New Zealand Top to Bottom and Some Maori Mythology
The geography in New Zealand is diverse indeed. The north borders on the tropical side while the south is more alpine. One of our objectives in visiting New Zealand was to visit the northern point at Cape Reinga and the very different southern most location at Slope Point more than 1400km away. Whereas you can actually access the southern most point via a 2km walk, the true northern most point is much more difficult as it is a 30km hike from the nearest road.
The northern most point you can easily walk to is the Cape Reinga is the lighthouse. The walk is a couple of kilometres down a nicely paved trail which provides some beautiful views of the northern coast line (looking west in the second photo).
The northern point at Cape Reinga is also a significant, sacred location in Maori Mythology. It is the point where spirits descend to the underworld. There is a nearby rocky point called Te Reinga where there is an ancient kahika tree named Te Aroha. The tree survives in wind and wave swept salt water beyond all odds. The Maori's believe that the spirits decend to the water on the steps formed by the trees roots. They then continue on their journey to Hawaiki, the spiritual home.
A closer view of the tree on the right side of the photo.
Reinga is also the meeting point of the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea and you can actually see where they meet. This meeting point is also significant in Maori Mythology. The seas are male and female and the point where the currents clash represents the creation of life. So spiritual birth and death come together at this, the northern most point of New Zealand.
In contrast, the southern most point is a windswept cliff almost void of any vegetation or significance other than the fact that it is New Zealand's southern most point and a reasonably popular tourist photo op.
The next two photos are a view to the east and then one to the west.