Friday, 3 May 2013

North of the North

This is a Kauri tree trunk with stairs cut up through the middle!

We did leave, but only because we awoke to cloud, it was still beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but I hadn’t slept that well due to noisy campers in  the far corner (though neither of us could dream of complaining, after all WE’VE never been the noisy ones have we H&I P&S I&B?) So off we went, up and up and up! We’d decided not to do the ‘trip’ – not really that bothered about driving on 90 mile beach (actually 88km) a ‘highway’ along the beach with 100km/hr speed limit and all the normal rules of the road to follow, actually driving onto it may have been interesting but once going wouldn’t it just have been boring? (It’s one of about 3 ‘roads’ we are not allowed to take the little van on) or dune surfing, or being forced to buy coffee at the Kauri tree shop, though we had stopped to look at the amazing set of stairs in a tree! 
Road entrance to 90 mile beach
However if there had just been an ‘eco trip’ to save the steady stream of people getting there, thinking “ok, here now, well we’ll go back then” I’m sure it would have been much better for the environment!

The lighthouse at Cape Reinga
We got to Cape Reinga just after a downpour, so that was good, walked to the lighthouse reading all the signs on the way, to discover that, like John O Groats, it’s not actually the northern most point, in Scotland it’s Dunnet Head, and here it’s some inaccessible point of rock 3km north and east. It is a very symbolic Maori site, where the souls of the dead leave to the underworld, Hawaiki, walking down steps formed from the roots of the ancient kahika tree named Te Aroha. It was a stunning place though, despite the mist, on the left the Tasman Sea, on the right the Pacific, and where they met, waves and upheaval.

Tides meet - Tasman meets Pacific
The ancient Kahika tree (just visible on the right of the second furthest head)

The obligatory signpost at Cape Reinga

In the end we travelled half way back down the peninsula and stayed at another DoC camp at Rarawa Beach, we had looked at one right at the top, but a) it had a problem with the water, there was none and b) I got bitten by a sandfly, haven’t had one of those in weeks! Very pleasant, but not on a par with Matai Bay. Having stopped for ‘housekeeping’ at the library in Kaitaia we are now in Rawene, the little van has now been on its third ferry and it quite enjoyed this one, right at the front up against the barrier! 

Sadly to be at the front meant we hadn’t missed the 3pm sailing by much, despite B’s best efforts to catch it. My pointed comments eventually got him to slow down, so we had our tea and cake on the slipway waiting for the 4pm ferry, almost, he was still drinking his as we drove on, I did offer it to the Welsh ticket man but he declined.

Stunning sunset through the kitchen window at Rawene campsite

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