Plenty Of Things To Do
The next segment of our tour begins as we depart Auckland and head south on Highway 1 towards Raglan, which has a strong focus on sustainability and surfing! On the way, you may want to head down some of the back roads and soak in the views of the rolling hills. Near this surfing town is an impressive waterfall known as Bridal Veil Falls and, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try your hand at some surfing and kayaking in the main town. So what are we hanging around in the introduction for? Let’s go!
Raglan EELS Farm
OK so it’s not JUST about eels in this farm although they do have a lot of these slippery folk around. Rather it focuses on developing sustainable methods of aquaculture for dairy farms to help restore wetland ecosystems. The EELS acronym stands for Environmental Education Leaders in Sustainability. We had a guided tour around the whole farm, run by a passionate environmental enthusiast called Jan Mitchell, and spent time getting to know the whole collection of animals from alpacas, sheep, goats, mules, parrots and eels. If you’re travelling around New Zealand and want to do some volunteering (and potentially some paid) work then there’s opportunities to do that here – check their website out for more information.
Of course, I went in to the cage and fed the parrots as I was “nominated” to do so. Jan gave me a few nuts to feed the bird with so I walked in, closed the cage door and the next thing I knew I was getting savaged by one of them! The red fiend started going for me and was flapping furiously over my head! Jan said that has never happened before but I have my suspicions I was being set up haha 😀 The bird did calm down in the end and as soon as all the nuts were gone from my hand, I was out of that cage with gusto!
Once I heroically rescued myself from this monster, we made our way over to the alpaca sanctuary and took one of them for a walk… yes that’s right, I walked an alpaca! Some of the others in our group walked a goat and fed the geese but when it came to feeding eels… well, it seemed that I was one of the only ones who wanted to get involved with that!
You know, it really wasn’t that bad to feed the eels. They actually don’t bite and once they come out of the water for the food you have, you just let go and they take it away from you. The way their teeth are positioned means that if you just keep still, you will not get hurt. If they do get their mouths on you, don’t pull back because you’ll feel the sharpness of their inverted teeth so best to stay still and they’ll let go! Well… I enjoyed it anyway 🙂 There was just one more animal I needed to pet before we set off to our next stop…
Bridal Veil Falls
A 20 minute drive to the south of the EELS farm takes you to a place called “Bridal Veil Falls”. The Maori name for it is Waireinga which means “leaping waters” and refers to the wairua (spirits) leaping the great heights of this tall waterfall. How tall? Well, the falls are 55 metres from top to bottom and the pool at the base is 5 metres deep although a large boulder sits in the middle just below the surface. Want to take a look?
Raglan Surf School
Seeing as Raglan IS a surfer’s paradise town (with the population varying by large numbers from season to season) we simply had to get a piece of the action in our group as we took on the seas with a 3 hour lesson from the surfing school near to our accommodation. More information about the surf school can be found here. We had some tough conditions with strong cross winds on the Manu Bay even by the surfing instructors standards! But look at us! We can take on anything!
Another worthwhile activity to get involved with is kayaking around the bay in Raglan. We had a guided tour for a couple of hours with a pair of funny guides. It wasn’t too strenuous and you got to see some magnificent rock formations as you go up and down the coastline. There are multiple layers of sedimentary rock with the harder limestone remaining in place after years of tidal changes.
One thing I really liked about it was taking a moment of complete silence, closing your eyes and just sitting on the waves, listening to the water as it splashes up against the rocks. Lovely 🙂 I didn’t take my smartphone with me as it isn’t water proof so the photo below was nabbed from our travellers WhatsApp group.
Sunset At The Lava Lounge
Our accommodation was at the Lava Lounge (ideal for groups larger than 10 people) and it had its own hot tub which some of the group enjoyed a bit too much seeing as they came out with white and shrivelled up hands! What was cool though was the viewing platform across Whale Bay which allowed us to witness an awesome panoramic of the sunset (and indeed, sunrise).
A few hours after the Sun has gone down, you can go for a short walk up this same path as you head towards the Surfing School if you wanted to see some glow worms along the side of the road. If you have a clear night as well, you may want to look up as you can see a full blanket of stars with there being little to zero light pollution here. Of course, it’s a little too dark for the smartphone to pick up the glow worms here but they are there, I promise 😉
Funny Moment Of The Day
Oh man, we have a clear winner here! On the kayak tour, you get paired up and I was with my mate from Hamburg, Jan. The night before, we had a BBQ and some drinks were had and it was safe to say that the effects of that came about on the kayak as we were in the middle of the bay! I was at the front, paddling along when out of nowhere I hear a sound that can only be described as a trombone player tuning his instrument in a warm up to a night out at the orchestra! Parrrp!
What’s even funnier is that the instructor heard it from about 20 metres away across the water (and I’m pretty sure every one else in the group did as well)! He looked over at as and said “Sounds like you guys have picked up the musical kayak there”! Well, this marvellous musical event continued for the kayak tour and I’m surprised there wasn’t a tsunami after these deep vibrations! Raglan can count itself lucky!
That’s all for today folks, I hope you enjoyed this tour around Raglan! Catch you in the next one and as always, take it easy.
PHC Top 3 – A Chance To Win From A Growing Prize Pool
Well, whilst I’m here, I might as well take the chance to tell you about a new contest that I’ve been a part of with the Power House Creatives called @phctop3. All you need to do is tell us what your top 3 favourites for a chance to win from a growing prize pool – more info here.