On Saturday we took a bus tour up to the northern-most point of New Zealand, along Ninety Mile Beach – a bus tour because they actually drive on the beach itself for the majority of the way up. Our car, champion though it is, didn’t have the 4-wheel-drive capabilities to keep itself from becoming a permanent addition to the scenery. It wouldn’t have been the first one, either:
Along the way, we saw several seals lounging around on the beach. There were also tracks in the sand from the herds of wild horses that live in the dunes and brush off the beach, but we didn’t see any.
At Te Paki, we headed inland through the dunes. Some of these were massive — several stories high and ridiculously steep. So, of course, we pulled out the boogie boards and prepared for mouths full of sand.
At last we reached Cape Reinga. The view from the top overlooks the meeting of the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, and it was amazing how visibly different they are.
On our way back down, we stopped at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom shop. mostly they were trying to sell us ludicrously expensive furniture and knickknacks hewed from ancient swamp kauri, but they also had a rockin’ staircase carved inside a massive, 45-thousand-year-old kauri log.