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Cape Reinga

4.5
Lookouts · Beaches
Cape Reinga or Te Rerenga Wairua is the northwesternmost tip of the Aupouri Peninsula, at the northern end of the North Island of New Zealand. Cape Reinga is more than 100 km north of the nearest small town of Kaitaia. State Highway 1 extends all the way to the Cape, but until 2010 was unsealed gravel road for the last 19 km. Suitable vehicles can also travel much of the way via Ninety Mile Beach and Te Paki stream bed.The 'Te Rerenga Wairua' component of the name in Māori language means the leaping-off place of spirits. The 'Reinga' part of the name is the Māori language word meaning the underworld. Both refer to the Māori belief that the cape is the point where the spirits of the dead enter the underworld.Cape Reinga is on the tentative list of UNESCO waiting to receive World Heritage Site status. The cape is already a favourite tourist attraction, with over 120,000 visitors a year and around 1,300 cars arriving per day during peak season. Visitor numbers are growing by about five percent a year, and the increase is likely to become even more now that the road to the cape is fully sealed.Meeting of the seasCape Reinga is generally considered the separation marker between the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. From the lighthouse it is possible to watch the tidal race, as the two seas clash to create unsettled waters just off the coast. The Māori refer to this as the meeting of Te Moana-a-Rehua, 'the sea of Rehua' with Te Tai-o-Whitirea, 'the sea of Whitirea', Rehua and Whitirea being a male and a female respectively.
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