Published: April 29th 2012April 8th 2012
New Zealand – Hahei and Raglan – Cathedral Cove and some quality left hand brake surf in Raglan whatever that is, Simon or should I say DAN any ideas???
After several attempts I managed to get on a bus departing from Auckland, my driver was a lady called Miss P or aka Miss Perfect as she liked to be called. The bus was fashionably late by about an hour and I was lead to believe it was caused by traffic congestion, however the more time I spent on Miss P’s bus the more I doubted that, let’s just say it was hard to work out if she was a part of tourist group on the bus or actually the driver but one things for sure she was a long way from being perfect.
We made our way out to Hahei and stopped on route to grab supplies for a group BBQ in the evening. Hahei is known for its quiet picturesque beaches and in particular a section of beach called Cathedral Cove. With the sun beating down on a perfect day we all set off on the two hour walk to the Cove and upon arrival it was clear
to see why the locals on the North Island rave about it so much, it really was a beautiful location offering incredible views and a chance to show our wave dodging skills to get inside the cove before getting soaked.
After a very relaxing couple of hours around Cathedral Cove we headed back for a pretty good BBQ before the drinking and socialising got going. One thing that was becoming painfully apparent was my trip around NZ was being completed pretty quickly which meant I didn’t have many opportunities to stop any longer than one night in most locations other than a select few. Therefore this meant very early starts most days to catch the next bus in the morning. So with a 7am start we would say goodbye to Hahei and make our way to Raglan also known as the surf capital of New Zealand. So I’m informed this is meant to be one of the best left hand break surfing areas in the world??? I have no idea but by the look of the waves and the volume of surfers in the water it certainly suggested there was something special about the destination. I decided I didn’t
want to make all the so called pro’s look like armatures so on this occasion I just headed down to the beach and watched. I was more than happy with my decision because the waves looked bloody huge and people were coming back to the beach with all sorts of cuts and bruises so I think my choice was a good one.
As you will see from the photos we stopped at some beautiful waterfalls called Bridal Veil falls on the way to Raglan, they were very nice but made me realise even more that the Stray bus was too much of a package tour for my liking because at every stop it was a case of “OK you have five minutes, get your photos and get back to the bus asap.” It was such a shame because so many of the stops were incredible but we only got to see them for five or ten minutes and all there was to do at the other end of the bus journey in the evenings was get drunk whereas so many of us would have preferred to arrive at the hostels much later and enjoy the stops along the way
in more detail, but that was not going to happen sadly.
One of the things I really like about NZ is that everywhere you go there are brilliant trekking opportunities so after my introduction to proper surf waves I went on a trek that took me up to a vantage point above our hostel but sadly I left rather late and didn’t make the top of the hill before nightfall so I decided to turn back whilst I could see the path home because I didn’t fancy a night in the bush (well not that type of bush any way!)
Because we arrived in Raglan during the Easter holidays there was nowhere to buy any alcohol which caused great stress to most of the group including our bus driver! But for several of us on the bus we were more than happy because it meant we could get a good night’s sleep without being woken up at three in the morning by a drunken roommate. This side of events gets much funnier as the trip goes on, well for some of us but for one poor girl, more on that in the blogs to come (yes as you
can see I’m several weeks behind on my blogs.)
With the presence of no alcohol some of us opted for a quiet night with a few dvd’s and a bit of cards before throwing the towel in ready to head out bright and early to our next destination in the morning, a place called Maketu. The Stray bus seems to be making a regimental left, right, left approach to working its way down South. Some of the stops I’ve not heard of before but I’d been warned that the Cultural Experience stop was a complete rip off and a waste of time and that I should avoid doing it if possible. The irony here is Stray try to promote that they are the only bus company who “strays” off the beaten path and actively encourage their passengers to do the same, however the truth is they go out of their way to ensure you have limited choice in the matter and therefore have to stay at their choice of hostel and use their activity companies which was becoming a sore point for quite a few of us on the bus.
Putting these minor gripes
to one side overall I was loving NZ and everyday was surpassing the previous one so it was smiles all-round. Let’s see how it goes at the next stop and if I can get out of doing the cultural experience evening??
There are more photos below