The Open Road

18 March 2010, New Zealand

On Thursday morning, we loaded up the car and headed south out of Auckland towards Raglan, a coastal town popular with surfers.  The town of Raglan itself is quite small and, at first glance, we didn’t see a whole lot that would hold our interest.  However, after following the signs toward the beach, we realized that the real action in Raglan is in the ocean.  Jason was practically foaming at the mouth when we came around a bend in the road and saw dozens of surfers resting on their boards.  Although he doesn’t actually know how to surf, it is one of the many things he hopes to try during the course of this trip.  We parked the car and found a comfortable spot with a good view of the water and settled in for our free lunch entertainment.  We weren’t the only ones who had come for the “show.”  Plenty of other people were lined up along the beach, sandwiches in hand, eyes transfixed on the waves.

After a couple of hours, I managed to pull Jason away from the beach and we continued our drive along New Zealand’s windy back roads.  Along the way, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls.  This was the first of many random stops we would make as we journeyed south.  It was a quick 10 minute walk from the road to the waterfall and the view was well worth the detour.  As the afternoon wore on, we checked out the guide book and, after reading about the numerous small towns within our vicinity, we decided to look for a place to stay in Te Kuiti, the sheep shearing capital of the world!  Unfortunately, we were three weeks early for the annual town festival which includes the Running of the Sheep.  Think Pamplona minus the risk of injury from being gored by a bull.  We ended up finding a place to stay on a local farm with great views of the surrounding countryside and settled in for a quiet evening.

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