When the next Stray bus arrived we were a little disappointed. I won't go into detail but the passengers were a bit.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....
.....the most exciting thing that happened on this leg was when we stopped for a toilet break. Steph and I went off looking for a phone box to book a hostel and crossed a petrol station to find one. We strolled past a car with something strapped to the boot with rope. It was a sizeable hog with a single slit down its stomach and relieved of all of its innards. Needless to say Steph picked up the pace a little to get away.
Arriving in Raglan we were welcomed by hundreds of Harley Motorbikes. It was their annual rally. Again, we separated from the bus in order to explore the place in more detail. We chose a hostel beside an estuary which offered free bike, kayak and CAR hire. They didn't ask for deposits, ID or licences, just gave you the keys to the Subaru and let you drive to the beach. Crazy. The hostel had hammocks, cheap surf lessons, a hot tub and sauna. A backpackers paradise. Candace stayed here too, and she was given a room with a balcony overlooking the estuary and mountains. This room was in a separate house and we spent a lot of our time there.
On our first full day Steph and I grabbed the free kayaks and headed for the estuary. We were told to avoid the open sea because the kayaks were old and took on water. Steph got out on to the water with no problems at all. I followed and started to paddle after her but something was wrong. My waist was at water level and the cheapo kayak was 80% submerged. This vessel was clearly not designed for extreme athletes like myself so I headed straight back to dry land - my first kayak experience lasting all of 8 seconds. Steph rather graciously b*****ed off and left me while she rollicked in the estuary.
The next day we decided to hire the newer kayaks which were more accommodating for a big heifer like me. Steph and I had a tandem and Candace came along in a single. We paddled for 3hrs and covered 12km. The coastline was made up of pancake rocks, mountains and green hills and we paddled right up to a waterfall. It was hard work and our arms ached the next day but it was worth it for the absolute quiet that we found throughout.
If kayaking wasn't enough to make us ache, surfing the next day definitely did the job. We had a quick lesson in the hostel lounge and then took the car to the beach. Raglan was featured in the surf film 'Endless Summer' and was mentioned for having the longest left hand break of any beach in the world. We had a great time falling off of our boards for 3hrs and standing up eventually. I would begrudgingly admit that Steph seemed to pick it up a little better than me at the end but I'm going to have to blame that on the cheapo equipment again (I needed a bigger board). However Steph gained bonus points for picking up a surfing injury! She got wiped out and her board fin struck her leg pretty hard. Despite wearing a wetsuit she picked up a grapefruit sized bruise. It didn't stop her getting back in and looking better than me though.
We could have spent weeks in Raglan but we needed to move on, so after 4 days we hit the road with Stray again.