Monday, August 24, 2009

Cape Reinga/Ninety Mile Beach (Part 2)

Te Paki Stream
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Gumdiggers played an important part of Te Paki history. That history more or less follows the history in other parts of Northland. The Aupori tribe came to Te Paki when other tribes wanted their land and a few more slaves to work that newly acquired land. Just when things weren’t stirred up enough, the whalers and missionaries arrived to complicate history. The first European landowners were Stannus Jones and Samuel Yates, a young English lawyer. Yates married a local Maori princess and became a husband, farmer, storekeeper and gum trader. Called “King of the North” he homesteaded at Paki– now called Te Paki. Dalmation gum diggers settled just south of Te Paki and hunted for kauri gum, fossilized resin from kauri trees used in varnish. They left their coins in that money tree for good luck.

Fur Seals
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In 1966, the Crown bought Te Paki Station and took over management. Te Paki Farm is now much smaller and most of its grassland is returning. Part of The Farm can be seen from the road. Working dogs keep the cattle and sheep from misbehaving. Six Santa Gertrudis bulls were brought in to meet the Angus-Hereford cross cattle in hopes of producing a higher quality lean meat. Horses are used to roundup the cattle. Dogs do most of the work keeping the sheep moving in the right direction. If you’d like to visit a working farm, there are two public access tracks. Just don’t turn your back on those Santa Gertrudis bulls.

Te Paki is not just wind swept sand dunes, rocky cliffs and grassland. At one time the hills and gullies were covered with totara, rimu, and kauri trees. Those trees disappeared for some unknown reason, but some survive in the deeper valleys. A short walk takes you to a grove of kauri trees just below Te Paki trig.

Te Paki Beach
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If you want to explore but don’t fancy hiking and packing your own supplies– ride a horse. You can book a short half day trip or pack in and spend two or three days camping and exploring.

On your way out of Te Paki, you’ll find Rarawa, the third DOC campground I mentioned. Near Sh1 on Great Exhibition Bay, A few kms north of Ngutaki, it’s a sheltered campsite in the pines behind the beach.

Take time to visit Te Paki even if it’s only a day trip up Ninety Mile Beach to Cape Reinga– or try a dune buggy trip along the sand. Once you see Te Paki, you’ll want to return and spend more time off that tourist track.

Mad Kiwis
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We started in Kaitai and we’re ending in Kaitai, so I’ll suggest some low cost places to spend the night. There’s a small amount of parking at Ninety Mile Beach. Turn west at Houhora Heads into Settlers Rd then right into Hukatera Rd which runs through the pines to the beach. Houhora Heads also has an inexpensive motor camp if you need a shower. Back on the Tasman Sea side at Waipapa Kauri, The Park Top 10 Ninety Mile Beach is another inexpensive motorcamp.

If you’re looking for a motel in Kaitai, it’s easy enough to find one on your own. If you have a self-contained movan, several businesses in Kaitai allow overnight parking. Liquor King, The Warehouse, Farmers, Pak-N Save all allow overnight parking. They just don’t want you to hang around taking up space during the day– always ask first.

Ninety Mile Beach
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Save time on your next trip to New Zealand to explore Te Paki or another part of New Zealand off that tourist track.

Lyn Harris

RV in NZ: How to Spend Your Winters in New Zealand

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Anonymous said...

This seems like a very unique part of New Zealand. I'll be visiting Jan & Feb. I'll definitely be spending time in the Northland spots you've covered. It's hard for me to find information about off the beaten path spots. Most travel blogs offer tourist destination information.
BTW: What's the electricity?

Lyn said...

Electricity is 230/240 volts-- 50 hertz. If you have a multi-voltage hair dryer, etc, you need an outlet adapter. They're inexpensive. Just buy one when you get there.
If you know someone who shops on a military base, they carry multi-voltage hair dryers and other small travel appliances.

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