Raglan Harbour, Jewel of the Waikato Region
Raglan, situated on the beautiful west coast of the North Island in New Zealand, has become one of New Zealand's most popular travel destinations.
Its mid January and we're off to check out the Raglan Beach scene. For some, it may not be the best time to visit this funky, coastal town, because this is the time of the tourists and holiday makers invasion...Like us.
But my 3 year old triplets and I, are seasoned beach bunnies, so armed with our trusty boogie boards, we hit the highway from Hamilton and hoot to the famous beach only 45 minutes drive away.
Sure enough, when we arrive in Raglan we're competing with what seems like zillions of surfboard-laden vehicles for a park on the main street, where bronze coloured bodies lounge outside on the boardwalk cafes.
Nearby at Manu Bay, famous for its left-hand break, the surf pounds in from the Tasman ocean. This is the hottest surfing mecca in NZ, if not on the planet and everyone wants a part of the action.
Every summer, surfers from around the globe flock to Raglan to participate and enjoy the international surfing competition, so whenever the swells up, you'll find the surfies making the most of it.
In the near distance, the benevolent Mt Karioi, gazes down on the colourful little village hugging the harbour. The beautiful, windswept coastline stretching for miles and miles, both ways. The eco-gem of Kawhia to the left and metropolitan Auckland to the right.
This region has always been a popular haunt. Even its Maori history can be traced back over 700 years ago. The Tainui people are the mana whenua here.
Around 1850, was the first land sale to the Europeans, which opened the door to increased travellers and settlers.
The trusty boat was the main form of transport then, and Raglan quickly became an important port until Tauranga emerged as being more preferable.
Well the kids have had an absolute ball and its time to hit the road again back to Hamilton. With temptations and bribery of a delicious ice-cream, I finally coerce them off the beach and back into the wagon.
We eventually reach home and after a cool shower, we all tuck into a tasty watermelon. It's the perfect end to a great day. I chill out on a comfy sofa in the softly fading light, watching the golden glow of the setting sun, as it slips quietly behind the far hills.
All becomes dark and still, until the stars, one by one, come out to play.
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Raglan Tourist Information