Cape Reinga (Te Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua in Maori) is the tip of the Aupouri Peninsula, at the northern end of the North Island of New Zealand. Cape Reinga is located over 100 km north of the nearest small town of Kaitaia where I was staying.
Visiting Cape Reinga with Harrisons Cape Runner, the trip consisting of a visit to the Ancient Kauri Kingdom, Wagener Park, Rarawa beach, Cape Reinga, Tapotupotu Bay, Te Paki Sand Dunes (got to toboggan down the massive dunes) and drove down 90 Mile Beach (actually only 63 miles long) where I saw some wild horses hiding out in the dunes.
There are two kinds of Jade, their geological names are Jadeite and Nephrite. Nephrite is found in New Zealand, the common names for Nephrite are Greenstone or in Maori – Pounamu.
Jade carvings have many different meanings in Maori for the wearer, here is a list of the most common found.
Or should that read tongariro alpine uncrossing. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular tramping tracks, and is considered the most popular one-day tramp in New Zealand. The crossing passes over the volcanic terrain of the multi-cratered active volcano Mt Tongariro, passing the eastern base of Mt Ngauruhoe.
Winter and snow is fast approaching and the track has been washed out and closed for several days. However, I wake up to find it a glorious day, surely the gods are smiling on me?
It was a 100m slow abseil into the Lost World, then embarking on a journey back to the surface though another spectacular dry cavern. With my slight fear of heights, you’d of thought I would of learnt my lesson to not look down? Don’t be silly, eek, that’s a long drop to the bottom as I’m dangling by my rope.
The abseil is at least twice the height of any other cave at Waitomo and the beauty of this iconic cavern is unsurpassed, descending slowly bouncing and turning as the mist filtered light gives unreal qualities to the strange plants and formations around us.
An evening at Mitai gave me an introduction to Maori culture leaving me amazed and in awe, they’ve really long tongues!
It opens out with warriors in traditional dress paddling an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream with flaming torches, we learn about the Maori past, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art).
They say you’ll never forget your first time rafting, and this couldn’t be more true. At the start of the trip I got a feel for the raft on calm stretches of water, learning all the basics, steering, ducking in and out, what would happen if the sheet hit the fan.
We started off with a gentle lope of grade 1-2 rapids, building in a natural progression to the intense grade 4 and 5 section where the full volume of the river narrows to a pinch.
Not only have I been privileged to swim with the smallest Dolphin in the World, the Hector, I’m lucky enough to have swam with one of the Dolphins that is considered one of the most playful in the world too, the Dusky Dolphin with Dolphin Encounters from Kaikoura.
It’s an incredible feeling being nestled in between hundreds of Dolphins in the pod, as they swoop within an inch, circling you, zipping by as I do my best to keep them entertained.. good job I’ve got such a great singing voice! They loved my version of humming the jaws theme tune.
First jump of the day was the Nevis Bungy, standing on the edge of the hanging cage platform and facing my fear, for what is one of the greatest personal challenges of my life and the most terrifying. It’s something I’d recommend you never do, but you really should do it!
My second adrenaline rush of the day was the Nevis Arc, mildly less frightening, which I decided to do backwards. What a drop, blink and you might miss it, while more timid than the Nevis Bungy, it’s still a feat in it’s own right as you swing across the canyon.
Why jump out of a perfectly good plane? Now I know, what a range of sensations! Such a thrill and range of emotions as I was shuffled towards the open plane door, leaned over the edge, facing downwards towards my descent. Unceremoniously pushed out, hurtling towards the ground below for some 60 seconds at 200kph, terminal velocity.
It takes a certain kind of person to jump from an aircraft at 15,000 feet into thin air. It takes courage.
Some very brief updates of what I’ve been up to since arriving in New Zealand on the 4th March.
All my pictures can be found on my Photo Bucket Album (lots of them), quick way to view is to hit ‘Slideshow’.
My favourite thing to do is sit on the beach and watch the stars at night, you can clearly see the Milkyway, saw a shooting star, made a wish & watch the satellites zip by.. all with a cool beer.