Cape Reinga

Today it was time for us to go right to the top of New Zealand, to the lighthouse at Cape Reinga.  We planned this trip so we had two nights as far north as we could get, to give us the best chance to get there.  The travel agent we used didn't have any available hotels this far north, so we ended up booking our own.

We did, however, still have about two hours driving to do to get to the very top of State Highway One, and the weather forecast was not good - lots of rain.

We got up early and were on the road by 9am.  The forecast was showing drizzle in the morning followed by more proper rain in the afternoon.

Our first stop was a visit to the beach at Rarawa, where we had fun taking some abstract photos of things on the sand.  We also spotted some amazing windblown shapes (first extra).

From there we drove up to the sand dunes at Te Paki (main blip).  On the way there, we were held up due to some farmers and their dogs attempting to herd a group of 30 or so bullocks over a bridge.  There were three dogs and three farmers and they managed well with most of the herd, but one bullock was determined to do his own thing!

The dunes themselves were amazing, and I had to just stand there and look for a while.  There are boards that you could hire to surf down the dunes - we opted to just walk up to the top of the peak.  It was incredibly windy up there but we had a good view over to the coast.

Our next stop was Cape Reinga itself.  Unfortunately the cloud came in and visibility was low.  We managed (by chance!) to find the right path to the lighthouse and walked down - we couldn't see it from more than about 50 yards away (second extra).

We drove down the hill (on an unsealed road) to get to Tapotupotu Beach.  We had fun here watching the waves crash against the shore whilst keeping a careful eye on the tide coming in.  We also watched a gannet diving into the waves (third extra).

On return back up the hill, the weather seemed to have cleared so we decided to take the five minute detour back up to the cape.  We were rewarded with some great views and could finally see where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet - the water was definitely weird (fourth extra)!

The New Zealanders have their postboxes out in front of their houses on posts, rather like the Americans.  This is strange to us Brits.  In this area of New Zealand there are several people who appear to be using an old microwave for their post (last extra) - it made us laugh!

Finally we returned back to the beach near our lodgings, and ate a takeaway pizza on a beachfront bench before returning back to the cottage for a chocolate mousse dessert.

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