It was an impromptus decision to join my Auckland friends at their rented batch in Raglan to celebrate the 30th birthday of one particular dashing young Scotsman (happy you got a mention now?). As per usual flight prices jumped immediately after time off work had been granted but hey, we’re here for a good time not a long time and what better excuse to see more of the country.
I arrived in Auckland late Thursday night and managed to squeeze in a glass of wine with my friend Pauline before driving south to Raglan the next day. Raglan is about an hour and a half drive south of Auckland along the west coast. It’s known for it’s eco-friendly surfers and I could certainly see this as soon as I arrived.
Surf shops, vegan eateries and crafty homeware stores line the Main Street alongside hole-in-the-wall coffee roasters and trendy cafes. I certainly took a liking to the place but I’m probably not cool enough to live there and my ability to surf is close to zero. It’s been years since I failed to get myself up on a surf board back in 2009 and while I’m keen to give it another go, the sea temperature in New Zealand is in no way inviting.
A batch is a holiday home and getting one is a big kiwi thing. The New Zealand dream consists of the three B’s: beer, batch and boats. To my delight burgers replaced boats this weekend for my second New Zealand BBQ. Most families have their own batch but they can also be rented by groups of friends like us. This particular batch was a dream and I’d love to live in a place like this. For me, there’s nothing better than getting a group of mates together in a beautiful house for the weekend. It beats fancy restaurants, hipster bars and flash hotels any day.
The first evening was spent drinking much like the second and cooking up some meat on the BBQ. What better way to cure our hangover than with a morning trip to the sea. While most of the boys surfed, Caiomie, Becky, Clinton and I took a walk along the beach. It was gorgeous and packed full of gorgeous surfer dudes showing off their surfer bodies in what definitely wasn’t tops off weather. I certainly wasn’t complaining anyhow, you don’t get that in Southland!
We then went for brunch at The Shack where I had a turmeric latte and mushrooms on toast with cashew nut cream. Oh how I’ve missed food like this! After a wee nap, a group of us took a walk to Bridal Veil Falls which is a well known waterfall about a 25 minute drive from town. I love natural points of interest like this and although the “hike” only spanned 300 metres it was still very enjoyable and probably for the best considering the night before.
Back on the beer and another round of burgers, it was Saturday night in Raglan and a band called Solomon Cole were playing at a local venue. It was 11pm by the time we arrived but well worth the venture out. Come Sunday morning we were all a little worse for wear and I was pretty much in a state of meh. A little sad to be leaving so soon but pretty keen to have a proper meal that doesn’t contain chips or beer. I had heaps of fun in Raglan and I’d definitely be keen to return mid-summer to try my hands at surfing or at least jump on a bodyboard. Peace out Raglan.