The North Island of New Zealand has many unforgettable places to visit, and Sand Safaris offers a truly exciting, adventure filled all-day tour which has deservedly become one of the most popular things to do in Northland. Discover the unparalleled beauty, the solitude and the wild countryside of the Aupouri Peninsula with their exhilarating Cape Reinga tours.
The comfortable, air-conditioned small and medium-sized coaches make daily pick-ups in Ahipara, Kaitaia and Awanui, and for those staying in the Bay of Islands, it is just a 1 ½-hour drive to get in on one of the most popular Far North activities. This amazing trip features a spectacular drive along the west coast of the Peninsula, but not on a coastal road, this is the famous 90-Mile Beach Bus Tour which takes you right along across the sands. You will enjoy some impressive, rugged views as you travel along the whole length of the beach, and the abandoned car carcasses half buried in the desert brown sands will remind you just how treacherous this area can be. Your knowledgeable local driver will keep you informed and entertained with his live commentary throughout the trip.
Enjoy a tour of Northland’s spectacular 90 Mile Beach on a Sand Safaris Cape Reinga Tour (Photo credit Sand Safaris)
At the northern end of the beach you will have the chance to participate in another one of the unique activities in Northland. The Te Paki sand dunes are the largest sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere, and the valiant can make the steep climb up to the top, grab a sand board and toboggan down. A really exhilarating experience to enjoy at one of the most impressive Northland attractions. For the less adventurous it is a unique place to contemplate the strange habitat that has developed where the dunes meet the wetland flora.
As if that was not exciting enough already, the Sand Safaris bus now crosses the Te Paki Quicksand stream. Many horses met their end here in days gone by, but nowadays it is safe enough to walk across. However, if the bus should come to a stop, abandon ship, because it will rapidly sink up to its axles. Don’t worry though, the experienced drivers have not ever had a Cape Reinga bus tour come to an end here!
Next stop is the northern-most point of the peninsula, Cape Reinga, called Te Rerenga Wairua in the Maori language. According to Maori tradition, this is the place where the spirits of the recently deceased pass on their journey to the underworld. Here you can enjoy breath-taking views of where the turquoise waters of the Tasman Sea crashes together with the dark blue Pacific Ocean. Visitors can also grab a photo of the signpost beside the lighthouse, which indicates the direction to many different cities worldwide.
The famous lighthouse at Cape Reinga, where the Tasman and Pacific oceans meet (Photo credit Sand Safaris)
After all that excitement you are sure to have worked up an appetite, so a delicious barbeque lunch, with tea, coffee or soft drinks awaits you in the picturesque Tapotupotu Bay, and it all comes included in the Ninety-mile beach tours. If there is time you can enjoy a quick dip in the sparkling waters of this beautiful little bay nested between the hills around Cape Reinga.
The return route is just as spectacular, and passes through the Aupouri Forest, which was once a huge Kauri forest and has now been replanted with pines. The Aupouri Forest is also home to a population of Far North Wild Horses, which can also sometimes be seen on 90 Mile Beach. You will get a chance to stretch your legs on the “Great Exhibition Bay” where the brilliant white silica sands of the Rarawa Beach will literally dazzle you.
The final stop is at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom where you can marvel at the huge Kauri stumps and logs that have been dragged out of the swamps, and admire the fine craftsmanship of the artists who create unique works of art from these ancient woods.
Finally, like all good things, even 90-mile Beach Tours come to an end, but if this has wetted your appetite for adventure, check out our travel blog for more great activities. For visitors wanting to make their way to Sand Safaris Cape Reinga Tours’ pick-up points at Ahipara, Kaitaia and Awanui, hire an Auckland hire car from Omega Rental Cars’ city centre or Auckland Airport branches and head north on State Highway 1.
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