Ninety Mile Beach is actually about 58 miles in length and got its name from the estimate which the early farmers in the area used when bringing their cattle to market. They figured they could drive their livestock 30 miles per day and it would take them three days to make the trip from the top to the bottom of the beach, hence the ninety mile name.
The beach is actually a state highway and can be driven – when the tide permits – for its entire length using appropriate 4WD vehicles. Once clear of the village of Ahipara, one can count on one hand the number of man-made structures on the entire length of the beach.
Close to its northern end, a shallow river called Te Paki stream joins the beach. At the far end is located an extensive and very beautiful sand dune system. Many visitors are often seen either climbing the steep sand hills or tobogganing down them.
Some refer to Ninety Mile Beach as the “mother of all beaches”, which once experienced, is easy to see why.