At the tip of the Aupouri Peninsula lies Cape Reinga, colloquially considered the northenmost point of New Zealand. It is christened by a distinctive white lighthouse and bright yellow signpost pointing to the the major urban centers of the world.
We visited Cape Reinga on a chilly October day; the surrounding coast was shrouded in cloud and a layer of fine mist.
Though visibility was limited, the ocean waters were still azure-blue. In a way, the foggy weather seemed perfectly suited for a quiet, remote place like Cape Reinga, and it’s hard for me to imagine the sun ever shining there with its full force. After all, Cape Reinga is 100 km north of the nearest town, Kaitaia, and is steeped in Maori legend.
On a clear(er) day, you can see the frothy juncture where the western Tasman Sea meets the eastern Pacific Ocean. The Maori believe dead spirits enter the underworld via an ancient pohutukawa tree clinging stubbornly to the side of the Cape. Gloomy days such as this lend credence to the legend.
After drinking in the stoic serenity, the chilly weather forced us back into our car and we commenced the 100-km return journey back down the peninsula to our Airbnb “home” in Waipapakauri. There, we stayed with a marvelous lady named Jan for three nights in a converted garage complete with a picnic table, hot plate, and comfy bed.
Endearingly called “Campkoo,” Jan’s place featured beautiful gardens, avocado trees, a compost toilet, and a spiffy little fox terrier.
After evenings filled with red wine and wonderful conversation, I showered in the dark and watched the moon’s pale luminescence radiate above the pine trees.
One evening, I even caught an orange-red lunar eclipse.
That string of days remains one of my favorites during my time here in New Zealand.
Photo credits: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 11, and 12 by G. Remainder by me.