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    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    DJ Takes us to the Tip Of New Zealand

    What a Difference a day makes!

    Above - Monday night, dull and grey.
    Below - Tuesday morning, Sunny and Fab.

    High on my Bucket List, is to visit as many places as I can in New Zealand.
    You get so blase about your own country. Other people rave above this place and we all go Yeah Yeah.
    The last couple of years as "non-going-out-to-work-everyday" people, we have done a bit of road travel. Did the road trip to from Auckland to Wanaka a couple of years ago.
    It was fantastic fun. Now thanks to our friends DJ and Lu, we had this opportunity to go to the Far North. I really wanted to go to Cape Reinga.
    This is the north-western-most tip of New Zealand and is famous for the meeting of two seas. The mighty Pacific Ocean and The Tasman Sea.
    So we set off for our Trek to Cape Reinga. First stop Taipa to shop for Petrol.
    According to local history this is where Kupe (who was the first Polynesian explorer to discover New Zealand) apparently landed. This sculpture (situated outside of the Gas Station) was designed to commemorate this landing. We filled up and headed North.
    This was a fascinating find. This machine (below) is designed to wash the posts on the edge of the road. The little green thing is like a mini brush. It goes up and down. How about that for a job? 'I am a post washer'!
    Hunting for coffee we went down to Houhora Heads. Looked interesting.
    Little bit ramshackle, me thinks! They had an Internet Cafe.
    Love the mail box.
    Seems like they are not prepared for Intrepid travelers and Coffee.
    How about that for an Internet Cafe?
    Love it.
    So the Coffee hunt was still on.
    En route...this is a view of the Houhora Bay. very pretty with the little boats all anchored.
    Took a shot of DJ taking a shot. There was a bit of that.
    There hope for us yet... look at that wonderful old lady tending her garden.
    Finally we found a Cafe in Waitiki Landing
    We have made a discovery. When hunting for Coffee.
    1. If it says Tearooms - no.
    2. Don't be too put off by the exterior.
    3. Pop your head in, if there is a Big Italian Coffee Machine you can almost guarantee a good brew.
    Frequently the Coffee Reps give the staff Barista lessons.
    This Cafe/Pub had seen better days
    There was a big coffee machine, so we gave it a go.
    The lovely lady made us excellent coffee.
    She had had lessons from her Coffee Rep. It paid off.

    Plenty to look at in this establishment.
    Good artifacts.
    If you caught a big enough fish, you got on the notice board.
    Dozens of Happy Punters.
    Probably not the most interesting Souvenir collection.
    Wonder how many people use this exit.
    Maybe a few, late at night, after a bevy or two.
    Now a mention... this is the last port of call before you reach the Cape.
    Bit disappointed. Good coffee but no Date scones, or even a muffin, but plenty of burgers and chips, if you are so inclined.
    Suggest you wait till you get to Pukenui. (arrow down, information there)
    A new home for a lighthouse!
    Waitiki Landing
    So only another 20 kms or so to the Cape.
    We pulled alongside Tourist Coaches and lots of cars.
    I imagine this is pretty busy in the summer.
    D.O.C. have done a wonderful job with this treasure of ours. There is lots of information in both Maori and English. So attractive, Rusty iron with the text burnt out.
    These boards were scattered around the site. Lots of interesting information.
    D.O.C. have made a fairly grand entrance and as you walk through, there are haunting sounds. This is a very spiritual Place for Maori. According to legend, the spirits of the dead travel to Reinga before departing to the next world.

    As you look west, you see another headland called Cape Maria Van Diemen,
    so named by Dutch explorer Able Tasman, when he passed through in 1642.
    It is so beautiful. The colour of the water is breathtaking.
    Its a good walk down to the lighthouse and it is imperative that you do it.
    This is where you really get to see the oceans meet.
    A little posing by DJ and Lu.
    Everyone loves the sign post.
    The light house is impressive.
    Lu and I looking out to Cape Maria Van Diemen
    On your left, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Tasman Sea. On your right, the Pacific Ocean.
    Get ready to rumble!
    As it was a calm day, there was only a small battle, but I guess when the wind blows it must be amazing.
    It was only such a short time ago we landed at London Airport, ready for our European Adventure. Now we are at the other side of the world.

    The Intrepid Four

    So farewell to Cape Reinga. We were getting a bit peckish but first we visited the Giant Sand Dunes. This is the entrance to the World Famous Ninety Mile Beach. You need a four wheel drive to embark a journey onto the beach. The trusty Ford Falcon didn't fit the bill, so we looked, took photos and moved on.
    There is a strong resemblance to Fraser Island, in Queensland Australia. Driving through wild bush, following river beds to get onto the beach, then beating the tide, all very adventurish. Lots of people have been stuck. Not us though. We were hungry.
    We decided to give Waitaki Landing a swerve for our lunch and headed for Houhora.
    This time not the heads, but Pukenui Village. Great little shopping centre. There is the local Post Office, General Store, Pub and this lovely Cafe.
    The Pukenui Pacific Bar, Cafe and Takeaways
    Highly recommended. I suggest you make your way to the Cape, late morning... have a good look around, then come back and have a leisurely lunch.
    I had a fabulous steak and onion sandwich.
    Mine host (pictured below).
    Nothing was too much trouble, everyone's food was excellent. He came out to check that we were happy.
    Definitely would go there again
    We were pretty well tuckered out by then, so our Camp Leader drove us back to Accacia Lodge and we all had a wee nap.
    After a quick pre-dinner drink, we popped into Mangonui, to the local Thai.
    'Thai Chefs Restaurant'. Glad we booked, it was busy.
    Had very good food, we over ordered and I didn't have the camera. So no shots.
    The general consensus. Very Good.
    Keen to get to bed...but first, just a little brandy night cap.
    Slept well.

    1 comment:

    Barbara said...

    Looks like you had a great trip Gilli. Last time we were up that way we rented dune buggies on 90 mile beach. Had a great couple of hors exploring.