Cape Reinga is the northern-most point of New Zealand and also where the Pacific Ocean meets the Tasman Sea. The Maori called it the place of the departing spirits, and it is a deeply spiritual place. When you arrive, you’re surrounded by beach and ocean views in every direction but can also walk down to the lighthouse to get even better views. Of course that’s what we did. As you walk along the path, the wind whips through with power appropriate to the majesty of the place.
Next to the lighthouse is a signpost pointing the way to Hawaii, Sydney, Tokyo, London and others. It’s easy to forget how far away you are out here, but the reminder puts distances in perspective if you think in kilometers or nautical miles. Sadly, I think in neither.
Traditionally, Maori belief held that Cape Reinga Te Rerenga Wairua was the place where the dead leap off the edge of the land and enter the underworld (reinga) on their journey back to Hawaiki, their homeland before coming to New Zealand. Many Maori are Christians today, but the place still holds a special reverence. It’s on the list for consideration under UNESCO World Heritage status.
Title quote: Maori for “leaping-off place of the spirits”