Following our Christmas Day camping on the Karikari Peninsula, we continued our journey upward to explore the northernmost parts of New Zealand for the first time. In just a few hours, we had reached Cape Reinga, the northwesternmost most tip of NZ’s North Island.
Cape Reinga is significant not only because of its geographical location, but it is an important and special place within in the Maori culture, as it is regarded as the departing place of spirits.
We arrived to darkened skies, just as I had imagined. Cape Reinga was stunning. Though there were a lot of people there, the crowds parted at one point and I miraculously snapped this shot of the signpost and lighthouse, absent of other human beings.
Although Cape Reinga is commonly thought of as being the northernmost point of the North Island, North Cape’s Surville Cliffs, located 30 km east of Cape Reinga, are actually slightly further north. Another headland just to the west of Cape Reinga, Cape Maria van Diemen (pictured above), was discovered and named by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman during his 1642 journey and thought of by him to be the northernmost point.
Something that’s pretty neat about visiting Cape Reinga is that you can see the two oceans come together: The Tasman Sea to the left, and the Pacific Ocean to the right. You can literally see the opposing forces of oceans collide, as in the photo above.
There was excellent signage along the way to explain various aspects of and historical facts about the area.
Cape Reinga is a destination of great beauty and significance to the Maori culture. It was very special to visit this place. And neat to look out and know that our family and friends in Canada were just on the other side of this little body of water called the Pacific Ocean.