For so long I have wanted to drive the length of 90 Mile beach.
Back in 2009 or so, I drove out on to the beach with my family.
I have wonderful memories of Ashleigh sitting out the window of the car, and dancing in the wind, while I photographed her across the roof. ❤️
It was time to revisit the beach, but this time drive the length of it!
So, I hatched a planned that involved camping, 4wd driving, fires, cooking over flames etc etc ….
- Leave Hamilton from Keppler’s.
- Drive to Uretiti Beach camp site and camp for the night.
- Drive to Ahipara, then north along Ninety Mile Beach to Taputaputa / Tapotupotu campsite and camp.
- Drive to Cape Reinga, then back to Te Paki sand dune, south down the beach, then on to Paihia to camp.
Well, the weather had other plans ❗
Our first obstacle was when we check GPS after leaving Hamilton.
The GPS told us we would reach Uretiti as 9:30pm, so I ring ahead to warn them.
I get told, the gates close at 9pm, and there is nothing they can do about it, no exceptions.
Well .. f#$K me Uretiti camp site, bad form!!!!
People travel from all around to explore our country, and you can’t leave a gate open?
-1 stars ⭐ And a huge “I do not recommend Uretiti camp site if you’re travelling late up north” ❗❗
So we ring around and find a lovely couple who run Kensington Motel in Whangārei, who help us out with a room at very short notice.
Friday - Matariki
Up in the morning to check the weather.
It’s really unpredictable, but we stick to the plan to head west to Dargaville, and on to the Waipoua forest.
Waipoua forest road is one of the most challenging roads I have ever ridden on a motorcycle; I love it!
In my truck, not so challenging; just a winding road.
We stop at Tane Mahuta for a short walk, and some photos.
Onward to Rawene, hoping to catch the ferry. Hoping! ¯\(ツ)/¯
We miss a ferry by 5 minutes, and figure it’s an extra hour on our journey if we wait for the next ferry, so we decide to hit the road again.
By the time we reach Kaitaia the rain is torrential!
There is no way we can camp in this weather and have fun at the same time, so we pull over and start calling, looking for a motel or hotel.
Well, it’s Matariki weekend isn’t it?
So everything is booked out.
We find a place in Paihia, 1.5 hours drive south. Let’s take it!
After a dry sleep in Paihia, we wake to reasonably good weather.
We decide to head straight to Cape Reinga, before hitting the beach.
Onward, to trip number three this weekend through Mangamuka Gorge. 🙄
We make it to the cape without any fuss, do a short walk, then head south the Te Paki sand dunes.
Ninety mile / 90 mile beach
Finally, we make it to the beach.
Heaps of fun! 😁
Te-Oneroa-a-Tōhē / Ninety Mile Beach is on the western coast of the far north of the North Island of New Zealand. The beach is actually 88 kilometres (55 miles) long. Its southern end is close to the headland of Tauroa Point, to the west of Ahipara Bay, near Kaitaia. From there it sweeps briefly northeast before running northwest along the Aupouri Peninsula for the majority of its length. It ends at Tiriparepa / Scott Point, 5 kilometres (3 mi) south of Cape Maria van Diemen and about 10 kilometres (6 mi) south of Cape Reinga / Te Rerenga Wairua.
The beach is officially a public highway and is used as an alternative to State Highway 1 north of Kaitaia, though mainly for tourist trips, or when the main road is closed due to landslides or floods. The beach and the dunes at Te Paki in the north are a tourist destination. The Te Paki dunes, which look much like a desert landscape, are used for sandboarding.
And yep, I got stuck when I drove up onto a small dune to stop for coffee. 🤣
Back to Paihia for the night.
It’s Matariki weekend !
Which means Waitangi Treaty grounds are open to the public, cool!
One of New Zealand’s most iconic and important historic sites, often described as the birth place of modern day New Zealand.
It’s a very cool place to visit, I totally recommend.
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.
Then the long drive home. 🛣️
And of course .. here’s a video. 😀