The Cape Reinga Activities You Can’t Miss
If you really want to say “you’ve seen it all” in New Zealand then heading to the northernmost point of New Zealand is a must! Cape Reinga is the northernmost accessible point in New Zealand, most famously home to a picturesque lighthouse and stunning coastal scenery. While many bus tours can take you to the highlights of Cape Reinga, when doing a self-drive tour, you’re going to want to discover a lot more of the area. Especially considering the drive is so long (the nearest town, Kaitaia, is 1h30mins away). So make the most of this spectacular area of New Zealand by checking out all these things to do at Cape Reinga!
On your way up to Cape Reinga, don’t miss these towns and their awesome attractions:
1. Do the Cape Reinga Lighthouse Walk
The #1 thing to do at Cape Reinga is see the Cape Reinga Lighthouse! This is achieved with an easy-going 10-minute stroll to the lighthouse capturing different angles of the lighthouse as you make your way toward the cliff’s edge. You’ll also see the colliding of the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. The wide sealed walkway is suitable for wheelchairs and buggies. Information panels along the way tell the history and importance of the location for the local Maori people.
Location: The walk starts from the Cape Reinga car park, at the end of State Highway 1.
2. Visit Toputaputu Bay
One of the most scenic and most accessible beaches in the Cape Reinga area is Toputaputu Bay. Enjoy a picnic, splash in the waves or even camp the night at the beach’s campsite.
Location: 5km (3 miles) south of Cape Reinga off State Highway 1 down Toputaputu Road.
3. Hike the Te Paki Coast Track
Want an awesome multi-day hiking adventure and a fantastic alternative to a New Zealand Great Walk? Consider hiking the Te Paki Coastal Track! This 48km (30-mile) trail takes 3-4 days to complete, taking in the best scenery of Cape Reinga and the Far North area. Walk to Spirits Bay, Ninety Mile Beach, Te Paki Stream and more, staying in campsites (some of which are free) along the way.
Location: There are multiple entry points onto the trail. For the full track, start at Kapowairua off State Highway 1 at Waitiki Landing onto Te Hapua Road and then Spirits Bay Road. The other end of the track is at Te Paki Stream off State Highway 1 at Te Paki onto Te Paki Stream Road.
4. Walk the Twilight – Te Werahi Loop Track
Explore more of the stunning Cape Reinga coastline on the Twilight – Te Werahi Loop Track. This 16km (10-mile) track takes 4-5 hours to complete the round trip. Walk over farmland and sand dunes and see another lighthouse in the Cape Reinga area.
Location: 4.5km (3 miles) south of Cape Reinga off State Highway 1. Parking is at the Te Werahi Gate car park.
5. Sandboard on the Te Paki Sand Dunes
Grab yourself a body board (either buy one before your trip up north or they are included in bus tours) and hit the giant sand dunes! Just lie down on your stomach on the body board, hold onto the front, and control your speed by digging your feet into the sand. You will see where the bus tours usually sand board marked in the sand – so that’s a good place to start if you are unsure where to go.
Location: 19km (12 miles) south of Cape Reinga off State Highway 1 down Te Paki Stream Road. There is a car park at the end for vehicles that are not suitable for driving on the sand.
6. Visit Spirits Bay
This scenic bay is sacred to the local Maori who say that the spirits gather at the bay before departing to the afterlife. Spirits Bay, otherwise known as Kapowairua, is a stunning location to visit if you are looking to get more off the beaten track in the Cape Reinga area. There is the serviced Department of Conservation campsite to make use of, and the bay is also part of the Te Paki Coastal Walk (see above).
Location: 36km (22 miles) south of Cape Reinga off State Highway 1 down Te Hapua Road then Spirits Bay Road.