Around the World,  New Zealand

Cape Reinga – Russell

Across Cape Reinga to the Bay of Islands

A tour of the north of the North Island is not complete without visiting Cap Reinga, they say. Well then, let’s start for Cape Reinga. After almost a hundred kilometers we will have reached the northernmost tip of New Zealand.

Many cattle and sheep graze on the lush meadows to the left and right of the road. The first huge hedges appear on the side of the road. These consist of all kinds of plants, from huge bamboo poles to deciduous and coniferous trees, everything that grows as straight as possible is represented. These hedges are usually trimmed accurately and are almost always opaque.

Here in New Zealand there are companies that specialize solely in maintaining these gigantic hedges and can certainly make a very good living from them.

And here are two more impressions of the worst motel on the North Island:

Giant Sand Dunes

A few kilometers before Cape Reinga we turn left from SH1 to get to the “Giant Sand Dunes”. These are unimaginably high, huge dunes that stretch around 10 kilometers long and around 1 kilometer wide. Some of the dunes here rise up to 150 meters high.

The “Te Paki Sand Dunes” are also popular with sandboarders. You can rent boards to slide down the dunes in the parking lot at the foot of the dunes. The problem, however, is that – fortunately – there is no lift, so you really have to trudge up to the top in the deep sand.

Nevertheless, we take off our shoes, first wade through the stream that separates the parking lot from the dunes, and then we head steeply uphill. By the way, the dunes are still constantly moving, so their shape is constantly changing due to the wind. Gigantic!

Cape Reinga

Liza and I were last at Cape Reinga in March 2018 and back then we were practically alone; There were almost five cars in the parking lot in March. Today, however, we first drive around at least five large coaches and finally find a last parking space between countless other cars.

The path down to the lighthouse is correspondingly narrow and turbulent. Unfortunately, that’s not real joy. In addition, there is a group of tourists from Fiji (!) who can no longer make the journey from the lighthouse up to the parking lot on their own due to their physical size and have to be carted up by park rangers in their trucks.

That’s why there are no pictures of Cape Reinga now – take a look at them Google Maps!

And so pickups are constantly getting in our way from the front and the back. We’ve had enough. We turn around again, get in the car and drive to Tapotupotu Beach, which is very close. There is the peace and quiet that we were looking for: apart from us, there is no one to be seen far and wide and the impression is really unreal and wonderful! Huge waves break in front of the beach, which extends in a classic wide arc.

Best fish stall on the island

We then head south the same way we came here until we leave SH1 at Awonui and take SH10 to Mangonui. On the way you can take a short detour to Haruru Falls. Not really spectacular, but not ugly either!

In Mangonui there is the Mangonui Fish Shop just over the water where we have excellent fish and chips with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Wonderful!


Our destination today is the Bay of Islands, where we are in the “Duke Of Marlborough Hotel“. Here we have reserved rooms and a table for dinner.

Duke Of Marlborough Hotel

Both the hotel itself and the restaurant are highly praised in various travel guides. Based on our experience of both, I have to admit the guidebooks were right. We deliberately booked small rooms because we will only be staying there for one night. Nevertheless, the rooms are tastefully furnished; you can see that the old house has been lovingly renovated and not just replaced the old with the new.

Also the restaurant deserves to continue to be described as very good. The fish soup, for example, is a poem and the fillet is also excellent. We add another good Sauvignon Blanc and then we go to bed very satisfied.


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