From Tapotopu Bay, we completed our journey to almost the most northerly point - Cape Reinga. An amazing spot with beautiful views. A place where the Tasman sea meets the Pacific ocean. Cape Reinga is the end of the road, and in Maori tradition the spirits of the dead depart the world from here, making it one of the most sacred sites in New Zealand (Aotearoa).
A little reluctant to leave this beautiful place, we headed for Spirits Bay, another amazing place (and DOC campsite) at the top of the north Island.
A catch up with friends in Auckland was imminent, so we headed south along 90 mile beach, which is actually only 55 miles long. When the early settlers arrived, they knew that their horses could cover 30 miles per day - they didn't take into account the slower walking on sand.
We took the ferry across Hokianga Harbour to the west coast and visited the Kauri giants in the Waipoua Forest, the largest remnant of the once extensive Kauri forests in the north island. Truly impressive.
Dargaville was our next stop. It might be the Kumara (sweet potato) capital of New Zealand, but we were here to visit the Dargaville musuem: gum-digging displays, early settler stories and outside, the masts of the Rainbow Warrior, mounted at a look-out. Inside was the clock that stopped on 10 July 1985, when Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior was sunk in Auckland harbour.
In Auckland, we met up with friends, Peter and Sandra, in from the UK on a visit. Fantastic to catch up, so far from home. Covid-19 was on our minds, but self-isolating and quarantine were a thing of the future. A future for Peter and Sandra, which included in two 14-day quarantines as they headed back to the UK. We also managed to catch up with Meriel and Allan, who moved out to New Zealand many moons ago.
The North was still calling us, we had kiting to do, so we charged back up. The wind at Orewa on the east coast failed to appear, but it is only a short drive east to west, so we crossed the country and I enjoyed some gnarly kiting in wild waves at Muriwai. Rachel wasn't game!
Muriwai is home to a huge colony of Australasian Gannets, and it was an incredible sight to look down on the colony, at such close proximity.
Our final port of call was the Karikari peninsular, a place where you can kite in any wind direction. Great - as long as there is wind. On our first pass through, my usual jinx with wind was in full play, not a breath! This time we were fortunate, a beautiful DOC campsite at Matai, wind one day at Tokerau Beach and two days spent in the flat, shallow waters of Rangiputa itself, complete with sting rays gliding along below the surface.