Bridal Veil Waterfalls, coastal scenery and quite backwaters with heritage highlights
Explore beaches framed with orange reefs (at low tide), natural hot springs in tidal sands (Kawhia). Immerse yourself in native bush, farmland and panoramic views of the countryside stitched together with harbour inlets and glimpses of the roaring ocean. This day trip is possible from Hamilton, choose your highlights and enjoy a day on the North Island west coast. This road trip is best taken from Raglan.
Raglan to Kawhia and beyond the road is, in parts gravel (unsealed) road, narrow, winding road among magnificent coastal scenery and quiet remote beaches. Beautiful NZ with wild goats sometimes making an appearance.
- Distance: 114 km (Raglan to Kawhia and return)
- Travelling time: 2 ¾ hours
- Road conditions: Gravel, unsealed in parts, narrow and winding
The above route descrption omits the extraordinary remote beach of Ruapuke.
Raglan and beyond beaches best for photographers are Ruapuke for its magnificent remote glory and surfing Mana and Whale Bay. TIP check out Raglan wharf for excited kids water bombing.
137 km (depart Raglan return Raglan) 3 hours driving time
Raglan day trips highlights
- A day trip through the countryside part and parcel of summer vibe
- Experience the dramatic gravel Whaanga Coast Road
- Count the steps to Bridal Veil Falls for a selfie
- Walk Aotea beach at low tide with Aotea Harbour imposing black dunes and orange tinted rock reef
- Eat fish n chips on the Kawhia jetty
- Spa treatment anyone at remote hot springs beach (Kawhia)
- Detour past the magnificent isolated majesty of Ruapuke beach
- Ponder hiking Mt Karioi track as you pass the signposts to the walking track
- Pass Manu Bay, to Whale Bay with views of the Tasman Sea, quiet bays and tiny settlements.
Raglan offers visitors diverse attractions from Raglan Rock canyoning, horse trekking on remote beaches and leisurely harbour cruises. Consider a short road trip to Kawhia and find a hot water beach not many visit.
Wairēinga Bridal Veil Falls, waterfall attraction
Bridal Veil Falls is a stunning single sheer sparkling drop of water. The walk is very popular with excellent signage describing flora and fauna. The falls walk involves several hundred steps which is humorously marked encouraging visitors to go further.
The best place to stay if you want to visit the Bridal Veil Falls is Raglan, a seaside visitor hot spot for surfers and art & craft fans alike.
Aotea Beach is approximately 15 minutes (one way) from Kawhia town / hot springs beach. The road is sealed although narrow and winding. The community is well signposted. For visitors wishing to spend more time in Kawhia simply continue on the route towards Kawhia settlement.
Kawhia is a quiet town seeped in Maori history as the final resting place of the voyaging Tainui Waka (ocean canoe). The local museum, situated on the waterfront is a pocket gem packed with stories and local history. The museum is managed by volunteers who check opening hours to avoid disappointment.
- February the town is packed to the rafters with attendees of Kawhia Ka Indigneous Food Festival
- Fish n chips on the jetty
- Kawhia Hot Water Beach
- Off the beaten track vibe
Whaanga Road – return to Raglan
Effectively the return drive to Raglan on Whaaga Road is a detour following the coast. You are passing Ruapuke Beach with its generous swath of iron sands. A very special place glittering the colours of sky, sea and iron in quiet splendour. It is a popular destination for local horse riders. The road to the beach is a narrow steep rutted gravel track. There are compostable toilets located in the carpark.
Photographers loving the landscapes of raw uncrowded spaces this is worth the detour down to the beach. Ruapuke Beach is a detour off Whaanga Road adding approximately 1 hour driving time to your day.
For visitors who wish to spend the maximum amount of time exploring Kawhia skip Bridal Veil Falls and the beaches. Spend the day pottering around Kawhia with the low tide appointment with a spade, swimming gear and the chance for a natural spa Kawhia style.
Route map for devotees of all things hot springs Raglan to Kawhai return
Return to Raglan with a promise of a return. Check out the article Raglan travel guide for inspiration on what to do on your second visit. Horse riding at Ruapuke Beach or perhaps Raglan Rock Canyoning. Raglan is home to several picturesque walks and there is always a waterfall for a repeat visit.
change ink to Raglan travel guide 35 things to do in Raglan
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