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Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga) marks the separation of the Tasman Sea (to the west) from the Pacific Ocean. For Maori, theres turbulent waters are where the male sea Te Moana Tapokopoko a Tawhaki meet the female sea Te Tau o Whitireia.
First used in May 1941, Te Rerenga Wairua was the last watched lightouse to be built in New Zealand. Standing at an impressive 10m in height and 165m above sea level.
The Cape Reinga light today is electric, with the last lighthouse keeper being withdrawn in 1987. It is now managed remotely by computer from Wellington and the 1000-watt light bulb magnified by the lens system throws a signal of warning 49 km out to sea and is often the first light in New Zealand that sailors see.
One of the longest stretches of beach in New Zealand, 90 Mile Beach may not be exactly 90 miles long - but it's not short on natural beauty or exciting things to do.
It’s known for spectacular sunsets and for having one of the best left-hand surf breaks in the world. The beach is officially a highway, but it’s only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles and when the tide is high it’s impossible to drive on.
The last lighthouse keeper being withdrawn in 1987. It is now managed remotely by Ninety-Mile Beach is the fabled strip of sand that stretches from Ahipara to Scott Point, five kilometres south of Cape Maria van Diemen.
How long is 90 mile beach? This is a trick question right? 90 Mile Beach must be 90 miles long? After all, it’s in the name?
Well, names can be deceiving. The truth is that the beach is only 54 miles (88 km) long.
Just inland from the beach, you’ll find massive sand dunes, formed by the wind over many centuries. It’s a surreal landscape – you’ll feel like you have been transported to the middle of the Sahara Desert. These towering hills of sand are the perfect place to practice a unique and thrilling sport: sand boarding.
If you are brave enough, sit or lie on a plastic sled and go zooming down the sandy slopes. It’s an addictive thrill and you will want to slide down again and again, gathering confidence and speed with each run.
Paihia is an excellent base from which to explore the Bay of Islands.
Top local adventures include cruising to the ‘hole in the rock’ at the tip of Cape Brett, finding dolphins (and even swimming with them) and sea kayak tours. Paihia is also just down the road from the historic Treaty House at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, which marks the beginning of New Zealand as a nation.
Take a half-day or full day Bay of Islands cruise in search of dolphins and other marine life. Enjoy the views as you journey through the Bay of Islands right to the end of the Cape Brett Peninsula, to the famous Hole in the Rock on Motukokako Island.
It's an island dominated by its sheer cliffs that rise 148 metres out of the sea. It's likely Motukokako would've been considered just another big rock in the ocean had that same ocean not carved out a spectacular 16m-high hole at its south-western end.
Historic buildings and a seaside setting full of cafes, restaurants and art galleries gives Russell a truly romantic quality.
Russell holds an important place in New Zealand's history, being the country's first sea port, its first European settlement and New Zealand's first capital in nearby Okiato. The town's streets retain their original layout and names from 1843, and many of its historic buildings can still be visited today. New Zealand's first licensed hotel, bar and restaurant, The Duke of Marlborough is located on the waterfront in the historic village of Russell.
Waitangi, one of New Zealand's most significant historic sites, is where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in 1840 between the British Crown and more than 500 Maori chiefs. The treaty agreed the terms by which New Zealand would become a British colony.
Enjoy an inspiring and interactive full day experience through Waitangi’s two contemporary museums, powerful Māori cultural performances in an authentic Meeting House, informative guided tours, engaging visitor centre, lush native forest and gardens, inspiring art gallery and carving studio, traditional Māori waka (canoe) and hāngi, tranquil café and so much more, all with stunning views over the Bay of Islands.
Waiheke is a haven of beautiful vineyards, olive groves and beaches, all just a 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland.
Getting around is easy too. Catch one of the regular ferries that run to Waiheke from downtown Auckland. Once on the island, there are public buses and taxis, or you can hire a mountain bike, motor scooter or car. And if you've already got a car or bike, you can bring it over with you on the car ferry.
