Desert and paradise beachDecember 31, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C
Checkout time was at 9:00 but our daily schedule is early anyways nowadays so it wasn't really a problem. Today was the day we'd get to the most northern tip of the Far North District in Northland on the North Island of New Zealand. But our first stop were the sand dunes of Te Paki. Together with Cape Reinga they are the two top tourist sights in the North.
The Te Paki sand dunes were stunning in the surrounding area of forests and ocean. From the car park we walked uphill to get a sense of how big they were. Quite tough to walk up in the sand, and the wind blowing sand in our faces didn't help. The advantage of being early was that there weren't yet crowds of other people. Some of the few that were as early as we had rented sandboards to go down the dunes with. It was fun to watch them go down but watching them struggle to get back up the hill made us realise you pay a lot of money for tough walks uphill with a sandboard and getting even more sand in your clothes and mouth when going down. We walked a bit around, discovered some lonely grasses that fought for living in such a place and learned that even in lots of sand that isn't a big dessert you easily lose sense for distance and elevation when everything around you is sand.
Afterwards we went to the famous Cape Reinga. As expected it was crowded there, mainly around the lighthouse, but the site offered other hiking paths as well to nearby views and beaches, and of course we couldn't be stopped. Our choice was the 20 minute walk to Sandy Bay. It was more of a spontaneous decision and up at the lighthouse it was windy and cold, so we didn't bring our swimming stuff. When the beach came into sight it was becoming clear that that was a bit of a shame. The water was very clear and in contrast to the Cape there were only a few people to share it with. Citing Machiel that he doesn't understand why beaches are painted as a concept of paradise, but if they would be then this one would be it.
We had a long drive south checking out possible campsites on the way. The ones at the beach were totally full and overcrowded, so we ended up in Awanui. IIt wasn't our first choice as it was fairly expensive, but it turned out really great as we could use a good washing machine and drying rack, swim in an actual swimming pool, and enjoy the free WiFi. Plus it was quite small so not so busy.Read more