Cape Reinga and 90-mile Beach

Cape Reinga is the northwestern-most point in New Zealand, a spot I’ve been wanting to visit. Two oceans clashing, the end of the earth, a significant place in Maori lore, a gorgeous drive to get there. It all equals a building sense of excitement (and gladness that this mid-winter day trip was sunny and mild).

Typical Northland scenery along Highway 1.

At moments it felt like we’d somehow popped into a children’s picture book. The grass is so very green and the hills undulate so beautifully and the sheep are so woolly and the cars on the road so few.

The kids are standing in front of Cape Maria van Diemen, which is just to the west of Cape Reinga, and which is surrounded by the Tasman Sea.

There are well-maintained walking tracks all around the cape. Though I caught some breathtaking vistas from the highway, I still felt quite a sense of awe when we hiked up to the top of the cape and looked down at the clash of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

You can see the turbulence in the water behind B and A.

The 800-year-old pohutukawa tree clinging to the rocky soil at the end of Cape Reinga is enshrined in traditional Maori spiritual belief as the place where the souls of the deceased make their way down to the underworld. The tree’s roots form steps the spirits use as they descend into the sea.

It was low tide as we made our way southward on Highway 1, so with clear skies and no deadline to be home by, we drove one leg of our return journey on the flat hard sand of 90-mile Beach. I think our little detour might have actually saved us time because it was such a straight shot!

Hardly any shells, seaweed, driftwood, birds, or other seaside detritus. Just pure elements of sand, sea, sky.

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