Jamie McLellan | July 19th, 2008
Despite being a must-do activity for Kiwis and tourists alike, until now I had never been to Ninety Mile Beach. Having finally done it feels like I have completed some kind of rite of passage.
It is a truly liberating feeling to drive at 100 kilometres per hour on what is probably the widest two-lane highway in the world, on one side huge west coast waves crashing just metres away and on the other deserted sand dunes.
We entered at Waipapakauri Beach, 14 kilometres north of the southern most entrance at Ahipara, and drove 69 kilometres to the last “off-ramp” at Te Paki. To use the word “off-ramp” is not really appropriate, as it is actually a quicksand stream in which locals will warn you not to stop for longer than 5 minutes, otherwise your vehicle will become stuck and eventually swallowed by the sand and water. The stream is about a kilometre long and once out of it you can continue on to Cape Reinga, the northern most point of New Zealand accessible by car.
All the way up Ninety Mile Beach there are great spots for fishing, surfing or just lying in the sun. It is not hard to find your own completely isolated part of the beach, so long as you ignore the occasional car or tour bus rushing by.