Mentally clogged up with city life in the middle of the pandemic after covid had rendered all my travel plans ‘pending till further notice’, I decided to follow up on a recommendation made by a friend, to head towards Raglan for a long weekend away. I was a little apprehensive about this trip as I realised it had been almost 3 years since I had taken a solo overnight trip. I noticed myself becoming a bit anxious at the thought of being alone in a strange town. Consider me a little masochist or stubborn but that anxiety did not stop me from booking my accommodation, creating a playlist and driving off. I was escaping the city scapes off to the quaint little town, on the West Coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
En route, as someone with no solid plans, I took a slight detour and ended up at Bridal Veil Falls. There was a bit of a trek between the car park and the falls. This would have been fine, except there was no phone coverage. Walking along the trek, the only sound I could hear was birds chirping and the flow of the river, occasionally disturbed by stepping on twigs or shrubbery on the path which initially made me a little jumpy. I listened to music through my earphones to neutralise my imagination – this was the backdrop for thriller movies. The walk to the falls was about 30-45mins – I only came across less than a handful of people. Hearing people coming from behind me conjured up flashbacks of Criminal Mind, and thankfully my experience was not a reenactment. I also realised some of my biases, as I was the least jumpy when I saw couples, then women then at I had a mini heart attack each time I saw men – I guess one could argue that is understandable (let’s discuss). I arrived at the base of the cliff and it was seriously worth the walk. I sat there and watched the water dive away from the cliff and land at the base, creating a cloud of mist. The sun also marvelled at the sight and reflected its glee with a gorgeous thick rainbow. After enjoying the waterfall from all the angles possible, I continued towards the town where I would be staying.
I stayed in a private room at Raglan Backpackers, a hostel, which overlooks a lake which turned out to be the centre for a variety of activities including yoga and hiring gear for watersports. If one had no transport, they even had a van that could be borrowed to go surfing at a nearby beach. It was the perfect hide-out. I caught up with a few other people who had been travelling for a while and shared their stories on being stuck in New Zealand since the lockdown and were doing seasonal work as they explored the country. I was a little envious of their freedom and ability to stay and explore places longer than I could. It got me day-dreaming about doing the same thing at some stage of my life.
In the morning my resolve to pick up something light and simple for breakfast was quickly shattered by the quaint bakery and butchery I saw, which totally threw off any sensibilities about how much I could physically eat in one meal. I bought some local fresh cheese, sausages, bacon, eggs, pastries, vegetables and coffee. I made my breakfast in the hostel kitchen, while watching the birds outside the window, listening to music and randomly chatting to whoever came in. Afterwards, enjoyed every morsel of my breakfast in gratitude as I had the gorgeous view of the lake, filled with people doing all sorts of water-activities including swimming, kayaking and bridge jumping. Did you know you could get a blow up kayak for two grown adults? Anyhow, after breakfast I took a long walk and then drove to the beach where I was able to sit and immerse myself in a book with the sound of crashing waves in the background.
I also talk a short hike in the area because – views!!!:-). Raglan was simply beautiful. The trip quite minimalist in its execution. The break enabled me to re-engage with my passion for travel and exploration. I was able to start to removing the layers of fear that had started to build up due to lack of exercise.