Cape Reinga, Te Paki and the Ninety Mile Beach

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After arriving in Auckland we both wanted to get going as soon as possible so our long hike could begin. The next day we took a bus to Whangarei and had our last bed and last good meal. From there, we were picked up by lovely Jen who took us up to Kaitaia, the last city before the Cape. She drove us to the Pak n Save for our supplies and was so kind to return after PJ forgot his boots in the car. Soon after we got a lift from Steffi who joined us to the camp site and to the lighthouse the next day. So finally, after all this talking and preparing we stood at the Cape, looking over the Pacific. It was really nice to have someone there to enjoy it with and to wave us off.

The weather was perfect for the first two days of our trip. With the sun over our heads and a fresh breeze we enjoyed the wonderful views of the cliffs on the Te Paki track. We stopped after 16km on the first day when we found a nice and grassy spot right at the beginning of the Ninety Mile Beach. The sunset was gorgeous, it felt great to get started.

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Walking on the beach is very enjoyable if done for a few kilometres of the day. Walking on an endless beach for days in a row plays hard tricks on your mind and your body. Up until the Bluff there is some orientation points and changes in landscape to keep the mind fresh and going. The giant dunes, the Bluff itself and the Matapia island make it a pretty place to be. The last 65km are very monotonous in a desert-like duned environment. The hard sand works like concrete on your feet, ankles and knees, yet being very resistant and slowing down your pace. It might be flat and straight but it is tiring for body and mind. It’s not so hard to imagine that people already give up on this long beach. A Czech couple we met on the first day did not make it across.

We made it in stretches of 25-32km a day with a break at the Hukatere lodge. Eef’s knees and Achilles were destroyed after a long 32km tramp to get there so instead of continuing we decided not to destroy ourselves at day 3 and hung out with the hostess Ngarau. It was a wonderful evening teaching her all about noodles and the northern lights.

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Some other trampers caught up with us at the lodge, all looking as destroyed as we did the day before. We teamed up with another duo to finish our business with this beach and get through the final 29 to Ahipara in one day. As the storm winds increased and rain started pouring down on us it was good to have other people around to keep the motivation high. So while talking about pizza and beer we finally made it to sunny Ahipara, got ourselves a bed and got a good nights rest.

Today we’ve been throwing some more items out of our bags and posted them on to Paihia to join them with our bounce box. We came a bit overly prepared and wanted to cut down on weight before heading into the jungle at Herekino. Less is more! It feels great to have the first part of the hike and the beach behind us. We’ve tried to get rid of the sand that is literally everywhere.

The upcoming forests have been badly damaged by storms and are where the NZ SAR teams have their jungle training so this looks like it will be another interesting stretch. But hey, as we learned today one you make it to Kerikeri the hardest part is behind you and you can make it all the way. Now moving with a pack of four I’m sure we will be fine. Onwards and southwards!

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3 thoughts on “Cape Reinga, Te Paki and the Ninety Mile Beach

  1. Just discovered your blog about a week or two ago, playing catch up on the beginning of your trip. Glad to see you both are still trekking!

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  2. Well,well. Even sea-sand can be an enemy. True,we never walk it for 90 miles! So,I learned something today as You did these past couple of days. Be careful in those forests,hopefully in a bit of nice weather! Success,and hopefully not too much troubles and a bit of support from and with Your new friends. greetings to PJ and all present! P.

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