Hills Road Walk

I have still got a few posts left in me about my travels at the end of last year – feels odd writing that as I haven’t yet acclimatised to being back in the UK. I keep expecting to see my grandson having breakfast, or being able to go for a walk along a beach. Sigh!

One reason for visiting New Zealand was to meet my son’s partner’s family and in particular, her parents who live in the delightful surfing town of Raglan on the black sands of the west coast of the South Island, about 2 hours south of Auckland. This is the Waikato region; a landscape formed by volcanoes creating a lush, fertile green pastoral heaven. It is no wonder that Peter Jackson picked this region for the home of the Hobbits (Matamata).

Raglan is overlooked by Mount Karioi in the Pirongia forest park, an extinct volcano. Although it would have been amazing to trek into the forest and among the Podocarps, such as rimu and totara which are found at lower altitudes, along with tawa and tree-ferns, the weather was against us, being too wet a lot of the time. I did manage a short walk along Hills Road, where the ‘in-laws’ live, with views towards Mount Karioi and Whaingaroa Harbour. Join me on this walk and enjoy the wonderful views all around in this picturesque part of the country.

Mount Karioi in the background


If you enjoy a walk, short or long, then you may enjoy visiting Jo’s Monday Walk where you are in for a treat


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I live in the UK, but when I was younger I spent several years travelling the world followed by a period living in South Africa. I look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

44 thoughts on “Hills Road Walk”

    1. I have heard many comments about NZ being like England, but I saw nothing that reminded me of home. This region has the bright green of Wales, but on the whole it reminded me of parts of South Africa.

  1. Did you get to see a Kiwi in the wild? I spent 3 nights with a guide trying to find one. At the end of the third night we shrugged our shoulders and gave up. We walked back to the car and there, 10m from the vehicle, on the edge of the car park, was a real live genuine Kiwi.

  2. I have heard it compared to England too, but I don’t see that. Volcanic black sand, hot springs, all sorts of things that we could never see here. Saying that, some of the landscapes above look strangely familiar to anyone who lives in the UK.
    Regards as always, Pete. x

  3. So beautiful…lovely photos Jude, as always, and particularly love the soft focus around the cows! I can imagine it must be very difficult getting used to being back in Blighty, especially with our weather after all the lovely sunshine where you were. Not to mention that wonderful family time and with your grandson…I remember how I used to feel not only when I came back ‘home’ to England to visit for weeks with the kids and then return ‘home’ to California, and then when my mum would visit us and then leave after a few weeks. It used to take me a while to get used to everything again. A very strange feeling indeed, I used to feel quite lost for a time. I hope you are okay 🙂 xx

    1. I’m fine Sherri – thanks for your concern – it is difficult to adjust, but I suppose I have become used to a long distance relationship with Lorenzo’s half-sister over the years. Fortunately my son comes over here every couple of years, but you don’t have the same relationship as you probably know all too well. Time with the family went all too quickly and he won’t be a baby forever, but I am glad I had the chance to hold him and get to know him, he’s quite a character and I think he’ll get up to all sorts of mischief once he is on the move 🙂

  4. LOVE the new look, Jude! New Year, new look? It’s really fresh and lovely. I notice you have a local walkabouts there in the sidedar so I’ll have to have a peek.

    So green and fertile looking. NZ really is the UK but with a soupcon of something, don’t you think? Beautiful photos. I look forward to a few more strolls with you. Many thanks 🙂

  5. These pictures make me drool. Could be the frigid weather here, but I’m much rather pack up and walk those fields and roads in your pictures. I can smell the wonderful, clear air. Sigh. Thank you for sharing.

    1. It wasn’t that hot there then, but easier than the heat in Sydney for walking. And despite the cloud cover the sun in NZ burns so slap on the sunscreen Tess and enjoy the quietness of the countryside (and the views of the sea).

  6. I know I’ve said it before but some of you New Zealand landscapes look so much like England. I see above that you disagree either way these are beautiful photos Jude!

    1. A lot of the wild flowers look similar, but then you notice a tree fern or phormium, and conical hills which we don’t have. It’s difficult to see how steep the hills are in these photos, but it doesn’t ‘feel’ English, even if it looks it. (if that makes any sense!)

  7. I had the same reaction as others – it’s so GREEN! We’ve only been to the North Island but the South is on the list. And, being a household of geeks, there will of course need to be a visit to The Shire. 😉

    1. No pubs Elizabeth – this road is out of the town and a dead end. Just leads to some isolated properties. But there is a delightful historical pub in the town AND it is up for sale – if only I could live there 😦

  8. Hello Jude what a beautiful walk and lovely photos 🙂 My uncle lives in Christchurch and we finally visited him 6 years ago for his 80th birthday (though my husband had been before for work)! I just loved South Island so unspoilt with amazing scenery. I thought the landscape unique – we went on the Tranzalpine over to Greymouth and also the railway up to Picton plus visited Akaroa and Queenstown for a few days. This was in the pre earthquake days and I would love to go back some day and support them as they rebuild. Thanks for visiting my blog at Le Chic En Rose and I’m glad to have found yours! Very best wishes for 2015 Rosemary 🙂

  9. How cool to have family (in-laws) from this gorgeous region in NZ – and we have a new restaurant here in richmond va that features new zealand lamb and beef (so good too) – and the employees sometimes give a talk about the vast green pastures in NZ – and well, your post shows so much of it! 🙂

  10. Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. I should so love to’ve visited kiwiland. Don’t you think your images look more English than England, Jude ? – I do.

    1. Well seeing as you have been to NEITHER place… 😉

      …funny how so many people see England, and I didn’t. Not really. Yes there are similarities, but it still felt more South African to me, or at least the Cape.

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