Day 10 – The Far North

My morning started super early today – and because of that, I had a lovely view as I drank my coffee.

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The sunrises here in Kohukohu are just amazing!

I had a long drive this morning to meet my tour to go to the Far North, from Kohukohu to Awanui. The drive was uneventful and the road were pretty much empty, as it was Sunday morning.

My tour was meeting me at this cool little shop/attraction/cafe called Ancient Kauri Kingdom. Kauri wood is protected, so items made from it are very rare, and you can only use Kauri wood that has fallen – so they are rare (and expensive!).

I had lots of time to spare before my tour bus showed up, so I had a coffee in the cafe, then wandered around the really cool shop. Check out this awesomeness:

Then my bus arrived. This is one tricked out bus – made for the conditions we will encounter today:

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As we drove north – our first stop was the Giant Te Paki Sand Dunes – which could be more accurately described as Sand Mountains. After a quick lesson by our tour guide on how to safely sand board, we were set free. Because of the concern that I might lose my phone in the sand I did not take any pictures from the top, or sliding down, but man – that slide down was crazy fast – and that climb to the top was no joke! Quite an adrenaline rush!

As we drove along, our driver pulled off the road at an interesting spot – it is the only spot from Highway 1 that you can see both the Tasman Sea to the West, and the Pacific Ocean to the East before you reach the top.

Our next stop was the “top of New Zealand” Cape Reinga. (It is not the furthest North point, just as Stirling Point wasn’t the furthest south, but it is where Highway 1 begins).

There was a brief (AND VERY BLUSTERY) walk down to the lighthouse, and it was a gorgeous walk. It was shocking to see the seas mixing together – I didn’t realize how clear it was going to be to see them merging together – no wonder the Maori had such interesting beliefs about this place! You can read about them on the signs and enjoy the stunning scenery here at the top of New Zealand!

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After the blustery walk, we headed for our next stop – and the main reason we had such a tricked out bus – the drive along 90 Mile Beach.

We did pull to the side to take a quick picture of the white silicone sand off the coast of New Zealand (Pacific Side)- it was glistening.

90 Mile Beach is not actually 90 miles, it is much shorter, and is an actual sanctioned road in New Zealand – but it can only be accessed at low tide – and can be very treacherous. Most rental cars say you are not allowed to take your car on the road, but apparently people get stuck regularly, and in the worst cases, get swept away when they do not heed the warnings. I was happy to be riding along with the professional guide navigating the soft, bumpy sand.

We did get to pull to the side and get out – but it was so windy, so it was a short stop.

Somewhere in this story we did stop for lunch – I think before the beach – but this was the end of our tour. Once I was back at my car, I explored Kohukohu a little – including a visit to the “oldest bridge in New Zealand” which was actually just a foot bridge, but a fun stop none the less.

It was a fun day!

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