Weekend Series: Things to do in Raglan

Weekend Series: Things to do in Raglan

Great surf, great coffee, and even greater amounts of black sand ending up in all the wrong places. Known for its laid back vibes, or lack thereof when you drop in on a local surfer; Raglan is a long time favourite of mine.

Its coordinates place it amidst the vast and ominous west coast making it the perfect candidate for a winter getaway or a dreamy summer adventure.

 

Where to Stay in Raglan. 

A swift 2 hour drive from the bustle of Auckland City will lead you to Raglan’s doorstep. There are accommodation options to suits all; a highly prized  $10 campground (you’re lucky I’m sharing), Raglan backpackers or the holistic Solscape. You’ll be spending most of your time outdoors, so don’t get too caught up in the details.

Food & Drink

 

There is a small collection of cafes and bars in Raglan township. Quality over quantity sure rings home in this instance. The infamous Raglan Roast coffee is found at the back of Volcom Lane, so wake yourself up with a drop of their goodness. The Shack is on-point with its mouth-watering breakfast options. Find yourself hungry come lunch time then Aroha Sushi will relinquish your fuel tanks. Their donburi bowls are outta this world! Post surf beers can be tracked down at the Good George brewery. You’d be missing out if you didn’t finish your night at the quirky Yot Club.

 

Bridal Veil Falls

 

Set in an abundance of native New Zealand bush, the Bridal Veil Falls are truly mesmerising. A 15-minute drive off the main road plus a 15-minute walk will deliver you to the bottom of these mystical, fairyland falls. For you muppets who always manage to get lost here’s a detailed description of how to get there. 

 

Surf

 

You can’t claim you’ve been to Raglan unless you’ve had a crack at surfing. With surf breaks for all levels, the town has established itself as a surfing mecca. Channel your inner Kelly Slater and head to Ngarunui Beach (main beach) for lessons. Further south, the waves wrap around the rocky point offering left-handers for miles. Manu Bay is the first point break followed by Whale Bay further round the coast. These spots are often busy so the early bird gets the worm.

Kitesurf

 

On a strong westerly wind, Raglan is a strong contender for best kite spot in New Zealand. A huge estuary fills the gap between Raglan and the Te Akau hills. The tidal pull is strong giving a magic carpet feel when kiting, landing upwind of yourself when jumping. The team at Ozone Raglan offer great introductory lessons.

 

Sunset

 

An absolute stunner of a sunset can be captured on the West Coast, parking up at Manu Bay would be my recommendation. Watch the softly saturated scenes disappear into darkness from the vantage point of your vehicle. Beer, book, surfed out kinda vibes.

 

Weekend Series: Things to do in Nelson

Weekend Series: Things to do in Nelson

The perfect elixir of wilderness and suburbia, Nelson proves itself as a primo New Zealand destination for all ages; as long as you remember the bug spray. Autumn is a truly stunning time to visit the region, landscape inundated with rich orange hues. The humble Nelson airport is situated 5-15 minutes from the rest of town making it easy to navigate to your accommodation.

 

Day One: Takaka Hills, Golden Bay, Te Waikoropupū Springs & Anatoki Salmon Farm. 

Make the trek over the mighty Takaka Hills to reside in the Golden Bay area for the day. Here you will find an overwhelming amount of walks, waterfalls and activities, limiting yourself to just one day here is almost cruel. Stop for caffeine at Courtyard cafe to fuel yourself for the day ahead.

First stop, Te Waikoropupū Springs. These are the largest freshwater springs in New Zealand. Their flirtatious crystal blue water makes it hard not to jump in, however, please don’t be a noob and do so, these springs are sacred. The short loop track will leave you almost as speechless as the amount selfie sticks you’ll spot tourists with here. Truly gram worthy. 

From the springs continue the blissful drive around the coast to Tata Beach for a picnic lunch. Should you not find Freshchoice supermarket rolls and hummus a satisfactory lunch, takeaway spots are scattered (scarcely) en route to Tata Beach. Enjoy the course caramel coloured sand and uncrowded blue waters of Tata Beach.

If you have some extra hands on the clock, check out the Grove Walk or Wainui waterfall which are both located on the route back to town.

If you like salmon, fishing at Anatoki Salmon Farm is an essential addition to your trip. Summon your inner Bear Grylls and cast your rod, the fishing pool literally contains thousands, so you won’t be disappointed. The experience is truly wholesome, set at the bottom of a valley rife with stunning New Zealand landscape.

While the sun’s still awake make the journey back over the Takaka Hills.If you’re parched after a hard day adventuring then stop at The Toad, a great eatery in Motueka.

 

Day 2: Nelson Lakes National Park & Tahunanui Beach 

Set off early to the Nelson Lakes National Park. The journey is around 1hour 30 from Nelson township. The Mount Roberts track is a great day walk if you’re short on time. It took us about 3 hours to complete the track, not one if you’re feeling dusty as a steep incline is included! The area is utterly stunning, picture perfect hills race down to meet Lake Rotoiti’s edge.

Bellies will be hungry after the 3-hour walk, so pack a lunch and enjoy lakeside. A note of caution: sandflies will be out to get you so make sure to pack bug spray.

Carrying on the theme of picnics and pretty landscapes head down to the main Nelson beach, Tahunanui Beach for sunset. Whatever your poison, the quality Nelson takeaway scene will be sure to cater.

Day Three: Nelson Markets, Wine-tasting & Mapua Wharf 

After an action-packed few days unwind a little with the Saturday morning market. These markets scatter the town’s main streets so won’t be hard to miss. Fresh Nelson produce, art and clothes are all plentiful. A developing cafe scene in Nelson means you will be able to find a drop of liquid gold after your morning market antics.

The best thing about a city flush with vineyards is the wine-tasting, of course. So jump on a bike, grab a sober friend or pile on one of the many organised tours for a day tasting in sunny Nelson. Have a look at the various wineries that offer tastings here.

End your tour in Mapua Wharf, where old meets new in spectacular fashion. Funky art shops combine with newly developed eateries to provide a well-rounded wharf area. We devoured lunch at The Apple Shed followed by ice-cream at Alberta’s both exceeding expectations.