Explore the wide open spaces of Ninety Mile beach, a legal highway only open for traffic at low tide. How to get there and best time to go are important as limited access, tides and weather play a large role in enjoying one of New Zealand’s drivable beaches, Ninety Mile Beach.
Discover a drivable beach that is not 90 miles, rather 55 miles or 88 km in length. The southern edge of the beach is Tauroa Point headland, past Ahipara Bay. The wide stretch of low tidal sand is hard packed and drivable with a 4W4 vehicle.
- Ninety Mile Beach is a west coast beach characterised by driftwood, rolling surf and sand dunes
- Ninety Mile Beach’s major claim to fame is the enormous Te Paki sand dunes and its route leads to the iconic Cape Reinga Lighthouse
Ninety Mile Beach’s official name is Te-Oneroa-a-Tōhē.
NINETY MILE BEACH IS IT EASY TO DRIVE ON SAND?
DRIVING TIPS for Ninety Mile Beach
- Only drive the beach two hours either side of the low tide mark near the water
- Loosely hold onto the steering wheel as soft sand can cause the vehicle and wheel to spin rapidly
- Avoid driving in the sea. Salt water rapidly corrodes vehicle parts
- If you become stuck, use the spade, car rubber mats to provide the wheels with a surface to grip. Clear the sand and push the mat under the wheel.
- Keep a constant low speed while driving in consideration for walkers and other vehicles
- Watch out for fishing lines and people
- Do not drive among the fragile sand dune ecosystem
- It is very likely rental car contracts forbid driving on beaches due to the potential of seawater damage
- Consider joining a guided tour if you wish to ‘drive’ the beach. Let someone else do the hard work while you relax and enjoy the experience
Ninety Mile Beach, Northland access points and map on how to get there
There are three access points:
- Waipapakauri ramp – 20 km north of Kaitaia. This access point is used by tour buses.
- Hukatere entrance – middle of drivable section of Ninety Mile Beach, gravel road access to beach entrance past Aupouri Forest
- Te Paki stream – northern entrance and close to giant sand dunes
Ninety Mile Beach is part of the Cape Reinga and far north attractions. Consider visiting Parengarenga Harbour for the ultimate beach getaway complete with outstanding views of Kokotu silica gleaming white sands and prolific bird life. Bucket list Rarawa Beach, a hidden gem, remote and isolated from the crowds. Enjoy the scenic highway from Ahipara or Kaitaia as you wander the side roads of the far north of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Northland has a moderate climate of warm humid summers, relatively mild wet winters, and prevailing south-west winds.
Rainfall varies from mean measurements of 992 mm at Cape Reinga to 1440 mm at Te Paki with higher rainfalls likely in hillier locations.
Winter is the wettest season of the year, but heavy rain may occur at any time, the heaviest rains are associated with easterly wind conditions. The driest months are January and March, with most rain falling in August.
BEST TIME TO GO (NORTHLAND)
November to mid-April (while the winterless North is unlikely to experience low temperatures and frost Northland can have periods of extensive rain in winter (April to September)
For more information about what to see and do in Northland check out Far North & Northland Region.
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