On what I termed ‘the wow day’, we started off by going back to Opononi because it had rained on the previous day. We wanted to see the big sand dunes and the harbour and we did. The view was okay but not really spectacular.
We saw very strange and funny postboxes along the road, for example a microwave, a cart with horses made of wood, postboxes that looked like bird cages and bird houses – yeah, really strange.
Weird, why would you put your microwave out there to put the letters in (and if you don’t like the sender you could instantly incinerate them 😉 – but wait, you’d have to plug them in for that…). Well, old and probably ‘recycled’ microwaves. Also, why does a cemetery need postboxes??
We took the vehicle ferry from Rawene to Kohukohu. On it, when we were taking some pictures, a woman got in the way. She sort of told us off for not asking people’s permission to take their photographs 😳. Riiight.
Then we (finally!) got to 90 miles beach and decided we could drive on it – and it was massive fun. You couldn’t see the end of it either way. Crashing waves, hardly any people, many seagulls, lots of shells.
When we drove further down the beach, we saw some dead little sharks. 😔 Looked like a family – do sharks have families??
In fact, the sad thing is that we didn’t just see these dead creatures, but also a lot of roadkill. Ingmar asked me (not just once) what animals they were. I said: “Dead ones.” Well, seriously, no idea, but at least I can say that some of them were birds, as you could see some feathers.
Arriving at Cape Reinga, we could see the lighthouse when we were walking down. Great views to either side, especially from the bit of the coastal pathway that we walked on (just to stretch our legs and have a better look at the vegetation and some cliffs). The weather was just great, clear blue skies, the waves of the Tasman Sea crashing into those of the Pacific Ocean. White horses on incredibly turquoise waters next to the rocks. That single, never blooming Pohutukawa tree, clinging to the last rock, waving goodbye in the wind to the departing spirits. The lighthouse and the yellow signs telling you (again) just how far away other places are. The strong wind almost blowing your things away and tousling your hair.
We had to go back to the car at some point, as we wanted to take a look at the Te Paki sand dunes – even though we didn’t want to go sandboarding. From where we parked our car, we could already admire the giant dunes. The wind was blowing fine twirling sand from their tops and leaving patterns on their sides. A swampy patch made me think about going around to go up, but we decided to go see the dunes from another perspective.
So we drove towards the 90 miles beach. We had to cross through quite a big puddle of water first and it was really deep at one side with a wooden sign saying (luckily) making you drive around the deep water hole. The water was still deep… Then we followed the Te Paki stream, water splashing high to the left and right, we drove across some sand beds and next to the towering dunes. Felt the adrenaline… We enjoyed driving and walking on the sand of the 90 miles beach again, listening to the waves and the seagulls. We saw a big rock with a hole dug by waves, like a door in the sea. In front of it, really wild waves crashing and rolling towards the shore. What a sight. And so unexpected!
I was really brave and drove myself on the sand and in the stream – and through the deep water to get out, wow.
Next, we drove on a dirt road to Tapotupotu Bay, an almost empty, cute little beach, before we headed down another gravel road to Spirits Bay. This is the place where the Maori believed the spirits to depart for the sea. It is by no means a scary place, though. It has a special kind of sand, light pink to the eye, and if you look closely, there are billions of little shell fragments giving the beach its intriguing appeal. We watched the sunset there before returning to our car walking along a lagoon, observing the horses and the ‘grassgulls’.
We arrived at our b&b in the dark and were just happy to hit the bed after a very friendly greeting by our hosts.