The last leg to Cape Reinga (Te Rerenga Wairua: the “leaping place of the spirits”) runs high through the hills before revealing magnificent views of the Tasman Sea and the huge dunes that foreshadow it. At road-end there’s just a car park with toilets and a 800m-long interpretive trail to the Cape Reinga lighthouse, dramatically perched on a headland 165m above Colombia Bank, where the waves of the Tasman Sea meet the swirling currents of the Pacific Ocean in a boiling cauldron of surf. On clear days the view from here is stunning: east to the Surville Cliffs of North Cape, west to Cape Maria van Diemen, and north to the rocky Three Kings Islands, 57km offshore, which were named by Abel Tasman, who first came upon them on the eve of Epiphany 1643.

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