Starting Point: Taputoputo Bay
Ending Point: Ahipara
Kilometers traveled: 166
Today we woke up to our awning blowing off the car due to high winds. Fortunately, it was still staked to the ground so it didn’t go far.
We got up and chatted with a few people at our campsite before heading out for the day. The two french guys next door had dropped their car key into the river last night. They had borrowed our corkscrew and somehow managed to jimmy one of the locks and open the car so they had a place to sleep. They stopped by this morning to tell us they were super lucky and had managed to find the key in the river this morning. So they weren’t stranded and we didn’t have to drive them into town.
So instead we headed back to Cape Reinga, because it is so spectacular that we just had to see it again before heading back down South. It was a LOT windier today but just as beautiful. We did have to be careful that the gusting winds didn’t blow us off the hillside trails. We were there early in the morning today, and nobody else was around, which is always nice in a place like this.
After the cape, we headed South to the Giant Sand Dunes at Te Paki. Te Paki Stream is the main entry point to drive out onto 90 mile beach. We are not in a 4WD and our rental contract actually forbids us to drive on 90 mile beach. Mostly because people are idiots and if you don’t pay attention to the tides, you can get yourself stuck and your car can be buried in the surf. So we decided to hike out to the beach instead. We hiked on the great dunes for a bit, and then descended down to the stream bed. It was about a 45 minute hike out to our first beach on the Tasman sea. Our experience with the Tasman Sea in this part of the coast is that it is very rough, with wave after wave crashing quickly and loudly and with lots of whitecaps. It was super windy here as well, so we only spent a few minutes at the beach before heading back to the car and back down the road.
We stopped for lunch at Houhora Tavern, the northernmost tavern in New Zealand, for our first beers of the trip. We drank Tui Darks and ate beef burgers and were the only people in the place, since it is technically not the season for about another month or so. The owners were very nice and we saw that the entire place is for sale, if you’re looking for a big lifestyle change.
After this, we zipped on into Kataia to try and make a call back to the states, but we were too late, so instead we headed on to Ahipara and our home for the evening, the Ahipara Holiday Park & Hostel. We did a bit of laundry and made fajitas for dinner.
Tomorrow, we’ll head further south into the great Kauri forests.