Raglan: A New Horizon

It was Sunday morning in Auckland and I had to drag myself out of bed at an all-too-early hour with a slight hangover and an impending sense of having to be responsible.  I had a lot to get done that morning which includes the usual chores, going on flyfisherpro.com to find good watches for fishing as I broke the old one last week and various other things.  I had to check out of the Uenuku Lodge (my home for the last week), pack up my life, sell my extra backpack, catch the bus to Hamilton, and hopefully make it 45 Kilometers West it to the little beach town of Raglan by nightfall.

I had been offered a job at the Raglan Backpackers and Waterfront Lodge – they were looking for someone to work reception a few hours a week in exchange for  accommodation.

The weather in Auckland had been shitty all week and that groggy morning was no different.  The sky was dark with bulging, ugly clouds that hung around in the sky like local riffraff, waiting to cause trouble outside a liquor store.  As soon as I stepped onto the streets, those clouds opened up with a sloppy downpour that had me soaked to the skin in minutes.  It was a soggy morning full of setbacks and concessions and when I finally got to Hamilton, I’d missed the only connection to Raglan.

No problem for a seasoned road-warrior like myself – I tightened up the straps of my backpack and set off to hitchhike the rest of the way to Raglan.  On the way out of the bus station, I noticed a tour bus driver offloading passengers at the end of his shift.  I asked him if he could point me in the direction of the best place to hitch to raglan and he offered to take me to the beginning to the highway.  Deal.

So there I was, standing at the entrance to the highway – the sun was getting ready to set and there was a light sprinkling of rain covering myself and everything else with a fine mist of water.  A rainbow arched over the city, dipping through a large patch of clouds and coming out the other side with its full spectrum intact.  It was a beautiful, if rainy evening, but I began to worry about the rain, the sparse traffic, and the fact that it was going to be dark soon – no one picks up hitchers in the dark.

Just then, a car pulled over – a friendly young lady offered me a ride to her turnoff, a few kilometers outside Hamilton.  Every little bit helps.  I tossed my back in the back of her sedan and hopped in.

We got to talking and she decided to drive me all the way to Raglan, even though it was about a half hour out of her way.  Another testament to the super-friendly personality of the Kiwi folks – always going out of their way to do nice things for strangers.

I arrived in Raglan late that evening, checked in, toured the premises, made some dinner, had a beer, and went to sleep.  The next morning, I started work, learning the ropes from the ground up, cleaning bathrooms, and making beds, then graduated onto renting out kayaks and surfboards you can check the pictures at campingfunzone.com and checking in guests.  I’m still learning, but I already feel pretty comfortable with the work – now I’ll just need to find another part-time gig to actually make some money (my work here only covers accommodation).

All in all, Raglan seems like a great place to spend a couple months.  I’m living right on the harbor, just a short walk to the beach.  I’ve gone Kayaking, running, and surfing in the last few days, and best of all, it hasn’t rained since I’ve been here!  In fact, the weather has been borderline summertime, and you all know just how much I need the sun in my life.  I only work a couple hours per day and only a few days a week.  Afternoons are spent surfing,  kayaking, hiking, running on the beach, fishing, or jumping off the bridge into the chilly ocean water.  All this interspersed with long lazy sessions of lounging in hammocks, reading books and drinking tea or coffee.

I have to say it’s a good life I’ve stumbled into here, and while I’m not sure how long I can make it last, I’m really looking forward to what the next month or two will bring.

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