Once we peeled ourselves away from the twin bays of the DOC’s Maitai Bay Campground, we made the 140 kilometer (90 mile) drive to Cape Reinga (ree-enga). Cape Reinga is a scenic point of upmost importance to New Zealand because of its beauty and because of the spiritual significance it holds for the Maori (natives of New Zealand). Legends speak of this place as the departure point for Maori spirits on their way to the afterlife. It is also the location of the country’s most visited lighthouse and the point where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.
We arrived at Cape Reinga late in the afternoon and, with no tour buses in sight, enjoyed the peaceful landscape in almost near solitude. With the wind gusting and the sun hanging low in the sky we made the journey down the hillside to the lighthouse. The seas, stretched out to the horizon, met each other with such fierceness that they created lines of exploding waves and ocean sprays roughly 20 meters high. We peered over the edge, mesmorized by sand swirling in the wind and the checkerboard pattern of the waves washing ashore on the beach below. The place was magical and it truly felt like we were standing on holy ground at the end of the world.
A short drive away, we pulled into the DOC’s Tapotupotu Campground. When night fell, the Milky Way spilled across the vast sky. As we sat, gazing up at all of that old light, a falling star burned bright and we couldn’t help but think that the day’s events were the perfect way to drive home the importance of WOLOtude and the underlying values from which it was born. Next stop: Te Paki Sand Dunes
– Go. Change your state of mind.