From Kerikeri, drive west to Rawene and cross over on the ferry. Take the road that ends at Mitimiti, crossing vast landscapes of hills and forests, roaming stock and tiny settlements. Keep going until there’s absolutely nowhere else to go.
The name Mitimiti supposedly has gory origins involving a fight over the rights to a dead, beached sperm whale. A brave warrior lost the fight but was honoured by being chopped into little pieces on a flat rock and eaten by his adversaries. As was the custom, if you ate a brave man you absorbed some of his ‘mana’. But there wasn’t enough of him to go round, so warriors who’d missed out on the honourable snack were told to lick the rock.
‘Mitimiti’ apparently translates as ‘Lick-lick’
Thankfully, when I visited Mitimiti a couple of weeks ago, the only things that wanted to lick me were puppies! In fact I saw so many animals on Mitimiti beach that the weekend turned into a magnificent safari. Wild horses, herds of cows, tangles of crabs, a sleepy old seal, a pack of licky puppies and even the spout of a vast, passing whale.