Cape Reinga the Most Northern Point In New Zealand
Well not quite, the most Northen point in New Zealand is North Capes Surbill Cliggs 30km east of Cape Reinga. However, this is not accessible by car or a leisurely walk. So hence why we call Cape Reinga the most Northen point because locals and tourists can get there easily without having to trek your way in.
Getting to Cape Reinga
Its close to a straight 6-hour drive from Auckland 424km so don’t expect to go all the way in one day. You are better off going from Paihia or any other town further north and make it a day trip.
There are tourist buses that go from Paihia so if you don't want to drive, this is an option.
We were staying at the Ramada Hotel in Taipa, next to a beautiful beach called Doubtless Bay. From the Ramada it takes around 1 hour 40 though expect to stop along the way for the views and isolated beaches.
We headed off with a bit of a detour through KariKari Peninsula which is only 15 minutes from the Ramada Resort. At the Peninsula, there is Carrington Estate which includes accommodation, golf course and Karikari Estate vineyard. Karikari Peninsula is another great place to stay and explore the white sand dunes.
We headed further along to Matai Bay and Waikato Bay, both worth seeing and on opposite sides to each other. If you love camping there is a campsite.
Cape Reinga here we come
It was time now to get back on the main road and make our way to Cape Reinga as it was still a long drive. Make sure you have enough petrol as Awanui is the last BP stop, though there is a small petrol station at Te Kao, but don’t rely on it as it could potentially be closed. Driving to Cape Reinga certainly makes you feel like you are heading towards the ends of the earth. No one about, other than green fields, livestock, rolling hills and views of the ocean.
It's not until you get to the final few kilometres that the land opens up and the dramatic views come out to see the vast ocean, massive white sandy beaches, red clay land and cliffs that shape the ocean.
The last 19kms used to be a gravel road by 2009 it was fully tarsealed, which provides a good ride right through to the end where you can park with toilet and drinking facilities (sorry water only).
But the journey is not over, around another 2km walk downhill to the lighthouse. Though it's a magnificent walk with views to die for. The path is around 2-3 meters wide all the way and is accessible via wheelchair with plenty of places to stop and rest along the way. It might be a bit more of an effort coming back up but its all worth it. Take some lunch or a snack to enjoy the scenery.
The lighthouse was built in 1941 and now runs on solar power, though not the most amazing lighthouse the views are enough to amaze you. Because the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean you can see the waves colliding creating great views of white water and the smashing of the two ocean currents.
Make sure you get the standard Instagram picture of the road sign to other cities around the world noting how far they are and in what direction.
Cape Reinga is very spiritual and you get the sense that life still lives here but not as we know it. There are plenty of plaques to read about its history how it was created over millions of years and what it means to the Maori people.
Click on the link to hear about more reviews and information regarding Cape Reinga
90 Mile beach
After Cape Reinga, it was time to hit 90-mile beach, (you can also ride the giant sand Dunes but we decided not to since we have been to many around the world). It's around 10km from state highway 1 and mostly a gravel road until you hit the sand. Make sure you take your car for a spin once away from the crowds, great fun. Even though the beach is called 90-mile beach it is actually only 55km's long. If you intend to drive along the beach make sure you're careful as there have been deaths, but mainly from stupidity. Click on the link to hear about more reviews and information regarding 90 Mile Beach
Fresh fruit ice cream, yum yum!
After the beach, we headed for the best fresh fruit icecream you can imagine. Tomo Berries (@tomo), they use fresh blueberries or raspberries mixed in with vanilla ice-cream on a waffle cone, yum yum, we highly recommend it after a long drive. Check out the Tomo Berries Review to see what everyone is talking about.
Our final destination was Paihia, you can travel two different ways once you hit Awanui. Either through Kaitaia or via state highway 10, either way, is a similar distance. We decided Kaitaia but only because we had travelled the other way coming up.
We went through the Maungataniwha Forest which was very hilly and windy, so sitting in the back seat of a 3-litre sports SUV is not the most fun, time to take a break once we got back on the flat to allow our heads to reposition themselves. Thanks, Kimi Raikkonen ;)
Overall Cape Reinga is a great site to visit, the only issue is the long drive to get there. Though saying that the drive is amazing especially with the landscape and we were overwhelmed with the final sight to the cape itself.
If you are at Pahia or anywhere north of Paihia we highly recommend going to Cape Reinga if you have never been. Why do I say north of Paihia, because it is 3+ hours to get to Cape Reinga which means it’s a 6-hour road trip, a full day.
Click HERE to check out the full blog and see what we got up to on DAY 3 of our 400km road trip.
Until our next journey, talk soon Charlotte and Greg.
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