Do not miss going to the very north of New Zealand if you take a vacation there. Two fantastic ways to experience this area is to take two of the Fullers tours. The Cape Reinga Wanderer and the ‘Cream Trip’ Supercruise are ideal excursions.
The best base is the small coastal town of Paihia. You will have an early morning start for the Cape Reinga Wanderer but you will soon be discovering the magnificent Kauri trees at the Puketi Kauri Forest. A twenty minute boardwalk lets you wander around these awesome giant trees. At the morning coffee stop the restaurant has an amazing spiral staircase carved inside a massive Kauri tree.
This tour is tide dependent so it may be done in reverse. On this tour a buffet lunch was included at a pleasant location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The road for the last 17 miles is a dirt track but you eventually reach Cape Reinga at the northern tip of New Zealand. If you wander down to the Lighthouse and look out to sea you can observe the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean currents meeting. The resultant clashing waves can be really spectacular. This area has great significance to the native Maori people. It is the ‘leaping place’ where the spirits of the deceased return to their spiritual homeland of ‘Hawaiki’. A Pohutukawa tree, on the rocks below, marks the place where the spirits move freely.
After leaving Cape Reinga the tour heads towards the vast Ninety Mile Beach. There is a chance to use a sand sledge down the giant sand dunes if you are brave. The Ninety Mile Beach runs down the Tasman Sea side of this area. Watch out for several abandoned cars that are gradually being buried in the sand. Once you have reached the lower end of Ninety Mile Beach the tour heads back to Paihia through pretty countryside.
The ‘Cream Trip’ Supercruise is an excellent way to discover the Bay of Islands. You will cruise around on a state of the art Catamaran and see all the highlights of this area. The spectacular Black Rocks are the first stop. These rocks are unusual formations of volcanic rocks and can only be found at two places in the world. Fullers stop at many of the islands to deliver provisions and mail to the islands residents. Watch out for the abundant wildlife in the area. Dolphins escorted this tour for part of the way.
During the trip there is an extended stay on the delightfully named Urupukapuka island. My tip is to enjoy one the scenic walks where you can get fantastic views over numerous islands. The highlight of this tour is a visit to the awesome ‘Hole in the Rock’. Your excitement will grow as, conditions permitting, the cruiser makes a passage through the hole.
The Catamaran then heads back to Paihia but my tip is to stay on the cruiser and visit the lovely town of Russell. Have a wander round and discover the pretty Church. A small ferry boat will take you back to Paihia when you are ready.
This area of New Zealand is well worth the time and effort. Especially when you take these two fantastic ways to experience them.
Robert Aconley runs the Million Dollar Lake & Million Pound Lake websites. You can find them at http://www.milliondollarlake.com and http://www.millionpoundlake.co.uk. Travel is a favourite part of these sites. Please come and visit!