Yesterday I took a tour to Cape Reinga, the northern end of Northland. This is a place deeply connected to Maori culture. Maori believe that the spirits of the dead travel from wherever they are up the west coast of New Zealand and then along the 90 Mile Beach toward Cape Reinga. ‘Reinga’ is the Māori language word meaning the underworld, the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead leap of and travel home to Hawaiki. Hawaiki being one of the places were the Maori originally came from.
At Cape Reinga there were many other tour buses. The walkway starts with a gate and for each person passing a tone is sounded, a Maori greeting. The whole way to the light house everybody is asked not to eat or drink. From the round place at the light house one can see the place where the Tasman sea meets the Pacific Ocean. And the whole area feels sacred indeed. I am very glad that I went and that I waited for good weather, somehow after seeing and experiencing Cape Reinga I feel more ready to now discover other parts of New Zealand.
As part of the tour we drove along a good part of the beach, stopped at various places, had lunch – a nice barbeque lunch prepared by a Maori family at a beach on the eastern shore (so much more calm then on the west coast), did some sand boarding at high sand dunes and listened to our friendly driver. What I found interesting: there is so much money in the Manuka honey business that they fly in the bees to collect the honey from the many tea trees that are growing on both sides of the road. Avocados like the sandy soil up here and farmers are working in a cooperative to handle packing and transporting.
After three days in the Holiday Park I had moved to another accomodation hoping that the name „Endless Summer Lodge“ would help to bring better weather, which it did ! 🙂 And apparently this is ranked as the nicest hostel in NZ, very lucky that there was room for me. It is an 1870s restored Kauri villa, the whole house and furniture built from Kauri wood. Most people who stay here are surfers, as is the owner, the next surfing beach is just 5 minutes away.
I watched the surfers for a while on Friday, the day I moved here, the lodge is at the other end of the little village and it took me 40 minutes to walk here.
Today finally a long walk on the beach as I had envisaged the whole time. I started out early to be back for high tide. 4 hours of walking practice, this felt good. I am getting a sense of how I can integrate my practice and finding my ways. For now probably 4 hours of walking each day will be enough, the rest of the day for digesting, writing, reading and connecting with other travellers.
On the beach with the roaring sea beside me I noticed myself starting to make some sounds. I don t think I have ever made sounds like this before and it felt good. I walked barefoot often in the shallow water.
The beach could be even more wonderful if there were not so many cars going by. During low tide people are allowed to drive on the beach, according to the rules 30km max. in reality more like 100km/h. Our bus driver told us that for a while there was a garage near the beach and people tried to break speed records on this beach until they found it was not flat enough for more records. But sure still many people get a kick out of speeding here.
And then stories of cars lost in soft sand and taken by the sea …
Tomorrow early in the morning I will travel on towards the east coast, about 2 hours on the bus. So will put this online now and get some rest.