|5th May 2015
Managed our early start well, up at 5.30am and on the road at 6.45am. Lovely sunrise and very foggy for a lot of the way. Followed Highway 1 to Kaitaia where the Cape Runner Tour started. Had time to grab a quick coffee in town, and be on the bus to leave at 9am. A very pretty drive, but also a highway with lots of bends.
Left Kaitaia with 10 passengers, picked up two hitchhikers at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom, and the two more at the 90 mile beach caravan park.
The tide determines which way we go to the Cape, so the beach part was to be the way home in the afternoon at low tide. Our first stop was Houhora Heads Harbour, which also has a caravan park nearby. Next stop was Rarawa Beach with its brilliant white sands. Had a nice stroll on the beach and tried out the sand on our hands to see how smooth they can make the skin feel. Apparently you can mix this sand with some water and clean jewellery, silver etc.
Morning tea stop was at the Te Kao Store, the northern most general store which boasts the best icecreams in the Far North. Yes, they were very nice, and very cheap.
Continued on to Tapotupota Bay for a picnic lunch (an interesting selection). A nice relaxing break there, and another walk on the beach. Very pretty places to enjoy.
Then it was on to Cape Reinga, the dramatic meeting place of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean. A long walk out to the lighthouse and Cape, but good pathways and seats along the way. Only one of our group climbed the BIG hill for the photo opportunity! Yes, it was John. Not sure what price he is going to charge for his unique photos yet! Had plenty of time there to walk and explore.
Back on the bus and headed for Te Paki Stream and sand dunes. Most of the "younger" passengers climbed the sand hills to toboggan down.
Time to do the 90 mile beach drive, with one stop along the way for a photo of another hole in the rock and stroll along the beach before finishing off the drive along the beach back to the caravan park to start the drop off of passengers. Apparently the beach was named as 90 miles by early missionaries who took three days to travel the length, and estimated they covered 30 miles each day. It is really 64 miles long, but as 90 mile beach sounds much more attractive, they have left the name given by the missionaries about 100 years ago.
Another stop back at Kauri Kingdom while the bus gets a quick wash, then a short drive to Kaitaia and our vehicle.
Our driver and guide was Jason, a bit of a character, and on his suggestion we drove back to Paihia along Highway 10, a much better drive than Highway 1.
Drove into Mangonui, on Doubtless Bay on way back for a short coffee break. John, Mavis & Don all had some calamari & chips, while Pam stuck with the chips. John is still shaking his head that someone can say they don't like calamari without trying it!
All pleased to be back in Paihia after a very long day, and enjoying a relaxing dinner of soup.