From the northernmost point of New Zealand we drove along the west coast back southwards. Again, there were lots of great stopovers. Here we tell you about huge sand dunes, gigantic Kauri trees and trying to discover a kiwi in the wild.
The Te Paki Sand Dunes and the 90 Mile Beach
Not far from Cape Reinga, the Te Paki sand dunes were our next destination. On the one hand, we did not want to miss the natural drama of these huge wandering dunes, and on the other hand, we were looking forward to a small round of sandboarding. At the dunes, you can borrow sandboards from about 10:00 in the morning for 15 dollars.
Directly at the foot of the sand dunes, there is also a driveway to 90 Mile Beach. If you dare, you can drive through the river to the beach. Attention: Be aware of the tides. There have been cars swallowed by the sea, when they didn’t make it back in time before high tide! If you have a normal rental car, you probably can not go to the beach anyway. If you drive with your own car, you should not stop in the sandy river, because you can easily get stuck.
We walked to 90 Mile Beach. This takes about two hours (back and forth). After the walk we were pretty exhausted and had no more desire for sandboarding.
The Kauri forests
Further south is another highlight of the North Island: the Kauri forests with their huge and thousands of years old Kauri trees. The largest trees are in the Waipoua Kauri Forest. There are some parking places, from which short walks lead to the tree giants. They are well signposted and you do not have to be afraid to miss the Kauris.
Before and after entering the footpaths leading to the Kauris you have to clean your shoes. This is a precaution to curb the spread of Kauri dieback disease. The pathogens of this disease are spread by the soil on the soles of the shoes and lead to a mass death of the Kauri trees. It is essential to follow the prescribed protective measures.
Kiwi watching at Trounson Kauri Park
In the Trounson Kauri Park there is a nice DOC campground, which is ideal for an intermediate stop. Right next to the campsite there is a small Kauri Park with a circular path. At night you can go there for the kiwis. You have to be quiet, because you can often hear the kiwi from the distance through the thicket. You also need a red light flashlight, since the kiwi is easily scared by white light. When we were there, unfortunately it has rained and it was almost impossible to hear the kiwis. Without hearing them, they are very hard to find. Unfortunately, we didn’t see any kiwi that night.