Tommys Place at the Tip of Borneo

In Sabah, Malaysia,  I head further north, 3-hours by public transport, to Kudat,  for a couple of nights at Tommy’s Place at the  tip of Borneo to spend time on the beach – my first time since I was at the Damai Beach Resort with its lovely sunsets.

The Tip of Borneo
The Tip of Borneo

Although it’s advertised as basic accommodation I stayed in one of their excellent villas, on the rise behind the restaurant and the simpler rooms.  The food too is unassuming which is exactly what’s needed at the beach, and they are proud of their eco-credentials which concentrate especially on water conservation and energy reduction.

Tommy says they’re hoping others can see what we are doing and copy it for their homes, resorts or business. In addition to having chlorine-free water, which uses lots of energy to transport it there, they have reduced their water energy waste down to zero by using rainwater collected in two huge tanks.

I'm in villa with a great view
I’m in a villa with a great view
view from my room
The view from my room

One disadvantage this small resort has is its position on the long curved beach: the wind and current deposit rubbish right on the beach in front of their accommodation.  This is the same wind that encouraged Tommy to build the units as he’s a keen windsurfer and he has them, surfboards and canoes for hire.

I tell the desk staff that I will help with a beach clean-up if they arrange one and the next morning they are waiting for me with bags and rakes ready. Although proud of a certificate for cleaning the beach that’s on the wall, and their eco-practices, it seems they rarely find time to clean the beach. We remove about 4 large bags of food wrappers, kids’ lollipop sticks, plastic, straws, butter containers and lids and the ever-present water bottles we leave behind. Rubbish removal can be difficult in small, remote places and I suggest weekly clean-ups like this are needed as guests always see the trash but don’t see the water savings.

Tommys beach clean-up team!
Tommy’s fabulous beach clean-up team – eco heroes!

Twice I take the 10-mins walk to the Tip of Borneo, the draw card of the area, enjoying the birds and monitor lizards on the way. A snake slides off the warm pathway as I walk back and I return to the spot three or four times to see if I could photograph it, with no luck – a monitor lizard proves more photogenic.

The tip has a beautiful globe, and a huge flagpole, as well as the stunning scenery here at the true top of this huge island. The British gave this area the romantic name of ‘The Parting of the Pirate Ways’, however I didn’t see any pirates as I sat and watched the swirling tides of the South China Sea collide with the  Sulu Sea.  This wave action has created a dramatic headland carved into the stone cliffs and it’s a great spot to just relax in the sun.

I found Tommy’s Place is a great place to chill for a few days – others used it as a base to explore more of the area.

The top of the North: the tail of the fish

The “Top of the North” is the long finger of land that tops the North Island of New Zealand and stretches from Kaitaia to Cape Reinga of the North Island. On a road trip ( the rental car company I recommend is RentalCarsNZ) you will go through the tiny towns of Ahipara, Awanui, Herekino, Houhoura, Ngataki and Pukenui. (heading north)

Often referred to as ‘the winterless north’ by we kiwis, it’s a great place for holidays around the perfect beaches: swimming, boating, fishing, and snorkelling are just some of the things you can do – many of us just relax in the sun!

Cape Reinga’s lighthouse looks over the often tempestuous seas where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea meet. On sunny, picture-perfect, postcard days, the vivid green of the Tasman Sea and the cobalt blue of the Pacific Ocean is truly fantastic, a truly striking scene – today the blues seemed to merge.

Kaitiai is the main visitor hub for the area: a great place to base yourself, handy to all the beaches, and it’s from here you can leave to go riding along the sands of Ninety Mile Beach, stand at Cape Reinga with it’s awesome views and discover local history and Maori legends.

I went up the beach with Sand Safaris and had a great time (once again, a blog to follow once I’ve returned to Wellington – and worked my way through all the stories I’ve collected – will start at the beginning of this trip and just keep writing). I will confess now, I did not go sledging down the dunes  – I used up my adrenaline quotient with the Paragliding in Paihia. – see the blog of about a week ago.




As I said, I lost my story that I wrote  for the day and  these pics,  and couldn’t get on-line last night … so apologies and more tomorrow night – but in the meantime, the villa at the end is the Endless Summer Lodge a great hotel with delightful hosts Anna & Blaine (tell them i sent you Smile)

I have now checked into the Copthorne Hotel & Resort Hokianga right on the beach and tonight I out with Footprints Waipoua for a guided walk into the forest – so no writing tonight as out!

Christchurch’s beach suburb: Sumner

Cave Rock & Shag Rock with the central city in background

On a cold wet winter day it’s good to remember we had really great weather only a couple of weeks ago – the drought is over! Catch local bus #3 to visit this suburb.

%d bloggers like this: