Our stay at the Hamilton Hilton

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February 5th 2018
Published: February 6th 2018
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Ngarunui Beach Raglan
On Sunday morning, after a leisurely breakfast, Debbie drove us to Raglan, 40kms west of Hamilton on the rugged west coast. We had Oscar, the schnauser, with us and it was a beautiful, sunny day with a cool breeze. Perfect weather for a walk on the beach. The drive was very pretty with green hills and great views as we wound our way through the sometimes steep inclines and down into the valleys. Our first stop was at a scenic viewing spot overlooking one of the surf beaches here. Debbie told us it has the longest lefthand break in NZ. There were many surfers waiting for the waves, bobbing up and down and then suddenly taking off as the surf rolled in. We then parked at Oscar's favourite beach. The sand is black here, but this stretch provided plenty of space for walking and enjoying the sea as it crashed onto the shore. Many families were taking advantage of the sunshine and we met several other dog owners and their pooches ,all exercising their animals on this lovely morning. Oscar checked them all out and was also interested in the flotsam and jetsam which the tide had brought in. We spent

nearly 45 minutes on our stroll there and though the wind had picked up we did enjoy the atmosphere.

We then drove back into the town of Raglan and Debbie took us to the fish and chip shop on Raglan Wharf which our Lonely Planet guide had said not to miss. The shop allowed you to choose the fresh fish and then have it cooked on the spot. We had the snapper package at only $NZ16 for a massive serve of tasty fish and delicious chips. Debbie had a seafood salad but then "helped " us with the chips. The wharf hosted many anglers trying for their own bounty while fishing boats came and went. Very well fed we returned to Hamilton having enjoyed a few hours of local scenery.

Back at Debbie's the women's Big Bash final was on TV and we watched some of that intermittent with the Rugby 7s finals which were being held in Hamilton and where Criss had gone for the afternoon. At 6-30pm the Big Bash Final was on TV and we settled down to cheer on the Strikers while Debbie provided a "cold collation" on which we grazed very successfully. To

Oscar's beach
our great delight the Strikers put on a fantastic performance led by Jake Weatherald's century and beat the Hobart Hurricanes to be Big Bash Champions!!

Monday, and Debbie and Criss left for their respective work places while we drove into central Hamilton for a look around. We strolled along Victoria street, the main drag but there was little of excitement. We went into the main shopping centre and found Whitcoulls, the bookshop, but there was nothing else that looked interesting. We went back to the car and went looking for Browsers bookshop which had moved since the last time we had been here. We found this great secondhand store and spent some time perusing its many volumes. However, we left empty-handed. Fletcher felt like Chinese food for lunch so we stopped at Master Kong and had Yum Cha. It was very pleasant to enjoy the spring rolls, excellent prawn toast and yummy dumplings all accompanied by a Sauv Blanc. Walking back to the car we found a statue of RiffRaff from Rocky Horror. Richard O'Brien, the writer of the show came from Hamilton and it was first staged here. We then drove down to the river, the

Fletcher, Debbie and Oscar on the beach
mighty Waikato, and went for a walk . There is a Spitfire there as well as an artillery piece which is in a war memorial area.Down by the river,as a memorial to the first settlers here, is the remains of the Raringi, the boat that brought them along the river. The first white pioneers were members of the militia keeping the peace during the Maori Wars. The river itself is very fast flowing and many water sports take place here. Our visit was cut short by dark clouds and rolling thunder and we just made it back to the car before the rain set in. After a brief stop for supplies at the local bottle shop we returned home.

At 6-30 we all set out for town with Criss driving. It was Debbie's best friend, Margi's, birthday so we went to her party at the Wonder Horse bar. Here we were greeted with cocktails and made to feel very welcome. She had a great cake in the shape of a dragon boat which also proved to be scrumptious. Later Criss and Debbie took us to Madame Woo's a Malaysian restaurant, which is riverside and we sat outside in the

Beach panorama
cool evening air. This had a great collection of food, a mixture of Chinese, Indian and Malay which we gladly feasted on. We spent a convivial night there, lovely to be with good friends, enjoying delicious food and excellent wine.

Additional photos below
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Enjoying the beach

Raglan Wharf

Fish and chips on Raglan's Wharf

Riff raff and I

Spitfire in the park

The Waikato River


Remains of the Raringi

At Wonder Horse Bar

Cris and I at the bar

Fletcher and Debbie at Madame Woo's

Dinner at Madame Woo's

Criss, Debbie and Fletcher

6th February 2018

Looking Good
Glad to see Fletcher looking good and enjoying life. Steve

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