Our first stop of the day was the Puketi Kauri Forest for a quick bushwalk around the rainforest. Kauri forests are amongst the oldest in the world and the kauri trees are one of New Zealand’s largest tree species.
Our next stop was at Cape Reinga itself. It is the northwestern most tip of the North Island and has special significance in the Māori culture as it is the place where all the spirits of the dead enter the underworld. The cape also marks the point where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean and you can see the seas clash just off the coast by the lighthouse.
After a spot of lunch our next stop was to drive off road along the Te Paki Stream to the sand dunes. It was certainly a new experience to drive through a sandy stream in a coach! Sand Boarding was definitely an exciting experience. The premise is you grab a boogie board and launch yourself down the sand dune, holding on for grim death whilst trying to steer and control your speed with your feet. Our group stopped at one of the largest dunes which meant we had an exhausting hike to the top before we’d even started. The boarding element was actually relatively easy and really good fun; we’d initially thought we’d fall off and break our necks but we both walked away unscathed. A few fitter members of our group managed to do upwards of five runs but we only managed to go twice. If it wasn’t such a hike back to the top, we would have probably done more.
The final part of our trip, before heading back to Paihia, was to drive along the Ninety Mile Beach. The beach is actually only 55-miles long and once featured on Top Gear! We were lucky enough to see a couple of Blue Penguins, they looked absolutely shattered just lying on the beach.
We stopped at Ancient Kauri Kingdom on the way back to get the bus cleaned and to have a look at the kauri furniture. They had an enormous spiral staircase made out of the trunk of a kauri tree, yours for the reasonable price of USD$2.5million!
If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check out our video of the day here.