Raglan is the Waikato's key surf area. Located on the west, this black sand mecca is known internationally for it's surfing. It is reported to be the longest left hand ride in the world.
The Raglan community is reminiscent of a small township. It hasn't be overtaken with development and locals still enjoy a relaxed way of life. It's a 45 minute drive from Hamilton, and the wait is surely worth it.
With several surf spots in Raglan, locals and visitors are spoilt for choice.
Beginners and swimmers can enjoy the safety of sand bottomed, Ngarunui beach - the only beach patrolled by lifeguards.
As the road begins to wind further round the coast, you come across the 3 famous surf spots, Manu bay, Whale bay and Indicators. These breaks attract surfers from all around the world.
They break over rocks and boulders and are for experienced surfers only. When surfers talk of the top 3 surf spots in New Zealand, Raglan is always part of the conversation.
Once a sleepy seaside village, Raglan is now a vibrant and eclectic version of your typical Kiwi small town. However, despite the change it has somehow managed to maintain its grass-roots identity.
It's a great place to stroll around with an ice-cream in hand or maybe a cup of brown-lightning - Raglan Roast's signature blend of coffee. Surf shops, art galleries, curios and fashion stores can all be found here, alongside the small town essentials like the butcher, bookstore and bakery. It's an interesting and fun mix.
You'll find great cafes and eateries all over Raglan. In town you've got the Shack, Raglan Roast, Aloha Sushi and Blacksands. Over the bridge in Raglan west you'll find the old dairy now serves up authentic Italian meals and Gelato.
Keep heading up the road and you'll find yourself at Rock-it cafe and kitchen – a converted surf shop that's now a great destination for brunch or lunch. When the day wears on, you can make your way to the Harbour View Hotel, Orca Bar, Bow St Depot, Valentes or the Yot Club.
Whether you're after a refreshing drink, a good feed or some live music, all of the above could be the place to be on any given night.
After burning to the ground in a fire several years ago, the Raglan Wharf has not only been rebuilt but has become a destination in itself.
Raglan Fish serve up fresh fish n chips, there's coffee and treats at wharf espresso, you can check out the latest pottery creations from Tony Sly, and even find handcrafted leather shoes, bags and goods at Soul Shoes.
It's also a great place for the kids to have a fish, and for the big kids there are plenty of charter boats going out regularly too.
A great way to end the day or mark a special occasion is on the Wahine Moe harbour cruise. They offer sunset cruises of the harbour in a fully equipped party boat.
Natural beauty also abounds in and around Raglan. It's not just the beaches and ocean views either. Within a short drive you can find yourself at Bridal Veil Falls – a spectacular waterfall that blasts off the cliff into the lush native forest below.
Te Toto gorge is another amazing location. Lying half way between Raglan and Ruapuke on Whaanga road, the gorge feels like a prehistoric landscape with dramatic cliffs that fall away to the forest and sea below.
Adventures to be had in Raglan
Raglan's not only a great place to relax. Check out the following activities:
- Learn to surf lessons and courses with UP Surf Coaching UpSurfCoaching.co.nz
- Raglan Surfing School RaglanSurfingSchool.co.nz
- Stand Up Paddle boarding on the harbour: ThePaddleboardShed.co.nz
- Rock climbing and caving with Raglan Rock: RaglanRock.com
- Kayak adventures with Raglan Kayak: RaglanEco.co.nz
- Surf & Turf Horse Tours RaglanHorseRiding.co.nz
More Raglan Information and Activities
You really do need a few days to unwind and explore the area. A great website to learn more about Raglan and find more info is www.raglan.net.nz