We took a Saturday off from boat jobs and drove from the Bay of Islands to Cape Reinga. It took a long time (about 4 hours). We had been told by a friend to take #10 but thought we should take #1 Hwy, being the main highway. Besides, we had driven sections of #10 before and thought it might be more interesting to try #1.
We learned later #1 was slower, windier and less scenic than #10. There was a really twisty section for what seemed an hour to climb to the top Maungataniwha Mountain.
At the summit, there was a pullout but no real view or look out. We were wondering if the Cape was worth all this driving. We arrived at Cape Reinga at the same time as a big tour bus and we almost had difficulty getting a parking spot.
Despite the numbers of tourists, we both agreed it a special place, worth the drive. Cape Reinga is normally very hazy and windy with rough, turbulent seas, but not on this day. We lucked out, having a beautiful, calm, clear day. We could see the Three Kings lying about 35NM to the west.
We needed a better car (preferably 4-wheel drive) to get to Ninety Mile Beach. Popular attractions are bodyboarding down the dunes and driving along the beach, which is actually only 55 miles long! The beach is the scene of many ship wrecks and was used as a runway for mail service from Australia in 1932. Next time we will rent a 4-wheel drive and pick a day when the tide is low at mid-day.
A tourist from Auckland kindly took this shot of us, luckily catching the background without hoards of tourists clamouring around it! That was a challenge!
There are numerous tramping tracks (hiking trails) along the coast. It would be fun to take a few days sometime and explore further. More reasons to return to New Zealand!