Known as the place where spirits of the dead enters the underworld, Cape Reinga holds age-old secrets like so many places in the North Island of New Zealand. She is located over 100km north of the nearest small town, Kaitaia. Cape Reinga is also known as “Te Reinga” or “Te Rerenga Wairua” (Maori).
Being a sucker for stories My interests in legends, history and culture were well-fed, as we made our way to this sacred place. According to myths, spirits of the dead travel to Cape Reinga for their journey to the afterlife that shall lead them back to their homeland of Hawaiki. This kinda reminds me of the Ganges River in India!
It is believed that the spirits will make their way along Te Ara Wairua (also known as the “Spirits Pathway”) where they depart the mainland at Cape Reinga. They would turn briefly at the Three Kings Islands for one last look before continuing on their journey.
Did I mention that this cape also overlooks the meeting of the Tasman Sea (west of the island) and Pacific Ocean (east of the island)? Whilst one presents action, the other lies tranquil. It is quite an interesting phenomenon, as they clash and meld together as one.
The Maori refer to this as the meeting of Te Moana-a-Rehua (sea of Rehua) with Te Tai-o-Whitirea (sea of Whitirea’); Rehua and Whitirea being a male and a female respectively.
Discovering these little stories delight me more than you can imagine. Countless has travelled this route before me. It is both a scary and exhilarating thought – to think that many centuries ago, people have been exploring the very path that I am taking at present.
And now, I shall share some of my observations. Read on for 07 Must-Know about Cape Reinga if you are planning to visit. 🙂
07 Must-Know About Cape Reinga
- Dress for Comfort
Despite being blessed with a mild climate, this far north is often windy and dry. Regardless of season, bring a windbreaker / windproof jacket and shades with you to battle the strong sandy breeze!
- Avoid Messy Situations
The journey to/along far North are often curvy and winding. If you are prone to being carsick, bring along medication or a vomit-bag to pre-empt unwanted human disasters in your vehicle.
Visitors will be happy to know that the thriving forestry industry in recent years has made an improvement in living for the locals – thus reducing petty crimes and troubles.
- The Best Ice-Cream in the Far North
Along your way to Cape Reinga, you will pass the ONLY local store in the far North and they serve the BEST ice-cream in the region. Look out for the store with a protruding ice-cream signage!
- Appropriate Footwear
Comfortable walking shoes are highly recommended, even for the fashion-forward. The (leisure) walking distance along Cape Reinga would take approximately 1.5 hours (depending on how often you stop and ogle).
- General Knowledge
Before you make the common mistake of thinking Cape Reinga as the northernmost point of the North Island, the North Cape that is located 30km east of Cape Reinga is further north!
A standard day tour of the Far North includes visit to Cape Reinga, the sand dunes and 90-mile Beach at approximately NZD50 per person. I was lucky to get a GrabOne deal at NZD27 per person!
- Convenience + Value-for-Money
For best touring experience, avoid self-drive in the far North’s treacherous paths. Book a value-for-money day tour with the local operators at NZD50 or less!
The above information has been complied based on various sources, including my own experience and should only be used as a reference. Check out http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/historic/by-region/northland/kaitaia/cape-reinga/ for more information on Cape Reinga, North Island, New Zealand.