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The Far North and the Cape (April 2010)

I posted these photos almost a year ago and forgot to add the words. Anyway we had friends over from the UK and I was waiting for a call to hospital for a bypass. Fortunately my name got lost in admin. and I spent an extra 3 weeks of freedom to have a few trips with Ann and Jim. When in the far north it is compulsory to visit Cape Reinga, although we had been there before. SEE: Short way Up, Dec. 2007 On each occasion the weather has been great, the sea is much more photogenic with the sun beaming down.

Cape Reinga Lighthouse is owned and operated by Maritime New Zealand. The lighthouse is a common New Zealand icon and a popular tourist destination although the lighthouse itself is not open to the public.

The lighthouse was built in 1941 and first lit during May of that year. It was the last manned light to be built in New Zealand and replaced the Cape Maria Van Diemen Lighthouse, located on nearby Motuopao Island, which had been built in 1879. Accessing that lighthouse was difficult due to the rough seas in the area, so in 1938, it was decided to move the lighthouse to Cape Reinga for safety reasons. The complete lantern fittings from Motuopao Island were reused at Cape Reinga, though the new lighthouse was fitted with a 1000 watt electrical lamp instead that could be seen for 26 nautical miles (48 km). The lamp was powered by a diesel generator.

In 1987, the lighthouse was fully automated and the lighthouse keepers were withdrawn. The lighthouse is now monitored remotely from Wellington. In May 2000 the original lens and lamp were replaced by a 50 watt beacon. The beacon is powered by batteries that are recharged by solar cells. The beacon flashes every 12 seconds and can be seen for 19 nautical miles (35 km).

North and South Signposts in a month see: Day 24 – Curio Bay to Invercargill

Cape Reinga Info

The name of the cape comes from the Māori word 'Reinga', meaning the 'Underworld'. Another Māori name is 'Te Rerenga Wairua', meaning the leaping-off place of spirits. Both refer to the Māori belief that the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld.

The mixing of the waters, Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean at Cape Reinga

Cape Reinga is generally considered the separation marker between the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. From the lighthouse it is possible to watch the tidal race, as the two seas clash to create unsettled waters just off the coast. The Māori refer to this as the meeting of Te Moana-a-Rehua, 'the sea of Rehua' with Te Tai-o-Whitirea, 'the sea of Whitirea', Rehua and Whitirea being a male and a female respectively.

The cape is often mistakenly thought of as being the northernmost point of the North Island, and thus, of mainland New Zealand. However, North Cape's Surville Cliffs, 30 km east of Cape Reinga, are slightly further north. Another headland just to the west of Cape Reinga is Cape Maria van Diemen, which was discovered and named by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman during his journey in 1642 and thought of by him to be the northernmost point of the newly-discovered country he named 'Staten Landt'. SEE: Abel Tasman

According to mythology, the spirits of the dead travel to Cape Reinga on their journey to the afterlife to leap off the headland and climb the roots of the 800 year old tree and descend to the underworld to return to their traditional homeland of Hawaiiki-a-nui, using the Te Ara Wairua, the 'Spirits' pathway'. At Cape Reinga they depart the mainland. They turn briefly at the Three Kings Islands for one last look back towards the land, then continue on their journey.

A spring in the hillside, Te Waiora-a-Tāne (the 'Living waters of Tāne'), also played an important role in Māori ceremonial burials, representing a spiritual cleansing of the spirits, with water of the same name used in burial rites all over New Zealand. This significance lasted until the local population mostly converted to Christianity, and the spring was capped with a reservoir, with little protest from the mostly converted population of the area. However, the spring soon disappeared and only reappeared at the bottom of the cliff, making the reservoir useless.

Panorama from the Cape

Te Paki Sand Dunes Northland

On the way back we visited the Te Paki sand dunes down 90 mile beach (actually 90Km). Our vehicles were not up to travelling down the beach, so the road it was. I have heard that this sand is pumice from one of the Taupo big bangs!

Sliding down the dunes is great fun but climbing back up is not, and is the hardest part of this outdoor activity, as some of the sand dunes can grow to a height of about 100 meters. The dunes have been pushed 5 kilometers inland where they change shape everyday due to the strong winds which come in off the Tasman Sea.

From the peaks of the Te Paki Sand Dunes, one can view the beauty of the incredible landscape surrounding these massive hills.

Dune Sliding

Karikari Estate

Supposedly the most northern winery in NZ. Popped in for an evening meal and took these photos of the sunset


Maunganui, picturesque and expensive housing in the far north

Anyway Ann and Jim got an extra 9 days in NZ care of Iceland and so set off for South Island.

For me it was hospital just to test out NZ Healthcare SEE:Health Service in New Zealand

Butterfish estate, you can buy a section in the winery, if you can afford it

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terris_travelogue/north_island_far_north_easter_2010.txt · Last modified: 2012/04/07 21:24 by art
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