Well, time to leave ´Sulphur City´and head off again, this time westwards towards Raglan which is a town internationally renowned for its fine surfing. We had pre-booked somewhere to stay (a recommendation from a friend in Lanzarote) as, with it being Easter, we knew places would be busy.
After traveling along winding country roads with grassland, forests and trees on either side of us, we began our gradual decent downwards towards the coast. Raglan itself is an averaged sized place, with houses built uphill from the its quiet harbour. The centre is made up of one main street (Bow Street) with palm trees planted down its centre along with a smaller street leading off it. Both are made up of eateries with outdoor tables and colorfully fronted, small shops.
We are staying at the central Harbour View Hotel (no view of the harbour) a traditional Kiwi hotel which has been recently renovated. It is a really nice place and reasonably priced. In fact, it looks like the sort of place that belongs in a wild west move, with a long, ornate upper terrace stretching along the length of the front of the building and wooden polished floors within, with long carpet stretching down the centre of the corridors. The guest rooms are located on the first floor from where there is a staircase running downstairs into the pub/restaurant below. (very handy) The restaurant serves nice food and you can sit outside and watch people stroll past as well as the numerous different cars and Harley´s cruise by. It is right in the centre of the town and there is easy access by foot to other restaurants located nearby.
We have had a look around the place, which is full of people at the moment due to the Easter weekend. We strolled along the water front watching people fishing and kids splashing in and out of the water. The sea front here is an estuary, you have to cross over a bridge and walk over the area ahead to reach the actual coastline itself. All the surf action takes places on beaches a short drive away heading west. One of those beaches, Manu Bay, has apparently one of the best left-hand breaks in the world. The next bay is Whale Bay, which is also another good surf spot, but it can only be accessed over rocks.
Dani did hire a board and wetsuit today from Byrning Spears (located on the drive towards the surf beaches) before we headed along the wild coastal scenery to Ruapuke Beach, which is a popular place but remote and is only accessible by a bumpy, winding gravel road. The drive takes you past Te Toto Gorge, a steep faced cliff face with a forest below which, in the past, was used by the Maori people as a place to push over (to their death) those who had done wrong Today the beach break was good, and as we reached their fairly early this morning, we avoided the crowds which started to arrive later.
We are now sitting on the outside, upper terrace of the hotel watching the street life below. There is a heavy metal band playing downstairs tonight, so we have been warned that it might get a bit noisy Tomorrow we are leaving this laid back place to head further south, to Glow Worm Cave….where we are going underground to see them