Cape Reinga at sunset. © nazar_ab

Cape Reinga: where two oceans meet

It’s like a lightning rod for all that is exciting about this wild country.

The black-and-white lighthouse at Cape Reinga can justifiably be termed ‘iconic’, and while the lighthouse keepers are gone, its role as a beacon that draws over a hundred thousand visitors a year to this amazing spot ensures it has a special place in all our hearts.

Here, at the top of the country, you can witness a rare and powerful thing — the meeting of two bodies of water, the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The tides race each other in a display of awesome ocean strength as you stand on the bluff, buffeted by the inevitable breeze and wowed by the beauty of this spot. A sweep to the left takes in Cape Maria van Diemen, the name a legacy of the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman who literally put this country on the map, and to the right, the beautiful arc of Spirits Bay, its name underpinning the sacred cultural aspect of this amazing place.

Maori believe that Cape Reinga is where the dead depart for their final journey and there is a certain feeling at this busy spot that reinforces that belief, adding another layer of experience on even the sunniest days.

Cape Reinga gathers up so much in one place: a literal and figurative stepping off point for exploring the country, harnessing spectacular views of mind-blowing (and hair-blowing!) natural power with deep cultural significance that offers a key to Aotearoa itself.

It’s also a site that’s fully spec’d for the modern traveller (flash loos included!).

It’s a stunning drive — or bike ride — over sealed roads from Kaitaia. Even better, ditch the car, grab a shuttle and arrive the ultimate way: along the sands of Ninety Mile Beach. Now you’re travelling!


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