New Zealand’s sand dunes weren’t far from Cape Reinga. The route south bounced down a dirt road to dunes rising majestically to meet the blue sky.My only companions were footprints of previous climbers etched into the shifting sand. The first dune climbed, I slid along a ridge scanning for an easier way to reach the next, but there was no alternative but to attack the next steep ascent. My feet slipped with each step until, staggering, I reached the top, a lone figure on an empty landscape. Ahead was another dune and the sound of surf pounding the beach.
Disturbing the charm, a screaming busload of tourists arrived. Sliding down the dunes, I veered to the stream soaking my feet and taking a different route from the noisy party. Toetoe dotted the landscape on the southern side, while on the northern side of the stream was another world like a scene from Lawrence of Arabia undulating to the horizon. The dunes lost their mesmerizing quality with the noisy crew, so I turned back to see my car, a white dot in the distance and left the revelers.