Where: Freddie’s Place, Raglan
When: 27 Dec 2009 to 3 Jan 2010
Who: 3 young families and 3 sets of grandparents
Why: My extended family decided to holiday together over New Years 2010. It seems that no one in our group had visited Raglan on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island before… even more reason to go!
Accommodation Details: The main challenge was finding accommodation for all 16 of us under one roof. After many hours of surfing the net, I stumbled upon Freddie’s Place on the Holiday Houses website. It sleeps up to 15, and since one set of grandparents brought their motor home, it was big enough for our purposes. We bunked down in four bedrooms, but there is a fifth bedroom the owners will open up for an extra fee.
Freddie’s Place was at one time a backpackers and still has a communal toilet/shower block – 2 toilets, 2 showers and laundry area. This area was really convenient and coped with high-traffic during the nightly child-bathing regime.
Okay, so it’s not the flashy, boutique or quaintly cute accommodation I usually go for, but that wouldn’t have been practical for the large numbers involved or financially viable for the length of our stay. It is, on the other hand, extremely functional and comfortable and it has a decent-sized dining/lounge area and modern kitchen. The owners are helpful and friendly, but they give you plenty of privacy even though they live upstairs . Only the lower level of the house is rented out to holidaymakers.
Things To Do:
- Bridal Veil Falls
- Great coffee at The Shack
- Dinner at Orca Restaurant & Bar (try the pork belly – it was divine)
- Shopping at Centreplace, Hamilton
- Lollipops Playland & Cafe, Hamilton
- Raglan New Year’s Eve Parade
- New Year’s Eve fireworks display at midnight
- The beaches
- Safe swimming at the beach by Te Kopua Holiday Park
- Playground at Warihi Park – 4o Wallis Street
Gallery: Click on a thumbnail to enlarge picture and view description.
The Verdict: Raglan was a great family vacation choice. The township, while extremely compact, offered a good selection of cafes and the shops boasted an impressive range of fashion, local art and giftware. On the days that the weather didn’t cooperate (and the kids were getting cabin fever), Hamilton was just over half an hour’s drive away. On fine days, a visit to the beach and playgrounds was definitely on the agenda. The location of our accommodation meant that almost everything was within walking distance.
The only thing I can fault Raglan for is its gusty wind, which I suppose is necessary for the region’s great surf.