We all know that maps aren’t my strong point so I was surprised to know that Spirits Bay wasn’t right next to Cape Reinga like it looked on the map but actually a detour before you reach the top of the island with winding gravel roads.
Always one for an adventure we decided to go for a look and I’m happy to report that it’s well worth the detour on the way to Cape Reinga. In fact I’m going to go one further than that and tell you that you can’t drive past this road.
Wether it’s the name or the Maori legend that has Spirits Bay as the sacred departure point for spirits of the dead there is definitely a feeling you get when you walk out to the bay. None of it is “spooky”, just peaceful and a sense that there is definitely something bigger than you at play.
The crashing turquoise ocean foamed up frothy white and had us to scared to put our toes in for fear of being swept out into the endless vista of oceans colliding in front of us.
Those waves also made the most amazing collection of rocks and shells. All ground into tiny, smooth pieces by the waves and heaven to walk on and look at.
It was another spot that I wondered if the kids would really appreciate but again they surprised me. They were quiet, almost reverent at the beach. My two said goodbye to their recently departed Great Grandad and Krystal said goodbye to her brother and sister that were two little to make it. They played with the shells and kept to the paths in an orderly fashion with not a cartwheel in sight. Quite the turn up for our lot!
Another spot that is worth the turn off is Tapotupotu Bay. A sheltered bay with a Doc Camp we stopped here for a quick bite to eat and a quick play in the lagoon.
It’s definitely the best spot for swimming for the little ones (thanks for the tip Belinda) and had the weather been a bit better that day we would have definitely stayed longer.
Top tip – do your research and make some notes before you go
A lot of the spots up north don’t have phone access so if you are planning on totally winging it when you get up there that’s fine but if you have a few spots you want to check out make sure you write them down first as some of the names can all merge together.