We are nearing the end of our six month trip and, similarly, the end of our funds! We were undecided about whether to spend our last pennies on doing the trip we wanted to do right up to the Northern tip of Cape Reinga and eventually decided it would be a shame to miss it. Talia had said we could borrow her car 'Little Blue Poo' and we had expected something fairly small, old or cranky with a name like that but what we really got was a great surprise; a Peugeot 206! We left happily on Tuesday morning not knowing much more about our trip other than we were heading to Cape Reinga!
On our way up we decided to stop at Goat Island - a place we'd heard much about for being a great place to snorkel. We arrived on the beach by midday and, although it was warm and sunny, it was windy so the waves were crashing against the rocks and up onto the beach. Unfortunately we weren't able to snorkel but it was still a lovely place to visit and we opted to continue onwards and upwards rather than spend the day sunbathing. The drive along the coast was beautiful, as always, New Zealand didn't disappoint. We arrived in Paihia, the entry point to the Bay of Islands and headed straight for the Haruru Falls, a horseshoe shaped waterfall which was pretty impressive. Although Paihia was beautiful and the sun was blazing hot, we thought it would be better to get as close to Cape Reinga as we could so we jumped back in the 'Blue Poo' and reached the 90 Mile Beach just in time to watch the sunset! We were impressed with the beach but having already seen 70 Mile Beach in Australia, we weren't as amazed by the beauty. We continued as far as Waitiki Landing and pulled into a holiday park to sleep in the car (luckily we'd packed the duvet and pillows, not wanting to experience another cold night like our first night in the campervan in Lake Tekapo!). Despite 'Blue Poo' being slightly too small for Kie's big legs, it was actually a pretty comfortable night and we had a relatively good sleep.
The following morning we woke up with the intention of showering but were less than impressed with what we found in the bathrooms and decided against a shower! They were filthy! We got dressed and out of Waitiki Landing Holiday Park as quickly as possible, soldiering on to Cape Reinga. Thanks to our long day of driving the following day, we only had a 10 minute drive until we had reached our final destination and boy were we happy that we'd decided to do the trip. It was beautiful, the sun was shining, it was already warm by 9am and the views were great. Maori believe this is the jumping off point for souls as they depart to the underworld and at the very tip of the cape is a spiritually significant tree called the Pohutukawa Tree which is 800 years old and hangs onto the rock where souls are believed to slide down the roots. We stood by the lighthouse and were able to see the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet and the noise was unbelievable where the waves crashed against each other - it sounded like thunder and was pretty amazing.
We spent a while looking around and taking photos before heading to the Giant Sand Dunes. They were really impressive! We looked around to try and hire sand boards but there wasn't anywhere to get them from so we settled for running up the dunes and walking through them; it felt like we were walking through the desert as all you could see were sand dunes everywhere.
We got back on the road and got ready to head back to Auckland as our funds were too low to stay another night away - bad times! We stopped in Kawakawa for some food but, it just so happened that, there was another tourist attraction here that we probably would have missed out; Hundertwasser's Toilets! The toilets were designed and built by the Austrian architect, Friedrich Hundertwasser and they were certainly unusual toilets with multicoloured glass bottles used for windows and in the walls, as well as mosaic tiling throughout. It was worth a quick look!
Before we reached Auckland we made a quick stop at Orewa so Sophie could meet Eric and Inge, family that she'd never met. We chatted, drank and had some cakes but before we knew it, it was 6pm and we made our way back to Talia's for the night. The two day trip up to through the Bay of Islands and up to Cape Reinga was one of the best trips we'd done and we were pleased we did it, despite leaving ourselves with no money! We are still waiting on STA to refund us the money for our Kiwi Experience which will help us out no end, once we get it!
It's nearly time to head to Fiji so until then we're staying with Matt, Tash and the kids in Auckland. We can't believe how quickly time's flying and we'll be home before we know it!
Looking forward to seeing you all soon.
Lots of love, Sophie and Kie xx