I left Paihia early in the morning to head to Cape Reinga by way of 90 Mile Beach. The beach is unique because you can drive on it, making it all the way up the coast past the Te Paki Sand Dunes and onward to the cape.
It was a bit strange to drive up the 45 mile sandy expanse (the beach’s name exaggerates its actual length). I stopped briefly to get my feet wet and dig up Tuatua with my feet! These shellfish are protected, so I just ate one of them raw (with permission from thetour guide) or “natural” on the beach. I can’t say I’ll be going back to dig up enough for a meal ….
I also found Ram’s Horns:
On the way to Cape Reinga, I got the chance to go sand tobogganing at Te Paki Sand Dunes. The scale in these pictures is false; the climb was steep. However, I have always known it would be proper fun to slide down a sand dune on a boogie board!
What’s interesting about Cape Reinga is that is where the spirits of the Maori people head back to Hawalki — the spiritual home. 90 Mile Beach is said to be the beginning of the spirit’s journey back to the Far North. Once the spirits reach the cape, they take one last look at this world and their loved ones before moving on.
In addition, the cape is the point where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet, which is marked by churning aquamarine water.
Last stop of the day: world famous Mangonui Fish Shop for fish and chips!