31 January 2011

Raglan, Waikato

This post contains text excerpts from Lonely Planet New Zealand, which helped me plan my holidays here. It's not the definite resource but it's a good base to start from.

I started an 8 day holiday around some parts of North Island on the 20th of this month, and I'll spend the next few weeks posting photos and experiences from my laidback trip. I hadn't realized it when I planned this trip, but I actually went from coast to coast, from the Tasman Sea on the west up to the South Pacific Ocean on the east, with a little jaunt through the Hauraki Gulf in the middle. Get ready to feast your eyes on lots of sea and beautiful beaches!

My first stop was Raglan, a famous surfing town not unlike Piha Beach but with more surfing spots. Bruce Brown's classic 1964 wave-chasing film The Endless Summer features Manu Bay (Lonely Planet, 2010) which was where I stayed during my short jaunt into Raglan.

I woke up that morning at about 5.30am so I could catch an early bus into the city. Reaching my final stop at 7.15am, I walked up to the SkyCity complex which was where InterCity buses depart. I hopped on the 8am bus to Hamilton and arrived at the Hamilton Transport Centre ahead of schedule, about 2 hours later.

All my bags are packed, ready to go...

InterCity coach terminal, SkyCity Auckland

I explored Hamilton a little bit on foot before my mid-afternoon bus to Raglan. It costs $7.50 one way (adult) on the Raglan 23 bus. It takes about 45 minutes to reach Raglan and you'll pass by plenty of rolling hills and at one point, a windfarm. It's amazing to see the really huge windmills and to see them perched on top of green hills, their blades rotating and generating clean energy. The bus passed it pretty quickly so I didn't manage to snap a photo.

Along SH23

More rolling hills for your viewing pleasure

Due to job interview commitments back in Hamilton, I had less than 24 hours in Raglan. A free shuttle drove me to my hostel and I immediately dropped my bags and went out for a short tramp (New Zealanders call hiking 'tramping') down to Ngarunui Beach. The track is well-maintained and sign-posted by the DOC (Department of Conservation).

Sign post before the track

Going down the hill to Ngarunui Beach

A short 20 minute walk down the hill leads you onto the beach itself. It's too bad that I visited during low tide because there were barely any surfers in sight. But in return I had a mostly-deserted beach to myself and I walked along it for an hour, just soaking in the sound of the ocean waves and getting a nice tan.

Ngarunui Beach from the lookout point

On Ngarunui Beach

On Ngarunui Beach

The next morning I went to the lookout point again to see how it looked like with a rising sun before I checked out and caught the 10am bus back to Hamilton.

Ngarunui Beach with the rising sun

Wouldn't you want to just sit on this bench and let time float by?

The famed Manu Bay from afar

Manu Bay close up

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