New Zealand Photo Diary: Dune Rider’s Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach Day Tour
Planning to go to Cape Reinga??
You’ll often hear me say that “I don’t do tours” but what I mean to say is I don’t join organized group tours for an extended period of time. I know how to book my own travel. I know how to get to places on my own. I do however book day tours or excursions when I’m alone because it can sometimes be difficult to get to certain places by myself. Plus it’s a really great way to meet other travelers if you’re traveling solo. I’ve met some really awesome solo travelers on tours who I’ve ended up traveling with. So yes I do take tours and while I was in New Zealand’s North Island, I booked Dune Rider’s Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach Tour.
While I was in the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand, I wanted to go to Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach. It was going to be fairly costly for me to do this on my own so I decided to hunker down and take the Dune Rider Tour. On the website now it says it’s $149 but I’m sure I didn’t pay that much. I might have found a discount at my hotel or they raised the price since 2011. Anyways, I took the tour and for a solo traveler, I think it was worth it. Besides Cape Reinga and 90 Mile Beach, you also tour a Kauri Forest, stop for really awesome fish and chips as well as go sandboarding on a sand dune.
Here are some photos from our first stop at a Kauri forest. Kauri forests are some of the oldest trees in the world and long ago they used the resin from the trees to produce things like shoe polish. The resin is very similar to amber and can fossilize bugs. Ooooh, Jurassic Park!
Visiting a kauri forest
Digging for resin
Bugs fossilized by kauri resin
Kauri trees and silver fern
After our forest tour, we stopped for lunch on the beach at Tapotupotu Bay. I love all the place names in New Zealand because I can’t pronounce them and I must sound silly!
After our quick stop and lunch, we then drove to Cape Reinga. I don’t know what to say other than it’s a very beautiful, solemn, and special place. The Mauri believe this is where our spirits leave the earth for the next life after we die. It truly is more stunning than these photos. I also didn’t edit much because it didn’t need extra help.
Lush is the word I think of when I think New Zealand
Yes I was there
I love how you can see the separation of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman sea and how the colors collide
Just gorgeous at Cape Reinga!
The lighthouse at Cape Reinga
Signs, signs, everywhere signs
After Cape Reinga, we drove to Te Paki Stream to go sandboarding. What’s that? Riding boogie boards (some places you can strap into a snowboard) down a sand dune. I don’t have photos of myself going because they warned us about sand in our cameras. So I took photos from a distance and then did it myself. I wish I had a GoPro back then! It was super fun but what was not fun was trudging up a sand dune to start. Haha. Oh well. I had to try it!
After sandboarding, we went to 90 Mile Beach. It’s a bit of a trick because it’s not really 90 miles, it’s only 55. They believe the name came from when missionaries could only travel for 30 miles by horseback and took them three days to pass. Or it could be because the beach is 90 miles long and they did not switch from kilometers to miles. Regardless…it’s awesome. While we were there we saw a seal and sometimes you can still see wild horses (we did not).
Tourists loving the seal
After 90 Mile Beach, we went for our last stop on the tour to Mangonui, a famous fish and chip shop.
Yum!! Awesome fish and chips!
After we went to Mangonui, we drove back to Paihia to our respective accommodations.
Was the tour worth it?
If I had some travel companions, I would have rented a car and explored the area on my own. As a solo traveler, an organized day trip was the best way for me to get to these places. I think it was worth the cost because going to Cape Reinga was a top priority for me. Plus, car rental companies don’t allow you to drive on 90 Mile Beach, so it is a gamble if you want to drive on it and get stuck. All in all, it was a great experience for me and I can recommend it.