Of the 40 places I visited in New Zealand, Raglan was by far my favourite.
After thoroughly exhausting myself with my hike in Paihia, I needed somewhere to recuperate and this was the perfect place to do so.
Raglan is a chilled-out surf town on the west coast of the North Island and is one of those places where, within seconds of arriving, I felt the most relaxed I have in weeks — and promptly began talking about living here for a few months.
Unfortunately, we had only planned to spend one night in Raglan. One of the downsides to planning out an epic two month road trip across New Zealand was, well, exactly that. Planning. Before arriving, we had no idea which places we’d love, where we’d hate, if the weather would co-operate… we managed to get it right most of the time, but I sorely wish we’d had longer in Raglan.
Wanting to make the most of our time here, Dave and I decided this would be best done at the beach.
Raglan’s beaches surprised me. I hadn’t expected the ocean to be so vibrantly turquoise or the sand to be so black. I’d only visited one other beach in New Zealand prior to arriving in Raglan and 90 Mile Beach, at the very top of the North Island, featured huge yellow sand dunes that stretched for, erm, 55 miles.
I’d visited black sand beaches before, in Hawaii and Tenerife, but I’d forgotten just how ridiculously hot the sand can get — until I took my shoes off and felt the soles of my feet begin to melt.
Squealing, I immediately dropped my towel onto the sand and leaped on it, beginning my awkward towel-shuffle down towards the sea.
And there we remained for the rest of the afternoon.
It was wonderful to take a break from moving, from working, even if it was for one day. I laid out and sunbathed, read a book on my Kindle. I worked up the courage to paddle in the sea, the icy cold temperatures in stark contrast to the ones I’d bathed in in Cambodia a few months beforehand.
And then, all too soon, it was time for us to leave.
Packing up our towels and Kindles we hobbled, sprinted and screamed our way back up the beach, cursing the scorching hot sand and wondering why we hadn’t thought to put our flip-flops on first.
Fortunately, leaving the beach wasn’t too bad, as we were heading back up the hill to a pretty amazing hostel…
My favourite hostel in New Zealand
It only makes sense that my favourite place in New Zealand would have my favourite hostel too!
Firstly, we had this incredible view.
Solescape was located at the top of a hill just outside of Raglan. Being outside of town meant that the hostel was super peaceful and relaxing — something that Solscape takes full advantage of by offering massages, yoga classes and even surf lessons!
Dave and I were in a private room, which was actually a converted train carriage. It was amazing! Solscape takes lots of power-saving measures so we didn’t have a power socket in our room, but as the wifi connection (offered through Global Gossip) didn’t reach our room, we did most of our work and charging in the kitchen anyway.
Even though we weren’t located towards the front of the property, we still had a pretty amazing view from our room too.
The accommodation options at Solscape aren’t just limited to train carriages either — you can even stay in earth domes and tipis!
The only downside to Solscape was that, without power or any way of cooling the room down, our room would get quite hot and stuffy during the day, but it was fine at night.
All in all, this is a fantastic hostel, one of my favourites in the world, and you should definitely stay here if you’re planning on spending some time in Raglan.