The Cape Reinga One Day Tour is big on the list of things to do in the Northland of New Zealand. Cape Reinga is one of this country’s most known spots, because it’s the place where you can see two massive oceans clashing, which is absolutely phenominal. The whole area is very pictureque, because it’s almost completely uninhabited. Besides the 2nd most northern point of New Zealand, you also find a lot of other things to do and spots to see.
Before I really start this blog post, I quickly want to tell you that I was absolutely amazed by the Cape Reinga One Day Tour. I loved it!
For me it was one of the top places to visit in New Zealand for many reasons. It was informative, fun and very very beautiful to look at. New Zealand’s nature is one of the best in the world anyway, but some regions are just more impressive than others. And the whole area near Cape Reinga is one of them.
I also want to tell you upfront, that the whole northern region is worth taking more time than just 1 day, but if you don’t have that much time, you can still get a really good impression of the area with the Cape Reinga One Day Tour.
But before I tell you about all the highlights, that I have done and seen I quickly want to give you some general information. Just like always… 🙂
Cape Reinga One Day Tour – General information
As mentioned, Cape Reinga is the place where two ocean clash. It’s considered to be the seperation point for the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. It is often mistaken, that Cape Reinga suppose to be the most northern spot of the country, but about 30km east you can find you can find North Cape’s Surville Cliff, which is slightly further north.
The whole area was found by the Dutch sailor Abel Tasman, who also explored many other places in Oceania like Tasmania in Australia. Back in the days it was one of the first places of New Zealand that have been inhabited by humans. The Maori came about 800 years ago and made this their home. Today you find many burials and historic sites that represent the importance of this area for the Maori. According to history the spirits of dead Maori have been transported through leaps from the Pohutukawa Tree all the way back to their homeland Hawaiki and this still happens today.
How to get there
The Cape Reinga One Day Tour usually starts from Paihia, which lies in the Bay of Islands. You can also start from Auckland, but then you won’t have that much time to see all the highlights and to do the activities. You would also have to calculate with 2 days at least. Otherwise it would not make any sense to do the trip, because of the long drive.
The only way to reach Cape Reinga is by following the A1 Highway up north. There are some junctions here and there, that lead you to other cool places nearby, but the A1 is pretty much the only choice. Vehicle wise you have a couple options to choose from:
- Car rental
These three are pretty much all the choices you have. A bus is pretty cheap and you get to know other people, but you also have to stick to the plan of the tour company. With the other two options you are more independent, but they are also way more expensive. If you have the money, take a motorbike. There is nothing better, than exploring a country with a motorbike like I did in Vietnam, because you feel absolutely free.
I can actually recommend Kiwi Experience for the Cape Reinga One Day Tour, because I travelled with them through whole New Zealand. You get better deals through Kiwi Experience with local companies than on the internet.
How to get around
The reasons I would recommend a bus company for the Cape Reinga One Day Tour is the fact, that you need to be able to drive offroad, if you also want to see other attractions. You can get to Cape Reinga with a normal vehicle, but other spots (read below) can’t really be reached, if you don’t have a 4 wheel drive. At Cape Reinga and in the proximity you can also walk/ take a hike, but you won’t be able to see that much within one day, if you do so. The attractions are just to far from each other, so a motorized vehicle is pretty much the only way to get from A to B.
You also don’t find taxis or Ubers. A maritime route is also not possible and would waste to much time anyway.
Weather conditions on the Cape Reinga One Day Tour can vary a lot, depending on the season. Generally there is no dry season at Cape Reinga or in the proximity. You have quite a mild temperature all year long, althought it can get quite cold and windy in the winter. The average temperature during summer (December to February) is about 19°C, whereas in wintertime the average temperature is about 12°C.
It doesn’t sound that cold, but combined with the wind and the rain it’s all different ?, so try to avoid late autumn, winter time and early Spring (March till September).
Make sure to wear the right clothes, depending on the season. Here is my ultimate packing list for every situation.
Accommodation might not be that important for you in connection with the Cape Reinga One Day Tour, but you have got to start your tour from somewhere, right? 🙂
Almost everyone starts from Paihia, which lies about 3h south of Cape Reinga. You find a lot of good accommodation there. Hostels, hotels and good resorts. It’s really up to you and your budget what you should choose from. I usually prefer a hostel, because it does its job and it’s quite cheap. But if you like to have more comfort, then go with the luxerious resort version.
Here are a couple ones to choose from:
A Cape Reinga One Day Tour costs about 150$, starting from Paihia. It includes the guide, transport, informations, activites and lunch.
If you have your own vehicle you probably pay way less than that. Calculate with 20$ – 30$ for the fuel and 10$ – 20$ for food. Obviously, if you rent a car or a motorcycle, you will pay much more than with a tour company.
These would be the other costs that would lie ahead of you:
- Hostel: 25$+ per person (8 bed dorm) (in Paihia)
- Hotel: 50$+ per person (in Paihia)
- Breakfast: 6$+ per person
- Restaurant: 15$+ per meal (in the evening)
- Transportation: 1$ + booking fee (Auckland to Paihia)
I have a couple tips for your Cape Reinga One Day Tour based on my own personal experience:
- Check the weather forecast
- Prepare food upfront to save money
- Bring a good camera – Great scenery!
- Be open to meet new people 😉
Cape Reinga One Day Tour – Highlights & what to do
Cape Reinga Lighthouse
The first big highlight on the Cape Reinga One Day Tour is to check out the Cape Reinga Lighthouse, which was built in 1941. Owned by Maritime New Zealand this beautifully constructed small piece of architecture is a national icon and a symbol for the north.
