Far North in the South Pacific
|Cape Reinga Lighthouse (Ben Crawford/courtesy, Tourism New Zealand)|
The penultimate stop on my road trip, 90-Mile Beach near Cape Reinga on the island's northernmost tip lived up to its name. I could have jogged on that beach for days without seeing a soul. The beachfront, save for Taharangi Marie Lodge, where I stayed, was totally undeveloped. A few small "batches," or beach cottages, are nestled into the dunes; otherwise, the total lack of civilization and nighttime light pollution made stargazing from the outdoor hot tub the big event of the day. Each March since 1991, a group of locals hosts the Te Houtaewa Challenge, a run up the entire beach that commemorates a local Maori hero. When I jogged and swam on the wide beach during my stay, I schemed about how to return and compete.
90-Mile Beach was as tropical as subtropical gets, with soft Pacific Ocean breezes and clean, white-sand beaches suffused with silica that squeaked underfoot. Taharangi Marie's open-air, indoor/outdoor design and large atrium were well-suited for beach life, and owners Ron and Connie Adams served succulent seafood chowder, made from clams and fish harvested from just out their front door, on a long wooden table on the porch.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication