Sunday 11 May 2014

Paihia, New Zealand II: Cape Reinga

Since I had no car, I joined a tour to Cape Reinga. Our tour guide was hilarious and made the tour really enjoyable but the speakers on the bus weren't too good so half the time I had no idea what she was talking about. Our first stop was Ninety Mile Beach which isn't really 90 miles.. It's only 55 miles (90 km). According to our guide, they didn't want to lose out to Australia's Ninety Mile Beach (94 miles) so they named it the same too haha.

It was beautiful though, you can't see the end of the beach, it seems to go on and on and on into the distance. The sky and the sea seem to have converged and as you listen to the waves crashing upon the shore, breathe in the salty sea air and imagine soft piano/violin music in the background, you feel incredibly serene. Too bad we couldn't stay for long since tours run on a tight schedule which is why I don't like to join tours but I didn't have a choice. Oh right, cars/buses will get stuck in the sand if the drivers aren't careful! So we had to wait and travel with two other tour buses to make sure that in the unfortunate event that we get stuck, there are others around to help.

Next on the itinerary, sand dunes. The group was mainly made up of young people so all of us answered in unison when our guide asked if we wanted to go for a small sand dune or a big one. A big one it was! I was SO exhausted climbing up the sand dune, with the heavy surfboard underneath my arm under the scorching sun. It was especially difficult because the sand was so fine and smooth, your feet kind of just sink in. The ideal way to go up is to step on the footprints made by the people in front of you like temporary stairs but even so, it wasn't easy. HOWEVER, the sliding down part was incredible!!! You lean on your elbows and use your feet to steer (stick out your left foot to go right, right foot to go left, both feet to stop). I was afraid I would get sand into my mouth/eyes but nope! It was super fun! Despite the pain of going up again, I went up as many times as I could before we had to leave.

We made a stop at Taputaputa Bay for lunch break. I can't get over how beautiful beaches in New Zealand are.

Finally, we arrived at the main attraction of the tour, Cape Reinga. Our guide told us that this is the place where Maori people believed spirits leave this world for the next world. The spirits gather at Spirits Bay (not far away from Cape Reinga) and then leave at Cape Reinga, so families and friends come here to wave their last goodbyes to their loved ones.

We walked down the path to Cape Reinga and you get some breath-taking views on top of a hill along the way. This is also the place where you can see Pacific Ocean meeting the Tasman Sea. It isn't everyday that you get to see such a sight.

Then it was time to head back. We stopped at a Fish & Chips shop which were supposedly the best in New Zealand (some say the World) but I didn't really find it that different from all the F&C that I had except the fact that the fish was super fresh. Maybe that was the deciding factor? Hmm.

We stopped at a Tree Factory where they sold expensive souvenirs. I love wood but the price was out of my budget. Our last stop of the day was to Puketi Kauri forest for a 5 minutes walking trail to visit the 2000 year old tree that is almost wiped out. I was really tired and sticky by the time I got back to the hostel but managed to cook some dinner and got to know my roomies!

How to get there?
I joined a tour for NZD119.

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