By DOC Media Advisor Leigh-Anne Wiig.
I’ve always wondered what the fuss was about at the tip of the North Island. Turns out it’s pretty stunning.
Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) sits in the DOC-managed Te Paki Recreational Reserve. The cape is a spiritual place for Māori, said to be the departure point for spirits as they make their final journey back to the ancestral homeland of Hawaiiki.
It is certainly a great place for the soul. There are enough spectacular short or longer walks to fill the senses. The Te Araroa Trail also starts here (or finishes, depending on which way you go).
Our family did a day trip from the Far North’s Doubtless Bay. During the drive up we were interested to see wetlands, sand dunes, emu farms and even a wild pig running crazily near the road.
Stopping for lunch at Tapotupoto Bay was glorious with its white sand, wild beach and exciting rocks to explore. I was thrilled to spot dotterels scurrying around on the beach, but careful not to get too close to disturb their nesting. Mental note: DOC has a couple of campsites here next time I’m up this way.
Cape Reinga blew us away, (figuratively, as well as literally, as it was quite windy the day of our visit). Climbing to the top of the hill was a blast with panoramic views. The short walk down to the lighthouse was gentler, lined with flowering flax bushes.
Even the kids – usually difficult to impress – were amazed at the point where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet. The confluence forms a permanent triangle sail-shape in the water.
After taking in our fill of fresh air and scenery we headed to the Te Paki sand dunes for a dose of body boarding fun before returning to Doubtless Bay via Ninety Mile Beach.