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The North of the North

Cape Reinga...Where Two Oceans Collide

Mangonui

Mangonui is a fishing village located in Doubtless Bay; the other resort towns along the Doubtless Bay coast are Cable Bay, Coopers Beech, and Taipa, After an uprising in Russell, Mangonui became NZ's second capital.

We had hoki and shark ( marketed as lemon fish) at the World Famous Mangonui Fish Shop.".

We had hoki and shark ( marketed as lemon fish) at the World Famous Mangonui Fish Shop.".

It's a chippery!

It's a chippery!

For the resident cormorant, it was feeding time at the Mangonui Fish Shop.

For the resident cormorant, it was feeding time at the Mangonui Fish Shop.

The Mangonui Harbor.

The Mangonui Harbor.

We spent the night at Coopers Beach; it is located just down the road from Mangonui. We saw these rocks at Coopers Beach.

We spent the night at Coopers Beach; it is located just down the road from Mangonui. We saw these rocks at Coopers Beach.

Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga is at the very top of NZ's North Island; it sits at the end of the Aupouri Peninsula. While it's not quite the Northern most point of NZ (North Cape is further north, but it's a scientific reserve not open to the public), Cape Reinga is certainly at the end of the road. It was first sighted by Abel Tasman in 1643.

For the Maori, Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) is one of their most sacred sites in NZ; it marks the place where the spirits of the dead come to return to their traditional homeland.

This is the view looking out from the Cape Reinga Lighthouse. The area of turbulence that you can see here is created by the colliding of the Tasman Sea on the left and the Pacific Ocean on the right.

This is the view looking out from the Cape Reinga Lighthouse. The area of turbulence that you can see here is created by the colliding of the Tasman Sea on the left and the Pacific Ocean on the right.

This view is to the east of the lighthouse; it looks at the Pacific Ocean and Spirits Bay. Clinging to the rocky point here is a single 800 y/o Pohutukawa tree (sometimes called the Kiwi Christmas tree secondary to it's red flowers); the Maori believe that the spirits of the dead go here to descend on this ancient tree to the underworld. They believe that those spirits eventually return to the Maori homeland of Hawaiki.

This view is to the east of the lighthouse; it looks at the Pacific Ocean and Spirits Bay. Clinging to the rocky point here is a single 800 y/o Pohutukawa tree (sometimes called the Kiwi Christmas tree secondary to it's red flowers); the Maori believe that the spirits of the dead go here to descend on this ancient tree to the underworld. They believe that those spirits eventually return to the Maori homeland of Hawaiki.


The Cape Reinga Lighthouse is one of NZ's iconic landmarks. Completed in 1941, it was the last watched lighthouse built in NZ. It became fully automated in 1987; it has not been manned since then.

The Cape Reinga Lighthouse is one of NZ's iconic landmarks. Completed in 1941, it was the last watched lighthouse built in NZ. It became fully automated in 1987; it has not been manned since then.

The Tasman Sea, as viewed on the path to the Cape Reinga Lighthouse.

The Tasman Sea, as viewed on the path to the Cape Reinga Lighthouse.

90 Mile Beach

After we left Cape Reinga, we followed 90 Mile Beach down the west coast . It's actually only 60 or so miles, but when the missionaries first traveled here, they made a miscalculation. They thought that their horses could only travel 30 miles per day, but in actuality, on the sand, it was only 20 miles. So three days of travel was 60 miles instead of 90...makes a good story!

Looking to the west, Cape Maria Van Diemen is at the northern tip of 90-Mile Beach. Close to the shore is Motuopao Island; it was the original site of the lighthouse, before it was moved to the Cape Reinga point.

Looking to the west, Cape Maria Van Diemen is at the northern tip of 90-Mile Beach. Close to the shore is Motuopao Island; it was the original site of the lighthouse, before it was moved to the Cape Reinga point.


