Raglan is a small beachside town located 48 kilometres west of Hamilton, New Zealand. West Coast beaches, black iron sands, and pounding surf are spectacular drawcards for Raglan. Raglan is New Zealand’s original surf town. Surfing culture in the town has embraced wanderlust as a town motto. Testing yourself against the surf is one of the best things to do in Raglan.
The artsy town of Raglan is more than just a surf beach destination. When visitors come to Raglan, they can enjoy the bustling art scene supported by local weekenders and a thriving food scene with locally sourced ingredients. There are also plenty of activities for non-surfers, including fishing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
The landscape varies from west coast surf beaches to stunning inland waterfalls and peaceful gravel roads leading to communities steeped in New Zealand history. The town of Raglan provides opportunities to explore the North Island without the crowds congregating around the postcard destinations.
No, Raglan is not a crowded town. It’s a bohemian town with a relaxed vibe. According to the 2018 population census, the town has a population of 3279 people, with 1602 males and 1677 females.
What to do in Raglan
Visit a Raglan Beach
Raglan is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand. The black sand beaches are unique to this part of the world and a must-see when visiting Raglan.
Here is a list of Raglan beaches:
It’s true that Raglan is a surfing town, but there is so much more to see and do here besides surfing. Here are the top 10 things to do around Raglan that don’t include surfing.
Kayak Around the Pancake rocks
The Pancake Rocks are a natural rock formation made up of several layers of limestone that have been compressed together over millions of years. You can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore the Pancake Rocks up close.
There are multiple operators offering kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for rent. A 3-hour guided tour is also available, which is a great way to learn about the history and geology of the Pancake Rocks.
Go Fishing at Raglan Wharf
If you’re into fishing, Raglan Wharf is the place to be. This pier is located at the end of Wallis Street and is one of New Zealand’s first wharves. Raglan Wharf is also used as a launching point for charter and tour boats.
If you prefer eating fish rather than catching them, you’ll be happy to know that there are multiple restaurants located on the wharf. Here, you can enjoy stunning views of the harbour while savouring some delicious seafood.
Catch a Sunset Harbour Cruise
Once you are done fishing, it’s time for a sunset cruise. The cruise called ‘Wahinemoe’, a new twin-hulled catamaran takes its passengers on tour to explore the beauty of the Whaingaroa conservation area. The Wahinemoe is operated by Raglan Boat Charter.
During the cruise, you’ll see Raglan’s coastline from a different perspective and learn about its history and culture. The cruise offers an option to add a delicious fish n’ chips dinner for NZ$15. Additionally, it has a licenced bar on board, so you can enjoy a few drinks while admiring the stunning views.
The sunset cruise departs every day at 6 pm from the Raglan Wharf. The cruise typically lasts for about two hours and is a great way to end your day in Raglan.
Visit Raglan Rock for a Rock Climbing Adventure
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Raglan Rock is the place for you. Raglan Rock is an outdoor adventure organisation that provides a variety of exhilarating tours and experiences for people of all ages.
Rock climbing, caving, and canyoning are among the activities that are available here. The breathtaking views of the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island and its landscapes will keep you encouraged during your climbs and adventures.
The team of guides at Raglan Rock is highly experienced and will provide you with all the equipment you need for a safe and fun experience. Raglan Rock is open all year round and is located just a short drive from the town centre.
Learn Surfing at Raglan Surf School
Raglan is a mecca for surfers, and if you’re new to the sport, Raglan Surf School is the perfect place to learn. The surf school is located on Ngarunui Beach, known for its gentle waves and beautiful black sand.
The friendly and experienced team of instructors will teach you everything you need to know about surfing, from paddling and popping up to riding the waves. You’ll also learn about surf safety and how to read the tides and waves.
Raglan Surf School offers both group and private lessons, so you can choose the option that best suits your needs. The school also has a family lesson package, which is a great way to spend some quality time with your loved ones.
You can rent all the necessary surfing equipment from the surf school. The cost of a group lesson starts at NZ$84, and private lessons start at NZ$129.
Try Mountian Biking at Te Ara Kākāriki Bike Trails
Te Ara Kākāriki is a 5-kilometre bike trail located in the town of Raglan on New Zealand’s North Island. It is a grade 2 track, which means that it is suitable for beginners and families.
The trails wind through native bush and offer stunning views of the coast. There are also several places to stop along the way to take a break and enjoy the views. To see a detailed map of the track, click here.
Te Ara Kākāriki is open all year round and is free to use. You can bring your own bike or rent one from Raglan Rock. The cost of a bike rental starts at NZ$40 for 2 hours.