It’s the place where people go to see the collision of two oceans. The lighthouse is positioned on the edge of a big cliff, reachable by walking on a long path, from where you can overlook big parts of the coastline. You’ll see huge sand dunes on the left and massive drop downs with strong vegetation on the right. A perfect example for where mother nature did a great job. The views are nothing but stunning!
At the lighthouse you can take some great pictures for your Instagram 😉 Additionally there is a cool signpost, which points in all kind of directions. It tells you in which direction you have to swim, if you want to reach Sydney, London or other famous places 🙂 Quite cool and also good for a nice shot.
Unfortunately the lighthouse is not open for the public, but it’s maybe THE nr. 1 highlight of the Cape Reinga One Day Tour.
The 2nd highlight from the Cape Reinga One Day Tour is the sand boarding at the Te Paki Sand Dunes. These sand dunes reach up to 100m and represent the fine art of nature. They reminded me a little bit of the sand dunes that I have seen in Mui Ne. Massive mountain of fine golden sand lying right next to the ocean.
The view from the top is absolutely stunning and worth the tough climb. These sand dunes are perfect for adventure lovers and action seekers. Just grab a board and surf down the sand dunes. Some people slide down with over 60 km/h.
To get to the best sand boarding places, you need a 4 wheel drive. I would suggest to bring a video action camera to film this crazy event 🙂 See here which one I use.
Besides that you have the opportunity to take wonderful pictures of this natural spectacle. When the sun is out, the sandy mountains start to shine in gold. Absolutely georgous!
90 Mile Beach
Ninety Mile Beach is another highlight of the Cape Reinga One Day Tour. It lies on the western coast of the far north, pretty close to Cape Reinga and the sand dunes. It actually only has a length of 88km, but „90 Mile Beach“ might just sound better ?
Back in the days it sometimes happened that sailing ships and a few vessels stranded at the beach. Additionally the Australians and the Kiwis used the beach as a landing zone in 1932 and the years after.
To drive on this beach, which is the only way to fully experience the beauty of it, you have to have a 4 wheel drive, just like at the sand dunes. Otherwise you shouldn’t drive there because of safety reasons. It’s a great part of the Cape Reinga One Day Tour, because you feel completely free driving with 50 km/h on the fine white sand while nothing surrounds you but big sand dunes and the endless ocean. So good!
Kauri Forest Walk
The Kauri Forest Walk is the next thing on list of things to do during the Cape Reinga One Day Tour. The forests where you can find the Kauri trees are older then humanity. Walking through these magical forests gives you a feeling of true peace and harmony and they show you how nature is meant to be at its roots.
The ones in the north of New Zealand’s are the best preserved and largest Kauri forests. The oldest tree (father of the forest) is about 2.500 – 3.000 years old. It’s absolutely unbelievable that a tree can actually live for this long.
You can choose between different tracks. All of them lead you through a charming scenery full of healthy vegetation and vivid wildlife. Definitely worth the visit!
Great Exhibition Bay
This is an insider tip. It lies a bit further down south of Cape Reinga. If possible, it should definitely be part of your Cape Reinga One Day Tour, because it is absolutely incredible. The whitest sand ever, light blue water and huge untouched sand dunes. Picture perfect!
Usually you wouldn’t find the Great Exhibition Bay on the list of the things you need to see during the Cape Reinga One Day Tour. To be honest, you wouldn’t find it on any other list either, because it’s a very hard one to cross off.
The problem is, that it’s very hard to reach. You not only have to kajak to get there, but also ask the local Maori, who own the land, for permission. To even get the chance to enjoy this truely paradisaic place you have to pay a donation.
To be able to stay at Exhibition Bay is a true honor, because not everyone gets the chance to do so. Most tourists, who are authorized to visit the hidden gem, have some vitamin B 😉
A helicopter tour is actually an additional activity, which most people don’t do on the Cape Reinga One Day Tour. But if you have the chance, then you should definitely go for it. Seeing one of New Zealand’s most beautiful areas from above is incomparable.
This is the best way to get a good impression of this truely terrific landscape. Colourful bays, green valleys, golden sand dunes, endless beaches and much more can be discovered.
A helicopter tour usually takes about 30 minutes (225$), although there are also some other options that take 2,5h (425$). If you have a bit of extra money and you are not afraid of hight, then this is for you!
Cape Reinga One Day Tour – What I have learned
Just like always, I could learn something from this journey. The Cape Reinga One Day Tour taught me something, that I never thaught I would ever say. It’s not something that I would call a deep/ intense lesson. For me it’s more practical this time. The Cape Reinga One Day Tour showed me that
booking a guided tour is the best option sometimes
This is pretty unusual for me to say, because usually I am the one, who recommends independent travel. I said it in many other blog posts, that I rather prefer exploring everything on my own, than doing tours, but in this case, it just makes more sense.
Going on a Cape Reinga One Day Tour makes everything way easier and it is way cheaper in comparison to booking a rental car, etc, etc.
You also see every important sight you need to see. Plus you get to know some interesting people and the guides will give you a lot of insightful information, which you wouldn’t usually get.
I mean, if you have the chance to go with your own 4wheel drive or if you can join a friend, then that might even be the better option, but if you don’t, which is the case for most travellers, then booking a Cape Reinga One Day Tour is what you should go for.
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