Along 90 Mile Beach, we stopped at the Giant Te Paki Sand Dunes. We walked on them, but a lot of people were using sand boards for sand surfing.

Along 90 Mile Beach, we stopped at the Giant Te Paki Sand Dunes. We walked on them, but a lot of people were using sand boards for sand surfing.

This is our "mean machine" pretending to drive on 90 Mile Beach.  If you have the right vehicle and knowledge, you can drive the whole beach.

This is our "mean machine" pretending to drive on 90 Mile Beach. If you have the right vehicle and knowledge, you can drive the whole beach.

Hokianga Harbor

The Hokianga Harbor sits between a north and south head; it is often referred to as Hokianga Heads. Most Maori in NZ trace their ancestry to the discovery and settlement of this harbor. More than a thousand years ago, this is where Kupe ( the Polynesian explorer and navigator) and his people first landed.

The Hokianga River enters the Tasman Sea here. On the left side of the harbor is the South Head; this is where we took a walk.

The Hokianga River enters the Tasman Sea here. On the left side of the harbor is the South Head; this is where we took a walk.


The right side of the harbor ( North Head) is completely different; it is composed of huge sand dunes.

The right side of the harbor ( North Head) is completely different; it is composed of huge sand dunes.


Walking on the Aria Te Uru Heritage Walk above the Hokianga Harbor.

Walking on the Aria Te Uru Heritage Walk above the Hokianga Harbor.

Kauri

A little further south along west coast, we stopped at the Waipoua Forest to see some of NZ's largest Kauri trees. Nearby there are ancient buried Kauri forests; they are estimated to be between 40,000 to 150,00 years old. From 1870 to 1920, gum digging was a major source of income for the Maori and the settlers of the the Northland. By 1890, there were an estimated 20,000 gum diggers; however, the Northland region was not the only gum digging location in NZ.

Kauri gum is really the fossilized resin or sap from the Kauri tree; the older it is, the more valuable it is. It had many uses, but it was mainly exported for use in varnish. It was Auckland's main export in the second half of the 19th century.

Today, Kauri dieback disease has become a problem; it is a fungus-type disease whose spread can be reduced by cleaning shoes and avoiding the Kauri roots.

The bark on some of these Kauri trees is so pretty.

The bark on some of these Kauri trees is so pretty.

Tane Mahuta is the "Lord of the Forest,"and the largest remaining Kauri in NZ. It is around 2000 years old, 168 ft tall, and it's girth is 45 ft.  I know my picture doesn't make it look that large, but this is one impressive tree.

Tane Mahuta is the "Lord of the Forest,"and the largest remaining Kauri in NZ. It is around 2000 years old, 168 ft tall, and it's girth is 45 ft. I know my picture doesn't make it look that large, but this is one impressive tree.

]Tane Matua Ngahere is called the "Father of the Forest," and he is though to be 2500-3000 years old.. He is not nearly as tall as Tane Mahuta, but his girth is larger, at around 54 ft

Tane Matua Ngahere is called the "Father of the Forest," and he is though to be 2500-3000 years old.. He is not nearly as tall as Tane Mahuta, but his girth is larger, at around 54 ft

Waterfall Chapel

On the last night of our driving trip around the North Island, we stayed on some farmland, at a settlement called
Maungatapere. One of best things about this location was that we were allowed to walk around on the neighboring farmland. We were able to visit a waterfall that sits in the middle of a field, and a little chapel that the farming community built to overlook this waterfall.

The view from inside the Waterfall Chapel, looking out at the waterfall.

The view from inside the Waterfall Chapel, looking out at the waterfall.

Waterfall Chapel is hidden away in the trees.

Waterfall Chapel is hidden away in the trees.

A side view of the waterfall from outside the chapel.

A side view of the waterfall from outside the chapel.

This waterfall is on private land, so you have to have permission to see it. I don't know if it has a name.

This waterfall is on private land, so you have to have permission to see it. I don't know if it has a name.

Posted by Charedwards 15:19

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