Ninety Mile Beach..., Northland

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  • The white silica sands of Rarawa Beach.
    The white silica sands of Rarawa Beach.
    by Kakapo2
  • Huge sand dunes at Te Paki Stream.
    Huge sand dunes at Te Paki Stream.
    by Kakapo2
  • Te Paki dunes made for sand boarding
    Te Paki dunes made for sand boarding
    by vtveen
  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Get on a Bus to Ninety Mile Beach and Cape Reinga

    by Kakapo2 Updated Nov 20, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The white silica sands of Rarawa Beach.
    1 more image

    The reason why rental companies do not allow you to drive on 90 Mile Beach (which is only 90km or 55 miles long) is simple: The cars are not insured. Often cars get stuck in the sand and have to be left behind. No emergency service is close enough to save the cars from the flood. Mobile phone coverage does not exist in most parts of the area. So the adventure often ends in an endless walk.

    If you have your own car and want to risk the beach drive prepare yourself and the car well. Start two hours after high tide, either the way up or down, depending on the time of the tides. (The direction of the bus tours also changes for that reason.) Spray waterproofing spray on the ignition. Drive close to the water, so you do not get in the soft sand, slow down when crossing creeks. If you get stuck lower the air pressure of the tyres. There are many access roads. The buses use the Waipapakauri Ramp, 6km north of Awanui, and in the north they drive through Te Paki Stream - do not stop there!

    If you still have the nerves to do it - do it. But do not expect quick help if something goes wrong.

    As we wanted a relaxed trip we went on a bus tour with Cape Runners from Kaitaia.

    The bus stopped at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom in Awanui which is a run-down town. In a sawmill they cut 30,000 to 50,000 year old kauri logs which they pull out from the swamps. Then at "The Bluff" which is a good fishing spot, with rough sea and volcanic outcrops. We also stopped after having driven through Te Paki Stream and climbed on the huge dunes. Most tours even include tobogganing on the dunes.

    From Cape Reinga the tour leads to Tapotupotu Bay which is a wonderful beach next to the cape.

    On the way back south on SH1 we stopped at Parengarenga Beach. The snow-white silica sands are used for producing glass. At Houhora Heads is the Wagener Museum which displays lots of Maori artefacts, kauri gum, early settlers' tools, firearms, and gives insight into whaling and the Victorian times.

    Tour operators:
    See transportation tip

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Beaches

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  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Walking to ninety mile beach

    by vtveen Updated Jan 2, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    walking through Te Paki Stream
    3 more images

    On your way back from Cape Reinga turn right at Te Paki and drive about 4 or 5 km's till a car park. Here ends the road for rental cars, because they are not allowed on 'the beach'. Just opposite the car park you will find some huge sand dunes.

    Do you want to see the famous beach, you will have to walk, as we did. A very impressive walk through the Te Paki Stream: to your right the yellow dunes for miles and miles, to your left green native bush, the sun on your face and under your feet the nice cold water of the stream. Perhaps you will see people sand boarding on the huge steep dunes.

    It is for sure: the only 'things' you will meet are buses and on the beach a lot of birds. A very great experience !!
    ( It will take about 2 hours for the return walk.)

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Beaches

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  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    driving on ninety mile beach

    by vtveen Updated Mar 25, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ready for take off

    Driving with a rental car it is not allowed on ninety mile beach. But we could not resist the challenge.
    We went on the beach near Waipapakauri and went off in Ahipara (we just had some trouble to find the onramp). So we made our 17 kilometers on a ninety mile 'beach high way'.

    Although we didn't have any difficulties driving the beach it CAN be very dangerous.
    Before driving Ninety Mile Beach please read the transportation tips of VT-member 'kotitihaere' on her Ninety Mile Beach page.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip

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  • worldkiwi's Profile Photo

    Ninety Mile Beach...

    by worldkiwi Written Feb 4, 2004
    Ninety Mile Beach, 1987

    Ninety Mile Beach is actually closer to 90kms, but when you're on it, it feels awfully long!
    You can get special coach trips that roar through the surf and stop at sand dunes where you can boogie board down them.
    If you have your own transport, look for signposted entries to the beach off State Highway 1. There's one not far north of Ahipara town. It can be dangerous taking your own car onto the beach, and rental cars are not covered by insurance.
    This is an old (and dodgy) photo from 1987 on a family trip... I'll do better next time!

    Related to:
    • Beaches

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  • kiwiwahine's Profile Photo

    Ahipara - Ninety Mile Beach

    by kiwiwahine Written Jun 4, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ninety Mile Beach

    At the bottom of Ninety Mile Beach, a sleepy little seaside town just west of Kaitaia. A great place to spend summer days, fishing, swimming, digging pipis or gathering paua. Take a walk inland, swimming in the rivers and water falls and gather blackberries. You can do a sand dune safari on one of the four wheel drive buses based in Kaitaia or take a day trip up to the Cape. Alternately travel overland on winding roads through fertile farm land to Mongonui stopping to have a look at the glow worm caves on the way.

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Comments (1)

  • Apr 15, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    Just need to point out a few problems with dave and rose sand board hire.
    Firstly the sand dunes are amazing !!!
    Myself and my girlfriend arrived at the dunes at the same time as a very friendly family. As we had our own boards that came with the camper , we did not need to hire. The family decided that the 15$ per board per person that it was too expensive to hire ( dave will not let you share ! this stops groups hiring one and all using it ! and this is a business i understand that ) we all walked to the foot of the dunes together and one of the kids ( with a little bit of good cheek ) asked another guy with a board if he could carry his board to the top ( obviously wanting a go but he's a young kid ) "Dave" had followed us over and started to shout at the kid " boy " " boy " " come away " in a slight aggressive manor. The lads father curtailed his sons activity but did show his dismay to dave by saying ( quite rightly so ) " you want to learn how to run a business " dave replied aggressively again " your not leaving any money in the far north " quite wrong but non with this guy for sure .
    at this point i told the lad he could have a go on mine ( why not its mine ) Dave then asked again you guessed aggressively " who's watching your vehicles while your up here " scaring my girlfriend and our friends wife . To the point she dare not have a go down the dunes as he's stood at the bottom in a very threatening manner.
    for the next period of fun ( not that much when daves now walked back to potentially damage our van and cars ) we dare not leave the view of them !!
    It did turn out from the young lad dave had initially told him when he'd gone to look at the hire " bring your dad or his wallet "
    It also turns out when ive just spoke to DOC ( who let me down by not really wanting to know , i suspect the guy i spoke to knows dave well ) similar incidents are common especially when people do share ! if you don't pay him when you share he will block your car in with his truck and phone the police !!!! and you will end up being the culprit not victim!!
    in effect i suppose he's running a cash business ( badly) and i can speculate not declaring all his profit ( who does ??)
    This guy is a nasty piece of work not to be messed with or hired from at all !!!
    get your board off the road side from any place that does not mention dave and rose please.
    Im a barnsley lad ( yorkshire ) and if Dave and roses sand board hire was on another well known travel advisor site you'd see my post is not from a competitor with bad blood ! who would make up they were from Barnsley??
    Good luck woody

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