My second day in the Bay of islands was all about travelling as far north as possible. Our day trip would take us to Puketi Kauri Forest, Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga - the northern est point of New Zealand accessible to public, and to the sand dunes.
This particular day trip is part of Stray's Patch Pass and is operated by the company Great Sights who also organises other popular trips like Hole in The Rock & Dolphin Half Day Cruise (I have taken this cruise on my last day) and runs ferries that connect Paihia to Russell. They offer some great package deals on their website for everyone who is not taking those day trips as part of some other tour.
The bus picked us up in the early morning hours and took us to our first stop - Manginangina Kauri Walk. As mentioned in my previous post - Kauri trees are some of the oldest and largest trees in the world.
90 Mile Beach is 88 km (55 mile) long beach which is also officially a public highway on a western coast of the far north.
Even though it is classified as a road, most of the hire companies won't allow you to drive on it with their cars as the road/beach is only suitable for 4WD vehicles at specific times of the tides.
Once we've left the 90 mile beach, the road has taken us to the Cape Reinga.
Cape Reinga is the Northernmost point of New Zealand accessible to public (the actual Northern point is North Cape which is a scientific reserve and thus not open to the public). It is also the meeting point of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.
The most amazing thing about this is that on a good day you can clearly see the line where the meet. (Line is a result of different water density thus the line and not the mix of waters.)
This is also a home to a gnarled pohutukawa tree, believed to be over 800 years old. According to Maori sayings, the spirits of deceased Maori leap from this tree into the ocean to return to their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki.
Be aware that Cape Reinga is a sacred site thus eating is not permitted there.
Visiting the lighthouse was most definitely my favourite parts of the day trip and the whole four day trip to the north. There's something majestic about standing at the edge of the North and observing the meeting point of the Tasman and Pacific whilst absorbing the Maori legacy surrounding you.
On our way back to the Paihia we have made our way up Te Paki Stream towards the mountainous sand dunes. We have then disembarked the bus, grabbed the sandsurfs and made our way up one of the sand hills.
We have then of course sandboarded our way down the hill. :D (The bus on the way back towards our base resembled a sandbox. All the kudos to the driver who managed to clean it all up on our short coffee break.)
If you are travelling to New Zealand, I would definitely recommend making your way all the way up North to Cape Reinga. The meeting point of the two oceans alone is worth the ride up there.
The next day would be all about learning about the first European settlements, the treaty that was signed between the Maori and the Brits, and one of the reasons I have extended my stay in Paihia - Mangrove walk to the Haruru falls.
If you are travelling anywhere in the near future - use this link for a discount on your accommodation booking!