Beach. The name “Ninety Mile Beach” is a bit of a curiosity since the actual length of the beach is only 55 miles long. Correct distance or not, it is one of Northland’s top destinations. My rental agreement (and that of almost all rental vehicle agreements in Ne Zealand) prohibited me from driving Ninety Mile Beach, but there were lots of people out driving it on that day.

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At each access way to the beach, there were billboards explaining to people the proper procedure for driving on the beach and severe warnings to those choosing to do so about cars that have been lost to the tides.

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I was aware of the warnings, and the fact that most of the people who got in trouble driving on the beach were tourists, so I contended myself with parking on the beach and wandering around taking pictures.

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I headed back to Highway 1, then traveled south. I re-accessed Ninety Mile Beach via West Coast Road. I arrived on the beach to find pretty heavy traffic, all people heading south, presumably from a day of recreation further north.

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A late arriving bank of clouds meant I didn’t get the glorious sunset over the water I had hoped for, so instead I occupied the last of the fleeting daylight by stopping at Lake Ngatu. I arrived for the evening at the campground in Ahipara, emotionally spent but entirely pleased with all I’d seen and done during the day. The trip was nearing it’s conclusion, with a long day of driving back to Auckland, then a couple of days in New Zealand’s largest city before flying home.

 

NEXT: Photo Essay- Te Paki Sand Dunes and Ninety Mile Beach

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2 Responses to “New Zealand- Chapter Twenty-Six: Cape Reinga & The Spirits of the North (pt.3)”

  1. Awesome, Erik! I just love your photos, they truly do this beautiful area justice! I’m so glad you got to experience it. That sunset over the Tasman is a tricky one, those clouds loom in the distance

    • Erik says:

      Thanks, Kate- That’s the whole point of the posts, to give people some perspective as to what I saw and how those things affected me.

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