Raglan Relaxation

Our South Island trip was one of those holidays that you need another holiday to recover afterwards. It was an amazing adventure, but because we immediately followed it up with the most wonderful birthday celebrations and visitors from our SF days — not to mention our day jobs — we needed time to relax. In other words, we’ve been having way too much fun lately 🙂

With back-to-back long weekends (Auckland Anniversary & Waitangi Day), we decided to get away for the first of the two. We found the absolute perfect place to unwind — Raglan.

Just over two hours from Auckland, Raglan is a chilled out surf town on the North Island’s west coast. Besides the beautiful black sand beaches, it has a thriving creative scene. Raglan was full of hippie health and wellness shops, delicious cafes, yoga studios, and market stalls set up for Arts Weekend. (Was so tempted to buy a dreamcatcher!)

But the best part was probably our accommodation. Since we planned rather last minute, we booked a bach (that’s Kiwi for vacation home) about 15 minutes outside the town. It was advertised as an eco lodge, but turned out to be even more remote and peaceful than we expected. Down a hidden back road, it was tucked behind the owner’s house, smack in the middle of their farm. Even though it was complete with a grill, hot tub and hammock, our favorite part was waking up to lambs maaa-ing in the morning, and stargazing from the hot tub at night. Seriously recommend this gem to anyone looking for a retreat.

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Other highlights of Raglan:

Restaurants:

  • The Shack: One of those places that uses only local, fresh ingredients, so you feel like you’re eating something healthy — even if it happens to be cinnamon waffles covered in apple butter and mascarpone. Whoops. We brunched here two days in a row so were able to cover a good portion of the menu. Would 100% vouch for said waffles, plus the Green Goodness smoothie, iced latte, avocado toast, eggs & holly, and chicken roti. Nom.
  • Orcas: Beautiful view from the waterfront patio. We met up with two friends stopping through from Hamilton for a drink.

Outdoor Adventures:

  • Bridal Veil Falls: About halfway between our bach and Raglan was the entrance to the walk down to this famed waterfall. The whole loop only takes 30 minutes, but offers awesome vantage points from the top, middle and base of the falls. A little crowded, but worth the quick trip!
  • Black sand beach walks and sits: We took a walk along the beach both days. On the first we went all the way to the breakers to watch the kite surfers, but the second day we walked halfway, to an unpopulated section and just hung out. I will advise that it gets really windy, so prepare to be covered in a thin layer of black sand. May or may not have left with a black sand mustache 🙂

Our first NZ souvenir:

  • Since our house is completely furnished (and decorated), we’ve been trying not to collect extra household goods. But the longer we stay, the more difficult it is to resist buying things to make it feel more like our own home. Well, we caved this weekend and bought our first piece of grown-up art. We loved these wooden engravings from an Auckland artist. Kiwis have so much pride for their native birds, so we knew this would carry significance once we get it back to the states as well. Plus, this little guy is the extinct bird from Hunt for the Wilderpeople – the Huia.

Back to the (short!) workweek grind dreaming of Raglan life. We’ll be back for sure!

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