Cape Reinga & 90 Mile Beach

One of the things we all wanted to do on our trip to Pahia was take a day trip up to Cape Reinga/Te Rerenga Wairua, the northern most point of New Zealand. It’s a two and a half hour drive to get there from Pahia, so plan your trip well. We also wanted to drive back down 90 mile beach as well, which is best done at low tide.

So it meant an early morning so that we could get up and visit the Cape lighthouse, and ensure we had enough time to get safely onto the beach and back home before the tide came in.

We stopped in Kaitaia, filled up the trucks, and had breakfast at McDonalds. We were travelling with two other families, they both had four wheel drive trucks, where ours was just a two wheel drive.

There are multiple tours that can pick up from Paihia and surrounding areas if you don’t have a car or don’t want to take your own car, please note also that most rental companies do not allow driving on 90 Mile Beach.

We spent the whole morning walking around Cape Reinga, which has a pohutukawa tree and lighthouse, the views are spectacular so it is well worth the trip.

Cape Reinga posing

This is also a very special place for Maori as this is where their spirits/wairua travel to after their death.


After our visit to Te Rerenga Wairua we headed to Te Paki Stream to go board riding down the dunes and have a picnic.

Te Paki Stream – Entrance to 90 Mile Beach from Cape Reinga end

This was fun for everyone in our group which age ranged from 2 – adult, there is a stream that little ones can swim in whilst the older kids and adults surf down the dunes.

Moo playing in the water down the bottom

Please be very careful with children and keep an eye on them as there are generally a lot of vehicles around. The day before we arrived a boy was run over by a vehicle as he got to the bottom of the dune on his board. He needed to be airlifted to hospital.

We then started to make our way down the beach highway, the beach is actually not 90 miles more like 54 miles, it is a lot of fun and makes a nice change to driving on roads. We stopped around halfway to have a swim, surf and a look around the rocks.

Driving on 90 Mile Beach

I have listed a few tips below if you are thinking of taking the trip yourself.

Pack a Picnic

There are not a lot of places to stop to buy food, so if you want to make the most of your time walking around Cape Reinga and spending time on 90 Mile Beach then we highly recommend packing a picnic.

Time the tides right

Research the tides before you leave, especially if you have a 2WD!

Take a board

The sand dunes are sooooo much fun and was a highlight for the kids and adults ;), so make sure you take a body board. If you are going with a tour bus they have these already as part of the package. Pack a spare change of clothes or togs as you will get wet when you go through the stream at the bottom.


90 Mile Beach is exactly that, a beach, so chances are high that you could get stuck if you don’t have a four wheel drive. Here are some tips for driving on 90 mile beach that will reduce the likelihood of that happening.

  • Don’t stop on the soft sand, or in the running stream
  • Drive at a consistent pace when you have to go on soft sand. You will need to do this to get on and off the beach
  • Don’t drive too close to the water on the beach
  • Keep left and treat the beach as you would a road
  • Be considerate of other users

If you do get stuck there is a good chance that a someone in a four wheel drive will shortly be going past. Give them a wave and they’ll likely be happy to help you out.






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