Our one month journey throughout New Zealand in a converted camper van all began in a small, seaside town known as Mangawhai (pronounced Mangafai). With this town not being one of Lonely Planets Top 20 or having any major touristic hotspots, it isn’t visited much by travelers. However, as proud Gibraltarians it happens to be a very significant town in terms of Gibraltar’s Geographical location. Unbeknown to even many of the locals, their very own beautiful Te Arai Beach happens to be the Antipode to the Rock of Gibraltar. Directy opposite the rock, it happens to be one of only 28 direct antipodal towns or cities in the world making up the 4.4% of the planet which happens to have land territory diametrically opposite each other at corresponding antipodes. With around 71% of the Earths surface covered by oceans and over 85% of land found on the northern hemisphere, most locations on land do not have land-based antipodes.
Te Arai Beach
A two day visit to this significant kiwi town meant we had an overnight stay in our camper overlooking the impressive coastline. Te Arai beach is a long white sand beach known for its decent surfing conditions and found on the back of some beautiful forests and lush green farms.
Coincidently, like Gibraltar, Mangawhai has its beaches and annoying seagulls but is also home to some impressive mammals such as Bottlenose Dolphins and Killer Whales. Having camped right on the beach, whilst finishing off our breakfast we were fortunate enough to witness six of these majestic orcas break through the crisp, calm morning waters just 50metres from the shore as they were hunting for Eagle Rays in amongst the shallow waters. Warned about them moving in our direction by a local surfer we we able to run out onto a small rock formation which extended out into the waters where we got the perfect view of the two Pods of three. Wanting an up close experience, the surfer bravely went out into the waters with them and was extremly lucky as he witnessed the young orca swim directly below him.
Local surfer floating near one of the large Killer Whales
with the smaller one swimming underneath
Reaching the direct location of Gibraltar’s Antipode was quite surreal to think that we were at the furthermost point on the planet from home and that a perfectly straight 12742km tunnel through the planet would emerge at our Ferry Terminal. Despite its small size, this is another of the many special things about the Rock.