North to Cape Reinga

After a few nights in the same place we hit the road today. Caroline took her first turn behind the wheel on the left side of the road. I gotta say the first couple days were a bit disorienting, but now it doesn’t feel as weird to be on the wrong side of the road.

Pukeko in the park

Pukeko in the park

Park roosters square off

Park roosters square off

We stopped in Kerikeri to see the oldest stone building in New Zealand, but I thought the wild(?) chickens and Pukeko birds in the park were more interesting. Continuing north we drove through a mix of sub-tropical forest and open pasture land. You’ve probably heard there are more sheep than people in this country and that’s no exaggeration. Eventually we reached the northwest tip of the north island, Cape Reinga. It was a scenic drive up there and it was cool to look out where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific.

Cape Reinga, northwest tip of New Zealand

Cape Reinga, northwest tip of New Zealand

Swirling water where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific

Swirling water where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific

The lighthouse at Cape Reinga

The lighthouse at Cape Reinga

Large sand dunes south of Cape Reinga

Large sand dunes south of Cape Reinga

These dunes reminded me of the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado

These dunes reminded me of the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado

That night we camped south of Cape Reinga and woke well rested but to a bit of rain. Our first stop of the day was to see 90 Mile Beach, which is actually about 55 miles long. We couldn’t see the end of the beach in either direction. The beach is actually a designated highway, but our rental car isn’t allowed on beaches so we couldn’t give it a whirl.

90 Mile Beach stretched on forever

90 Mile Beach stretched on forever

So much green pastureland full of cows and sheep

So much green pastureland full of cows and sheep

The rest of our day was spent driving south through very scenic countryside. It started to rain in the afternoon so we rented a basic cabin in the Waipoua State Forest for the night. Tomorrow we’re looking forward to seeing the nearby giant Kauri trees.

Ferns dripping water on a rainy evening

Ferns dripping water on a rainy evening

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