Raglan – it’s got some great driving routes

Raglan – it’s got some great driving routes

A while ago, fellow columnist Phil Clark suggested that we should do a series on great driving routes. I don’t really have time to go gallavanting around Godzone to find the pick of the twisty bits. But, a weekend trip to Raglan has thrown up a great one I’d like to share with you and it’s got some notable scenic diversions on the way. You’ll need to start early to complete it in a day and it’s a fantastic way to get back from Raglan to Auckland. Also, the earlier you set off on the first leg, the less likely you are to be following some hippy’s surfboard-laden Kombi billowing blue smoke.
Head out of Raglan on Wainui Rd. This turns into Calvert Rd at the Whale Bay roundabout – carry on going – Whale Bay’s ok, but there’s precious time to be wasted here, and if you’ve been a Raglan a couple of days you’ve probably already seen it. The road turns into gravel and it’s twisty. Carry on going for about 30km and the road will turn back into tar seal. You’ll see a turn to the right for Ruapuke Beach. You can take this diversion if you’re desperate to see the waves (or need number ones or twos – there are public toilets there). If not, carry on onto Whaanga Rd. A few kilometres on you can turn left to the start of the Mt Karioi track. Doing the track from this side is an hour quicker than from the other. And it’s worth it. Expect to take 1 hour 40mins to the top if you’re not a lard lover.
Wheeze your way down to the bottom and set off again. Whaanga Rd turns into Ruapuke Rd and you’ll head through Te Mata, Kauroa and back up to the main 23 highway from Hamilton to Raglan. Turn right. Travel until you see Ohautira Rd. This is a fantastic road with fast flowing corners, and if the gorse is in flower you’ll see whole mountains turned yellow. Stop off at the Waingaro Hot Springs to ease your aching muscles from the climb. If it’s school holidays, the pub/hotel opens at 12; if not, you’ll have to carry on to find something to eat.

When you’ve finished relaxing, head off again. Take the left-hand turn to Huntly – don’t go to Ngaruawahia because you get more twisty road going the Huntly way. Once you’re back into Huntly you’ll head over the bridge and join the main highway back to Auckland. If you set off at 7am from Raglan, you’ll be at the start of the walk by 8am, back down the bottom of Mt Karioi by 12:00, at the hot pools by 1:00, then allow a couple of hours back to Auckland.

If you’ve got a great driving route, email it to me and I’ll start a new section in the site: dcottingham@parkside.co.nz

A while ago, fellow columnist Phil Clark suggested that we should do a series on great driving routes. I don’t really have time to go gallavanting around Godzone to find the pick of the twisty bits. But, a weekend trip to Raglan has thrown up a great one I’d like to share with you and it’s got some notable scenic diversions on the way. You’ll need to start early to complete it in a day and it’s a fantastic way to get back from Raglan to Auckland. Also, the earlier you set off on the first leg, the less likely you are to be following some hippy’s surfboard-laden Kombi billowing blue smoke.
Head out of Raglan on Wainui Rd. This turns into Calvert Rd at the Whale Bay roundabout – carry on going – Whale Bay’s ok, but there’s precious time to be wasted here, and if you’ve been a Raglan a couple of days you’ve probably already seen it. The road turns into gravel and it’s twisty. Carry on going for about 30km and the road will turn back into tar seal. You’ll see a turn to the right for Ruapuke Beach. You can take this diversion if you’re desperate to see the waves (or need number ones or twos – there are public toilets there). If not, carry on onto Whaanga Rd. A few kilometres on you can turn left to the start of the Mt Karioi track. Doing the track from this side is an hour quicker than from the other. And it’s worth it. Expect to take 1 hour 40mins to the top if you’re not a lard lover.
Wheeze your way down to the bottom and set off again. Whaanga Rd turns into Ruapuke Rd and you’ll head through Te Mata, Kauroa and back up to the main 23 highway from Hamilton to Raglan. Turn right. Travel until you see Ohautira Rd. This is a fantastic road with fast flowing corners, and if the gorse is in flower you’ll see whole mountains turned yellow. Stop off at the Waingaro Hot Springs to ease your aching muscles from the climb. If it’s school holidays, the pub/hotel opens at 12; if not, you’ll have to carry on to find something to eat.

When you’ve finished relaxing, head off again. Take the left-hand turn to Huntly – don’t go to Ngaruawahia because you get more twisty road going the Huntly way. Once you’re back into Huntly you’ll head over the bridge and join the main highway back to Auckland. If you set off at 7am from Raglan, you’ll be at the start of the walk by 8am, back down the bottom of Mt Karioi by 12:00, at the hot pools by 1:00, then allow a couple of hours back to Auckland.

If you’ve got a great driving route, email it to me and I’ll start a new section in the site: dcottingham@parkside.co.nz

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