90 Mile Beach !! Haven’t we all heard about this place in New Zealand? I really wondered how long of a beach it must be to have been named liked that. So this morning while I was in Kaitaia I was in two minds of going there; the beach which literally starts from north of Kaitaia and ends all the way at Cape Reinga apparently is also a designated public highway. I found out that despite the name 90 Mile Beach, it is actually 88 kilometres long i.e., roughly about 55miles. Ah I suppose during the naming ceremony, someone with mathematical issues was given the responsibility of coming up with the name.
I was there at the beach just before 9am and saw some sign posts that warned about driving and the need for a 4WD etc !! Just last week I had accidentally booked myself a 4WD SUV to drive in the valleys of Canterbury and I so wish I had committed the same thing again. I did see a couple of 4WDs drive to the beach and I said to myself “I wish” and then walked from the parking lot to the beach, crossing the huge sand dunes. While walking around I noticed that the water levels as well the condition of the beach sand were pretty good for any vehicle. Somewhere about a mile away I noticed what looked like a mini van with some people hanging by it. And then I thought perhaps my rented out Ford Focus isn’t a bad choice to give it a go. What could be the worst? That the car would get stuck in the sand…My flight was about 12hrs away anyway and I’m sure I could find some help if that happened. Although given that I had to drive about 5hrs to the airport, the cynic in me asked once again if I wanted to do it. A couple of thoughts later and reminding myself how I made it to the top of the Baldwin Street in Dunedin on a 1300cc Mazda Demio, I thought if I don’t risk it I wouldn’t know what the feeling of driving in the 90 Mile Beach would be like. So I made it back to the car and decided to bring it to the sands !! Driving at the beach was nothing like I’d imagined it would be. It was much more than that.
The minute I started driving just next to the water, I was in a state of disbelief. I mean driving at sea level next to the Tasman Sea on a gorgeous Sunday morning, it was unbelievably exciting to say the least. It was so good driving at this spot that I think it should be illegal 🙂 With no one in sight for miles together on either side I could not stop driving at all. Initially I was keeping it a safe speed for a while, conscious of the kind of vehicle I had but after a while I went on full throttle. It didn’t take long to find out that 90kmph was just about the right speed to not lose control of the car I had, as well as enjoy the drive at the same time. After a couple of laps I thought it’d be good to drive around with some good music too and then one after another I switched songs from my multilingual playlist, each one adding to the joy of the drive, than the other.
After nearly 90 mins and roughly 75kms of driving around, I thought it had to stop. It was very addictive no doubt but then I had 400kms to drive, to make it on time for the last flight out of Auckland (to Wellington). So as much as I was having a great time I had to tell myself to take it easy and call it a day. And just before I was about to stop for the morning, I saw a huge tourist bus drive into the beach ! I mean a tourist bus straight into the beach?? Where would you see that. As I went closer to that bus, I noticed that the bus driver started doing a few 360s and then ripped away along the shoreline without stopping. I followed it for a while hoping to get a closer picture but nope he was far too ahead and don’t know how long he kept going. I had to turn around after about 10kms or something.
The whole thing was surely an exhilarating experience indeed and it must be done to know what it actually feels like. Driving at sea level is a great feeling no doubt, but driving for miles together at a stretch with no one in sight is a completely different feeling altogether. I was lucky to get a gorgeous sunny morning and listening to some of my favourites while driving along was a bliss. Hopefully the next one isn’t too far away…