Located in the Northlands on Doubtless Bay, just minutes from the port town of Mangonui, Cable Bay is a quaint little beach-front town. We enjoyed our day trip exploring Ninety Mile Beach, Te Paki Sand Dunes, and Cape Reinga from Cable Bay.
Things To Do & See
1) Aupouri Peninsula
One of our favorite days on the North Island was the day we spent exploring the Aupouri Peninsula. Some of the highlights from our day exploring include:
A) Watching Cars Drive Down Ninety Mile Beach
Recognized as an official highway, keep your eyes open for cars driving down Ninety Mile Beach! This sandy beach stretches out along the west coast of the Aupouri Peninsula from Kaitaia to Cape Reinga. Although named ninety miles, the beach actually is only fifty-five miles. It is safe to drive on the beach only within an hour or two of low tide. Signs posted will warn of the dangers and recommendations are for only 4 wheel drives to proceed, however you will find many locals taking to the beach in their automobiles. The easiest access point for those wanting to view the beach is to use the south access point – follow signs.
B) Sand Surfing @ Te Paki Sand Dunes
Although referred to as sand surfing, it is closer to sledding than surfing. Revert back to your childhood, rent a board ($15 NZD) at the base and spend a few hours sledding down the hills. We would recommend trying the bunny slope first, then once you get the feel make your way to the large hills. It is a lot of work climbing the hills to sled, so remember you will most likely only stay for a few runs. Be aware, the stand can get quite hot!
C) Seeing the Tasman Sea & Pacific Ocean Collide @ Cape Reinga
Cape Reinga is the northern most point of New Zealand. From the parking lot take the stroll down the hill to the lighthouse, where you can look out into the vast ocean and see the Tasman Sea to the west meets the Pacific Ocean to the east. If you have time, the Te Paki Costal Path veers off to the west (left) that descends down to one of the beach coves, Te Werahi Beach…or you can choose to follow it further all the way to Te Paki Stream, which is 25 km away.
D) Frolicking on the beautiful white sands beaches of Rarawa Beach
We enjoyed playing on the white sands of this empty beach. Outside of a surfer (and their truck) the beach was empty when we arrived. However, this beach is on the tourist bus route, and as we were leaving three buses pulled in!
E) Eating Ice Cream in Te Kao
Pull of the road at the only shop in Te Kao and enjoyed a very reasonably priced and tasty cone of ice cream. Kevin enjoyed the local New Zealand favorite Hokie Pokie, while I went with my favorite cookies and cream. It is definitely worth a quick stop.
F) Dipping Our Feet in the Clear Waters @ Taputaputa Bay
Located on the east coast of the peninsula between Te Paki and Cape Reinga. Follow the sign posted to the Bay. The road winds and descends quickly down to this bay. The clear waters roll into this white sandy beach (with large rocks). There is also a camping area off this beach.
NOTE: Be aware that the tour buses hit many of these destinations, thus it is wise to try and time the sights accordingly. To do so, check the tide schedule — the buses drive on ninety mile beach — thus if low tide is in the morning they will drive up the beach first, followed by Te Paki Sand Dunes, Cape Reinga, Te Kao, and then Rarawa Beach. If low tide is in the afternoon, the routing of the buses will be reverse. We recommend doing the drive yourself, however, if you do not have a car, then consider taking one of the buses that departs from Kaitaia, such as: Harrisons, AwesomeNZ, or Sand Safaris.
1) Mangonui Fish Shop
Located in Mangonui, the Mangonui Fish Shop is touted to have the best fish and chips in New Zealand. Although the staff was not overly friendly and the prices were very high, the fish was good. We enjoyed the sweet potato chips over the standard chips.
Located directly on the beach, these two bedroom apartments provided everything we needed for our short stay, including free wifi, a fully equipped kitchen, washer/dryer, and a patio with a great front row view of the Bay. We would highly recommend these apartments and would definitely stay here again.