Cape Reinga – The place where New Zealand begins!
For anyone planning to visit New Zealand or a local New Zealander planning to visit the Bay of Islands, Cape Reinga is a must visit spot. For anyone who tries to look up this place on the map will see that this is the tip of New Zealand…in fact it won’t be wrong to say that this is the northern end of New Zealand. Sounds interesting eh? We might have visited many countries and cities across the globe but how many of us can actually claim to have visited the top most / peak / tip / the point where the country actually starts? Just looking it up on google maps will make you interested in this place. Oh and wait that’s not all. This is the point where you can witness the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean come together from two ends. The place is magical!
For those already googling it up and looking at this place on the map, you must be wondering that this is a pretty long distance from the Bay of Island (cities like Pahia and Russell) and if its actually worth the drive. Fear not because a lot of companies provide full day tours from Pahia and Russell. And for those who are planning to visit cities like Auckland from across the globe I’d still say, hire a car and drive up to Bay of Islands and then invest a day visiting Cape Reinga. You will remember this day all your life. The place is majestic and witnessing the two Great Seas / Oceans come together will make you believe even more in the Greatness of the Creator of this World.
A little planning before your visit will do you a great deal of good. What we did was to visit the Bay of Islands during the Easter Holidays (trust me you can fully enjoy the Bay of Islands including a tour to Cape Reinga in 3-4 days). Oh but make sure you check the weather before you plan your trip. Cape Reinga has some walking (not much) and all the majority activities in Bay of Islands can be best enjoyed in a nice clear weather. Trust me you don’t want to do a Cruise tour or walk to the Cape Reinga lighthouse while it’s pouring. So the first tip is to check that the weather is clear!
Next book a nice hotel / motel in Pahia and Russell. Usually the tour operators pick you up from Pahia but you can always catch a ferry from Russell to Pahia. We booked our tour with Fullers Great Sights. Their link is as follows:
They also offer other combos so be sure to check this link as well:
We took the Double Dip combo as we were staying in Pahia and this gave us a complimentary return ferry to Russell in addition to a hole in the Rock tour and the Cape Reinga tour. But this isn’t worth it if you are planning to just spend a day or a day and half at the bay of Islands because the Cape Reinga is a full day tour and you’d need another day to do the hole in the rock tour and then squeeze in a visit to Russell sometime in the evening / morning of the hole in the rock tour day depending on the time slot for the tour that you choose. Oh and make sure you google Cape Reinga tours and you will find that lots of other companies do offer Cape Reinga tours and you can select the one that suits your budget and timings though I must mention that most tours are full day and cost almost the same. However some people may find the tours too expensive so there is always an option to drive to Cape Reinga from Pahia, however then you would miss all the other highlights of the tour such as the 90 mile beach, the Kauri forest etc that I will further describe below.
Well we started off with a bus tour sometime before sunrise…with clouds below above and all around us…it looked like paradise! It was a sight I had never seen before!
We then made a quick stop at Kauri forest for an early morning walk. The Kauri forest has may look to be an ordinary forest but is full of history and has a few of New Zealand’s oldest trees. Its worth noting that even though the bus makes a quick stop for morning tea its not included in the tour cost however a fish and chips lunch is included in the tour cost. After lunch and all charged up we made for the highlight of the tour i.e. Cape Reinga. The lighthouse (a little walk from where the bus is parked) is the best place to watch the majestic Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean come together and flow as one. And while you are there make sure to click some beautiful pictures as one doesn’t get to enjoy such spectacular views every day.
Once we had enjoyed the views. Clicked dozens of pictures, marvelled at our luck to be able to visit such a spot we headed back to the bus and made for our next adventure….sandboarding. Make sure you have spare clothes if you are planning to enjoy some sandboarding.
The next stop is the famous 90 mile beach. Well I’d say it’s more of enjoying the bus drive through the beach with the waves crashing beside it. But yes the driver does make a shirt stop at the beach where you can soak your feet a little and click some beautiful pictures.
The bus then heads back and makes a little stop at the Wagener Museum and while the driver washes the sand of the bus, you can enjoy an afternoon tea (not included in tour cost) and roam around the Museum or just sit back and relax. After this brief stop the bus will drop you back to your hotel and trust me you’d want to rest for a while before you grab some dinner and think back about the perfect day you’ve just spent.