6 Incredible Things to Do at Cape Reinga© NZPocketGuide.com
6 Incredible Things to Do at Cape Reinga

10 Best Things to Do at Cape Reinga šŸŒŠ [2024]

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The Activities at Cape Reinga 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 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 1 hr 30 mins away)! So make the most of this spectacular area of New Zealand by checking out all these things to do at Cape Reinga.

1. Discover 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 Māori people.

Location: The walk starts from the Cape Reinga car park, at the end of State Highway 1.

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2. Visit Toputaputu Bay

One of the most scenic and 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: Toputaputu Road, approximately 5 km (3 mi) south of Cape Reinga off State Highway 1.

Gadfium on Wikipedia© Gadfium on Wikipedia

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 48 km (30 mi) 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.

6 Best Things to Do at Cape Reinga© Unsplash

4. Sandboard on the Te Paki Sand Dunes

Grab yourself a bodyboard (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 bodyboard, hold onto the front, and control your speed by digging your feet into the sand. You will see where the bus tours usually sandboard marked in the sand – so that’s a good place to start if you are unsure where to go.

Location: Te Paki Stream Road, approximately 19 km (12 mi) south of Cape Reinga off State Highway 1. There is a car park at the end for vehicles that are not suitable for driving on the sand. Note that rental vehicles are typically not permitted to drive on the sand as per rental agreements.

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5. Visit Spirits Bay

This scenic bay is sacred to the local Māori 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: Spirits Bay Road, approximately 36 km (22 mi) south of Cape Reinga off State Highway 1 (then down Te Hapua Road).

Williamsphotographynz on Wikipedia© Williamsphotographynz on Wikipedia

5 More Things to Do on the Way to Cape Reinga

The trip to Cape Reinga is a long drive, so break up the journey with these things to do between Kaitaia and Cape Reinga:

  1. Stop for fish and chips at the Lucid Cafe (Houhora Heads Road) or Honey Bee Takeaways (SH1, Pukenui)
  2. Tee off at the Houhora Golf Club (SH1, Haihopo)
  3. Stop for a stroll or a swim at Henderson Bay (Henderson Bay Road) or Rarawa Beach (Rarawa Beach Road)
  4. Discover an ancient buried kauri forest at Gumdiggers Park (171 Heath Road, Waiharara)
  5. Browse Māori crafts and kauri homeware at Kā Uri (SH1, Awanui).

For more things to do closer to Kaitaia, head to the 10 Best Things to Do in Kaitaia.

5 Best Things to Do at Cape Reinga šŸŒŠ [2024]© NZPocketGuide.com

Frequently Asked Questions About Cape Reinga

Exploring the northernmost point of New Zealand? Here are some frequently asked questions about Cape Reinga that can help you plan your visit to this unique and sacred spot.

What is so special about Cape Reinga?

Cape Reinga is special for several reasons. It is considered a highly significant site in Māori culture as it is believed to be the point where the spirits of the deceased enter the underworld. Its name, ‘Reinga’, translates to the ‘underworld’ or ‘place of leaping’, where spirits begin their final journey. Besides its cultural significance, Cape Reinga offers breathtaking views where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, creating a spectacular swirl of currents. The area’s isolated beauty, marked by its iconic lighthouse and the endless ocean vista, makes it a place of spiritual and natural significance.

Is it worth visiting Cape Reinga?

Absolutely, visiting Cape Reinga is worth it for anyone travelling to New Zealand. The journey to the cape is as memorable as the destination itself, with scenic routes and the opportunity to experience the unique landscapes of the Northland region, including massive sand dunes and beautiful beaches. The panoramic views from the cape are unparalleled, and the cultural and spiritual significance of the site adds depth to the visit. It’s a place where you can truly feel the connection between nature and Māori heritage.

Is Cape Reinga free?

Yes, visiting Cape Reinga is free. There is no entry fee to access the cape or the lighthouse area. This makes it an accessible destination for all visitors looking to experience New Zealand’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. There are, however, guided tours available that explore Cape Reinga along with other nearby attractions, which do come at a cost.

How long is the walk to the lighthouse at Cape Reinga?

The walk to the Cape Reinga lighthouse from the car park is relatively short and easy, taking about 10 to 15 minutes one way. The path is well-maintained and wheelchair accessible, making it suitable for visitors of all ages and fitness levels. Along the walk, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the surrounding ocean and landscape, culminating in the iconic view of the lighthouse standing at the meeting point of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

More About Things to Do at Cape Reinga

That’s it for our list of the best things to do at Cape Reinga. On your way up to Cape Reinga, don’t miss these towns and their awesome attractions:

Finally, plan the rest of your trip around Te Ika-a-Māui with the 51 Best Things to Do on the North Island.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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