I love long weekends. The first long weekend that came up since our arrival was Labour Day weekend. New Zealand celebrates it on the 4th Monday of October. It is very similar to the May 1 celebrations in Europe. It marks the beginning of the official BBQ season. Gardening stores fill up their spring flower stocks and go on huge sales with a myriad of colours in blossom. They also start heating the pools, slowly paving the way for summer days. :) A perfect time to enjoy the outdoors and escape into pure nature.
Labour Day couldn't have happened in a better moment. This year. For us. This long weekend was a special one. We celebrated. A first birthday. Parenthood. Ourselves. :)
So we picked a special place to visit. We went to discover the most Northern part of the North Island, the Far North, the tip of New Zealand, aka the Northland region. Where the road ends. Where the seas meet.
Once upon a time, so goes the Maori legend, North Island was a huge fish. Hence comes its name - "the tail of the fish", stretching out into the Pacific. This narrow, remote peninsula, where water is likely within 40 km reach everywhere, is about 5 hours' drive from Auckland, and it's well worth it! A special place from both a natural and a cultural perspective. It is the only subtropical part of New Zealand, with some of the best sceneries, white sand dunes and breathtaking beaches, and also the area where the first Maoris and European settlers set feet a long long time ago.
What awaits you at the end of the Highway 1, almost the most northwestern part of New Zealand, is just indescribable. The top of the island. And a green-blue magic.
Cape Reinga is definitely one of the most fascinating spots I have ever seen. The scenic landscape is just so pure and wild here. The sharp cliffs and huge rocks shaped by water. The white sand bays offering shelter for the rushing waves. Just like white mustangs running. The peace and elementary power of nature that surrounds you.
It is not a surprise that Maori chose this place as one of their spiritually most significant spots in whole New Zealand. There is definitely something about it in the air! And about that beautiful kahika tree, too, holding on to the rocks of Te Reinga... Its strong roots serve as steps for the spirits of the dead souls to descend and leave on their last journey to their spiritual home... The tree's branches are stretched wide towards the ocean as if they showed the way... Reinga means underworld in Maori. So magical, so picturesque.
The spirits then travel to the Three King Islands, to bid a last farewell. The name of the island was given by Abel Tasman who spotted them on the 6th of January, 1643, the Day of Epiphany or the Three Kings. :) It is a special place because of its isolation for almost 2 million years, with the highest protection and a marine reserve around it in order to conserve its unique flora and fauna.
These fascinating locations, part of the Whakarua Moutere (North East islands) are currently on the Tentative List of UNESCO to be considered as a future World Heritage Site.
I really enjoyed walking all the way to the edge of the rocks. At the end, an iconic lighthouse awaits, showing the way to the sailors ever since 1941. Today, it is automatic, operated remotely from the capital, (technology WOW!) and gets the energy from its solar panels. :)
Once you arrive to the tip of the rocks, you are at the tip of the island, at the tip of the country, too. Just gaze at the water and wonder where is the next land... So far away... Some arrows come to your rescue and help you locate the directions of some bigger cities - I took a moment and waved, too. :) And then... I let myself immerse... in this fascinating view:
Where the two seas meet. In a sweet and wild embrace. :) On the left, the turquoise Tasman Sea, and on the right, the deep blue Pacific Ocean. I loved the description of the meeting point on the boards saying:
"For Maori, these turbulent waters are where the male sea meets the female sea. The whirlpools where the currents clash are like those that dance in the wake of a canoe. They represent the coming together of male and female - and the creation of life."
After recharging our Vitamin Sea with the power of these breathtaking waves, we set off to visit a much calmer, sheltered, sandy shore, with some amazing spots to relax.
Tapotupotu literally brings the sea to your tent's doorsteps :) Could be fascinating to watch the sunrise from bed, right? :)
Finally we headed to another amazing beach we could simply not afford to miss - the Ninety Mile Beach. Imagine a huge, wide beach that stretches along the coast with some beautiful white sand dunes by its side, and hardly anyone to share it with. There was an hour when we were really all alone here! It was just magical! Just the sea, the sun and the sand.
In reality, Ninety Mile Beach is only 55 miles long! The 90 name comes from the fact that in the good old times, it took 3 days (so 3x30) to get from one end to the other on a horseback. There was just a minor detail: they didn't take into consideration that riding in sand made the horses slower - that accounts for the slight difference. :)
Imagine this beach is an official highway! However, you might not want to wander around by car risking to get stuck in the high tide. :S Unfortunately it happens pretty often to some unlucky tourists... Fortunately, we were warned in time. :)
So we "just" ran barefoot in the waves, faced the growing tide and hunted for some treasures. Like kids and back to basics. The most rewarding part of the day: eat your handpicked pipi mussels :) We looked so pro, it inspired some other tourists to grab their own bucket and... instantly off to hunt, too! :) We had so much fun! And here is the result of the day:
I love to wander around the beaches of New Zealand. They are all so special. So is Ninety Mile Beach. With its almost 90 miles. I bid you farewell with my favourite shell perspective. We will be back!
If you would like to discover some more incredibly beautiful places in this region, check out
Hundertwasser's last piece of art that happens to be in New Zealand. ;) Or learn about a flower farm and see the tropical waterlily pond, a secret garden a la Claude Monet style here : ) I am telling you, it's worth! :)
***Got inspired? So happy if you share ;)
Join me on Facebook!
Sharing my passion for photography, New Zealand, nature, and a journey within.
See the Beauty. Let it shine!
© COPYRIGHT BinspiratioNZ 2015-2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This website and its original content is copyright of BinspiratioNZ. All pictures taken by me unless otherwise stated. Happy if you share, and thanks for marking the original source :)