We arrived at our final New Zealand destination, the tiny town of Mangonui where we stayed in a two bedroom duplex apartment overlooking Doubtless Bay, part of the South Pacific. It was named by Captain Cook and the name stuck. When he saw the bay in 1769 he said, “Doubtless, a bay”. The beach was steps outside our door and we enjoyed walking on the beach. One morning our neighbor knocked on our door to tell us that some dolphins were in ocean right outside our door. We stood and watched the six or more dolphins frolicking and playing in the water before they disappeared from sight.
On Friday we took an all day bus tour of the peninsula. We drove to Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of New Zealand is where the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean collide. If you recall a picture in a previous blog of Bill standing at a sign at the southernmost point of New Zealand. This sign at the cape shows the northernmost point of New Zealand. We were able to find a geocache at both places. At the Cape is a pohuteukawa tree believed to be over 800 years old. Maori tradition teaches that this tree is where the spirits of the dead leap into the ocean to depart and head homeland. It is seen as a sacred place and you are not allowed to eat at the Cape.
Another cool place we went is called 90 Mile Beach which is really only 56 miles long. Here people can actually drive on the beach. Due to changing tides and the possibility of your car getting swept away or stuck in the sand, rental car companies forbid you driving a rental car on the beach. This is one reason we decided to go on a bus tour. Leave the driving and potential headaches to someone else! The driver drove the bus through a riverbed stream to reach the beach. He said it was quicksand and if he stopped we would actually sink. He told us stories of buses and cars sinking in the sand and we had seen pictures online of this happening. He stopped at a large sand dune area and passed out boogie boards to anyone interested in climbing to the top and surfing down the sand dune. Some of the younger members of the group took him up on the offer. Others declined once the driver told us the company would not be responsible for any injuries and described some of the injuries others had suffered while surfing down the steep dune.
It was fun to speed down the beach in the bus with the waves lapping against the shoreline.
Before we left our landlord made us an interesting offer. He offered to give us the use of his beautiful house, car, boat and a fuel card with as much fuel as we wanted, in exchange for the use of our RV in the States. It was easy to say no because we have no plans to visit New Zealand again in the near future. If any of our RV friends want to take him up on the offer, we will give you his contact information.
We look forward to heading home on April 19th. We will do one final New Zealand post with our final thoughts when we get home. We have a couple long travel days ahead.