Heading north past the pub and the memorial to the Most Northern RNZAF Base in WW II, you round the bend and on your left by the corner of Matich Road you can see what remains of the old operations room that was used during WWII
It was originally buried under the sand, but has since been uncovered. If you look at the picture you can see the dunes behind, which extended all the way over the operations base.
The operations base sat at the junction of the 3 runways that were there at the time.
The Most Northern RNZAF Base in WW II Memorial is another tip I have done with a bit more information.
It is not a well known fact, but one of the most important World War II airbases in New Zealand was situated in Waipapakauri, just a few ks north of Kaitaia and on the road to the Cape.
The station was completed in March 1941. By September 1943 the station also had a fully equipped anti-aircraft artillery unit on site, to defend the aerodrome from air attack.
In 1940 with the threat of German raider ships in the Pacific and Tasman Sea, a Squadron was rushed to Waipapakauri to patrol the waters and search for the enemy.
It was also the main fueling stop for those who monitored the oceans as the enemy came closer to home.
While the airforce base is no longer, there is a memorial next to the pub, which was used as the Officer's mess for No. 1 Sqn Detachment then the RNZAF Hospital.
Head north out of Kaitaia, through Awanui and keep going until you see a sign on pointing to a road on the left saying Waipapakauri and 90 Mile beach. Take that road and after a while you will start to see the ocean peering through sand dunes and trees. Keep going until you get to the car park and STOP!
Get out and go and check the onramp seeing where the tide is and what it is like. This is the west coast and can be wild - seeing a calm day out there is fairly rare, a normal day out there is about 1/2 metre high waves about 20 m apart. This is also the Tasman sea, so straight out is Australia.
It is best to hit the Tohe about 3 hours after the high tide, but just because you know when the high tide was it still pays to check as it could be a High high tide and the water may not have gone out to far. Also, depending on currents and winds and moon pull, the surface can change from one tide to the next.
If you are in doubt about driving out there, DON'T DO IT!!!!
More information on how to drive on the Tohe and metal roads
This is one of the main onramps to the ninety mile beach and is situated at the southern end (although it is not the southern most onramp). We regulary use it as we can get home faster through the Tohe than the road - but that depends on the tides of course!
Fondest memory: Heading down the road then getting a glimpse of the ocean and the smell of salt tells us we are nearly there!