NZ: Solscape & My Birthday

This morning I woke up to the sun gently seeping through our tent canopy, birds singing…. and a jack hammer being used for road construction on some nearby highway. There it is – my dose of reality.

The evening before, we arrived in Raglan at our next stopping point: Solscape; a hippy’s paradise. I booked a belle tent in their Tipi forest weeks before arriving and we were excited to have a “room” to ourselves – the first time since we’d arrived. Solscape has tipis, cabooses, earth domes, self-contained homes and camping sites for travelers with their own gear. I had wanted a tipi originally, but I’m glad we got a belle tent instead – it looked much more spacious.

It was a bit of a hike from our car down a shaded trail to the tent. I don’t usually mind, but the guy working there happened to pull up in his truck and offer me a ride. After looking around, we decide to go to the local grocery and buy food to cook in the outdoor kitchen near our tent. A family had already started a fire in the brick oven, so we’d be able to use that by the time we got back.

My birthday was turning out to be all the things I loved: being tucked away in the woods, cooking over a fire, laughing with friends, camping under the stars…

Our dinner turned out awesome – steak and veggie kebabs, s’mores with chocolate, corn-starch marshmallows (yeah… not my fave) and a bottle of wine. Perfection.

After lots of cooking and laughing and getting to know the family who had been eating there before us, we were left alone to finish our s’mores and put out the fire. BAM! something very large landed on the tin roof above us. We all froze and waited as it scurried down and jumped into a tree. Suddenly, what looked like a large bushy-tailed raccoon was peering at us with its beady eyes. None of us were quite sure what it was (we found out later it was a bush-tailed possum) but we decided it was probably a good time to go to bed. It finally scurried away and we made the blind trek back to our tent – trying to get there quickly (out of a slight fear that there were other creatures in the trees above us).

After being woken by a jackhammer, I quietly grabbed my shower soap and crawled through a small opening in the door, making my way to the outhouse and solar showers. I will ashamedly admit that I don’t know all of the ins and outs of solar-powered anything, but the fact that I was showering first thing in the morning and the fact that it was completely overcast is what I’m guessing contributed to the lack of any warm water whatsoever. Not relaxing by any means, but certainly refreshing.

After my ice shower, I walked the trail to the main site of the retreat facility where they have gardens and an organic cafe. The outside patio and grassy area overlooks the ocean far below. I grabbed a big bean bag and spent an hour reading. (Yes, to those of you who know me, you know this doesn’t happen often… it was lovely!)

It started to rain lightly so I went back to the tent. Victoria and SJ were awake at this point and anxious to see me. To my surprise, they had booked a massage for me as a birthday gift! I’d never had a massage up to this point. It was in a little wooden one-room house in the woods and so relaxing.

The rest of the day we spent time reading, sleeping and eating our leftover snacks. There was supposed to be live music and pizza at the cafe that night but the rain was persistent enough that they canceled the music. So we opted for the pizza and were content with that. For the most part, the cafe food was pretty good! They serve almost everything with edible flowers from the garden, making it all quite picturesque.

We stayed one more night before heading to our next stop. The stars were absolutely incredible and Victoria and I spent time stargazing before going to sleep that night.

Solscape has a lot to offer for anyone interested in staying – they provide surfing lessons, yoga, massages, etc. and are a great venue for any group activities. We saw different groups come through for meals/seminars/workshops. There are also things to do in town. You can book horseback riding, go to the movies, hit up shops and restaurants. Our main goal was to relax, so we opted out of a lot of these activities.


  – I’d go back again!








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