Jess is a Wanderer drove north in search of the top of New Zealand – Cape Reinga. A beautiful spot located on the northernmost tip of the western side of the north island. It can be accessed by driving along the beach – 90 Mile Beach, or by taking state highway 1 from just about anywhere.
The scenery is quite lovely whilst en route. If you’re driving slowly to conserve fuel (like me), be prepared to pull over to let the locals pass you in their giant utes. I didn’t go on the sand because Agatha (my little Toyota BB) just wouldn’t cope very well and then I’d get stuck and whilst waiting to be rescued, a wave would sweep me away and, well, you get the idea, it’s best left to the professionals! If you are desperate to drive on the sand, you can hitchhike, couch-surf with a local or go on a bus tour for about $50 which includes lunch and sand-boarding.
All along the way there are various stopping places to see different views. You can also go to little beaches that crop up as you go. With plenty of camping areas too, there’s a whole heap of ways to spend a week on this little pointy bit of the island.
Once you arrive at the carpark, there’s a little walkway with some information about the place. Follow the path down and around and down and around until you get to the lighthouse. Stop to read the information that’s scattered along the way – it’s all very interesting indeed. That’s not me being sarcastic. Enjoy the views and if it’s an overcast day like when I went, I hope you have the same luck with the sun coming out just in time!
At the lighthouse, of course, there were lots of people but if you wait around long enough, they’ll all eventually disappear. I had just over fifteen minutes by myself to claim the title of ‘northernmost person in New Zealand right now’. A real life achievement. I’d recommend arriving after 3pm as that’s when the tour buses leave so it’s naturally less busy.
All in all, a most enjoyable outing and plenty of trails and walks nearby to entertain you after driving all that way.