On the island’s landward side, emerald waters lap at rocky bays, while its ocean flank has excellent sandy beaches. While beaches are Waiheke’s biggest drawcard, wine is a close second. There are around 30 boutique wineries scattered about, many with tasting rooms, swanky restaurants and breathtaking views.
Auckland is New Zealand’s most populous city and is a multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts and culture. Also known as "The City of Sails “, Auckland sprawls over volcanic hills and around twin harbours, offering an exhilarating mix of natural wonders and urban adventures.
Auckland offers an urban environment where most people live within half an hour of beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a dozen enchanting holiday islands. Add a sunny climate, a background rhythm of Polynesian culture and a passion for outstanding food, wine and shopping, and you’re beginning to get the picture of Auckland, New Zealand, our largest and most diverse city.
Rotorua is known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, as well as showcasing our fascinating Māori culture.
Located in the heart of the North Island, Rotorua is also the gateway to other central destinations - it's less than two hours to the Mt Ruapehu ski fields and less than an hour from the nearest beach towns.
Taupō was created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies in Europe and China.
Centred around New Zealand's largest lake, Taupō is a fishing and boating paradise.
Taupō is a great lake for water-skiing, sailing and kayaking. But what Taupō is really known for is fishing.
Coromandel Town is full of history from New Zealand's early gold mining and logging days. Set on a natural harbour, the town was named after the ship H.M.S Coromandel, which called here in 1820 to collect kauri logs to make spars for the British Royal Navy.
A gold strike in the late 1860s saw the town's population shoot up to 10,000. Although the serious mining days are over, the town has New Zealand’s last fully functional stamper battery - still on its original site and working on a daily basis.
These days, Coromandel Town is a quiet, charming settlement and an artists' haven. As well as galleries and craft shops showcasing the local talent, Coromandel has many restored Victorian buildings, a narrow gauge mountain railway and a small mining museum.
From beautiful Hahei Beach on The Coromandel you can walk to Cathedral Cove, where a naturally formed archway deserves photographic attention.
Just off the beach at Cathedral Cove is a large pinnacle of pumice breccia rock known as 'Te Hoho'. Over centuries this has been sculpted by wind and water - it now looks like the prow of a large ship steaming into the beach.
Naturally heated mineral water bubbles up from deep within the earth to emerge through golden sand at the appropriately named Hot Water Beach.
Near the rocks at the southern end of the beach you can dig your own spa pool in the sand. Dig up to two hours either side of low tide – that's when the tide is low enough to expose the area of sand with hot water underneath. It's a strange but very pleasant feeling to be lying in a pool of hot water just metres from the refreshing sea.
Gisborne is the first city in the world to greet the sun each morning, and it has a reputation for great food, wine and surf beaches. As the unofficial ‘Chardonnay Capital of New Zealand’.
Looking back to the arrival of great Polynesian voyagers, Captain James Cook’s landing and the very first encounter between Māori and European, Tairāwhiti is a significant region steeped in New Zealand culture and history.
On 3 February 1931, most of Napier was levelled by an earthquake for more than three minutes. The centre of the town was destroyed by the earthquake, and rebuilding began almost immediately, and new buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Napier is often referred to as a 1930s film set.
Every February, Napier celebrates its heritage with the Art Deco Festival - a stylish celebration of all things 1930s, including vintage cars, fashion and music.
The city of New Plymouth is known for its sunny climate, art galleries and beautiful parks. It is also New Zealand’s ‘oil town’, with offshore rigs extracting natural gas and oil.
In the rhododendron season, New Plymouth's parks and gardens are beautiful to behold. Alternatively, pull on your hiking boots and explore Mount Taranaki.
The conical shape of Mount Taranaki provides a dramatic backdrop to the city, a constant reminder that the hiking trails of Egmont National Park are just a short drive away.
Situated at the southern end of the North Island, Wellington, New Zealand, was recently named "the coolest little capital in the world" by Lonely Planet.
Wellington is the gateway to the South Island and home to the nation's capital - a place brimming with arts & culture.