The Wharf of Wallis Street, Raglan


The Wharf of Wallis Street, Raglan The Wharf of Wallis Street, Raglan
The Wharf of Wallis Street, Raglan The Wharf of Wallis Street, Raglan

Each time I visit Raglan it comes up with more riches. In summer it's awash with pleasure seekers, surfers and sunlovers and the little seaside Waikato town has responded to the influx with some innovative ideas.

In the main street I bought our daily staple from the cute Tiny Tiny Bread Shop, which is no wider than a French baquette. We sank a pint and listened to the talented local guitarist David Maybee in Valente's Outwest Cantina and visited the very modern public toilets that serenaded us with All You Need is Love.

But the best discovery was the recently re-invented wharf area at the end of Wallis Street, where part of the old cement silo has been converted into apartments, and the boat building and storage sheds along the wharf (many of them all but destroyed by a massive fire in 2010) have been rebuilt to house some interesting retail outlets.

Leather worker Rob Calloway has set up a shop and workroom for Soul Shoes. Rob has been hand-making leather shoes, belts and bags for the last 40 years. It doesn't take a cobbler to see that they are top quality.

Widely applauded potter, Tony Sly, has set up his factory on the wharf, the workshop is at the back of the well-stocked retail outlet. Around the corner is a shop that is impossible to walk past.

Owner of the Raglan Vintage and Retro shop is Sue Morrow who has been an addicted collector of old stuff all her life. Her extensive collection – all for sale – is created like a museum. You will want to look even if you don't want to buy.

But the piece de resistance is a replica of Dr Who's Tardis, which doubles as a changing room. It was built by Sue's husband. Standing outside with lights flashing to the sound of the TV show's theme music, I half expected it to take off. The interior is bizarre with cosmic images and repeating mirrors in which (alarmingly) I saw myself repeated 100 times.

There are other shops and then, at the end of the wharf a large seafood outlet selling wet fish and 18 different cooked fish and shellfish options.

We sat at the outside tables to eat and watch the line of hopefuls dangling their fishing lines over the side of the wharf in the time-honoured past time of catching your own. I suspected they would also end up ordering from the menu.

Jill Malcolm is a former editor of Motorhomes Caravans & Destinations and author of the Great Kiwi Motorhome Guide.

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