The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 8 (February 1, 1931)
An Ideal Holiday Resort — The Charm of Raglan
The railways enable us to connect with means for reaching places which, while well worth a visit, would otherwise be too far out-of-the-way. Such a place is Raglan. The writer was astonished at some people's hazy idea of where Raglan is. Its position was placed at various localities from “north of Auckland” to “somewhere in the South Island.” Frankton Junction is the converging point of lines of railway from Auckland, Rotorua, and as far south as Palmerston North and Wellington. Take the train to Frankton Junction, and you are at the place to connect with a motor service to Raglan. But why go to Raglan, you ask? Because this little township, just inside the entrance to Whaingaroa Harbour, contains just the climatic conditions and natural attractions of a superb holiday resort.
The Approach to Raglan.
The old name of the harbour, “Whaingaroa” (having a reference to a stingaree), has been dropped, and that of “Raglan” substituted. A modified steamer service is kept up with Onehunga, but the chief means of communication with the outside world is by motor, along a good road from Frankton.
For the first few miles the road meanders over undulating hills past the township of Whatawhata. Prosperous looking dairy farms, with their herds of sleek milk producers, line the road. Then the road commences to rise to surmount the Hakarimata Range, passing through beautiful vistas of tree ferns. The road has recently been widened and regraded in parts. Curves abound, but the careful motorist need have no fear. Descending from the Hakarimata Range it is not long before the waters of Raglan harbour, and the houses of the township, come into view. Although short, the main street is prettily laid out. A plot of flowers, shrubs, and lawn traverses the centre of the street, and is flanked on either side by the business premises of the town.
Commenting on the number of empty dwellings, the writer was told that quite half the residents did not live at Raglan. This remarkable statement was explained to mean that the greater proportion of property owners use their dwellings only during week-ends and holidays. Two excellent hotels and a comfortable private boarding establishment offer ample accommodation to the visitor. Boating and fishing can be safely indulged in, as the harbour is well sheltered from rough weather. The harbour by the township is only about a mile wide and can be rowed across in a few minutes. The opposite shores well repay a visit. Fantastic shapes of limestone rocks abound, that termed the “Wineglass Rock” having more than a local reputation. The upper reaches of the harbour may be visited by motor launch. The Okete Falls, four miles, and Waingaro Landing are two points of interest on the shores of the upper reaches. By crossing a narrow arm of the harbour, close to the township, by a pretty ferro-concrete bridge, access is had to the Ocean Beach.
Interesting Tatooed Rocks.
A walk of two or three miles along a firm sandy shore, and the tramper reaches a group of rocks of great interest. Scattered about are several which are known as the “Tattooed Rocks.” The effects of the weather has almost obliterated the markings on these. Who did them, when, or for what purpose, still forms grounds for conjecture by the geologist or historian. Even the meanings of these peculiar hieroglyphics are unknown. A stiff climb along a narrow, fern-fringed track brings us to the Bryant Home. Here are gathered up to fifty boys and girls who need care and fresh air, with good food, during days of convalescence after a serious illness. The Home is named page 24 after the founder, and is quite up-to-date in every way. A competent matron and staff minister to the needs of the juvenile inmates. After seeing over the Home the visitor should not depart without taking a stroll to the water-race, which supplies the Home with water. A wooden aqueduct has been built across a lovely fern-clad gully, and the view is well worth coming so far to see. A good metalled road leads back to Raglan, or one's steps may be retraced along the beach. Just at the rear of the Bryant Home tower the slopes of Mount Karioi, 2,420 feet. Although its sides are covered with dense bush, tracks lead to the summit, and provide means for more strenuous exertion to those who so desire.
The Early Settlers.
A Unique Record
The assertion that he has travelled a million miles on the railway between Auckland and Frankton Junction is made by Mr. William H. Mathison, a news vendor, well known in the Waikato (says an exchange). “They will probably know me better as ‘Scotty,'” he said, when mentioning that for the past fifteen years it has been his practice six days a week to leave Frankton for Auckland at 9.45 a.m., and return by the train leaving the city at 4.1 p.m. “Scotty” holds the opinion that train travelling in New Zealand is very safe. “Fifteen years’ travelling between Frankton and Auckland every day,” he said, “and I have never been in a collision nor seen a train off the line.”