Spend a day at Wainui Reserve
Wainui Reserve is a beautiful 140-hectare farm owned by the Waikato District Council. The reserve is located 7 kilometres from the town centre and offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. Wainui Reserve is also the entry point for the Ngarunui Beach.
The reserve has several walking and biking trails that wind through the native bush and offer stunning views of the coast. You can hike to the highest point on the reserve and enjoy breathtaking views of your surroundings, including an amazing sunset.
Wainui Reserve also has an amphitheatre where a range of events, like concerts and music festivals, are held throughout the year. Weddings, family gatherings, and other events can also be held at the reserve.
The reserve is open all year round and is free to enter.
Enjoy Picnicking at Wainui Reserve Bush Park
Once you’ve explored the Wainui Reserve, you can enjoy a picnic at Bush Park. Wainui Reserve Bush Park is a peaceful spot in the middle of Wainui Reserve. The park is home to various native plants and birds and is a great place to relax and unwind.
There are several picnic tables located throughout the park so that you can enjoy a leisurely lunch with friends or family. Alongside the picnic area, you’ll find a pond and waterfall, making for a beautiful and relaxing setting. Other activities like walking, cycling and horse riding can also be enjoyed at the park.
Enjoy the Sunset from Michael Hope Lookout
Raglan has been blessed with numerous lookout points and viewing platforms. One such place is Michael Hope Lookout, located within Waikato Reserve.
Michael Hope Lookout is located on the west coast of Raglan and offers panoramic views of the Tasman Sea and surrounding landscape. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a romantic sunset with your partner or to take some stunning photographs.
Visit Aloha Marketplace
If you are looking for a great place to eat on the go, Aloha Marketplace has your back. It is the perfect place to get your food on a minimal budget.
Aloha Marketplace has a wide range of food, from Japanese and Hawaiian cuisines to local favourites. You can try out their lip-smacking rolled sushi or udon noodles and donburi rice bowls for an authentic Hawaiian-Japanese experience.
Aloha Marketplace is open every day from *09:00 am to 05:00 pm. However, the timing may differ during the winter season.
*Timing may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Free Things to do in Raglan
Visit Te Uku Wind Farm
The giant, spinning turbines at Te Uku Wind Farm are a sight to see. This wind farm is spread over 5580 hectares and has 28 wind turbines with a capacity of generating 250-gigawatt hours of electricity annually.
The Te Uku viewing platform, which is set up at the Te Uku community church car park, is a great place to start your adventure at the wind farm. You can see the turbines up close and learn about how they work from the viewing platform.
Visit Xtreme Waste
Xtreme Waste is a small non-profit organisation that has taken on the sole job of recycling the waste in Raglan. Even though it is not a gorgeous tourist attraction, visitors come to witness the technology and work of the company.
Xtreme Waste offers guided site tours where you can see the recycling process in action and learn about how they work to reduce waste. The guided tour lasts for about 1.5 -2 hours and is available Monday through Friday before *12:30 pm.
*Timing may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Xtreme Waste has a shop on site where you can purchase a range of eco-friendly products made from recycled materials.
Go on a Walk in Bryant Memorial Reserve
Bryant Memorial Reserve is a beautiful native bush reserve located 10 kilometres south of Raglan’s town centre. The reserve is home to various native plants and animals and offers two beautiful walking tracks for visitors to enjoy.
Ngarunui Track and Water-race Track are the two Bryant Memorial Reserve tracks. Both tracks are easy walks and offer different views of the reserve.
- Time: 20 minutes (one-way)
- Distance: 800 meters (one-way)
Ngarunui Track is accessible via Wainui Road, which runs along the southwest coast of Raglan. From Bryant Home Children’s Bible Camp car park, follow the steps down into a well-formed track. This track winds through a tiny stretch of coastal forest rich in New Zealand tree ferns, nīkau palm, kawakawa and kōwhai.
On a third of the way down, there is an excellent lookout providing stunning views northward along the coast. If you continue the path, it will take you to Ngarunui Beach, where we can enjoy some sunbathing and swimming.
Another way to get access to the Ngarunui track is via 50 steps from Earles Place. However, this location has limited parking.
- Time: 25 minutes (one-way)
- Distance: 1 kilometer (one-way)
The Water-Race Track can be accessed across the road from Bryant Home Children’s Bible Camp. The track leads visitors through a regenerating coastal forest to a seat and a water intake, which is Bryant Home’s primary source of water. The track is named after a famous water race that provided Bryant Home with electricity in 1924.
Another way to access Water-Race Track is by an access strip on Upper Wainui Road that leads to a bridge that connects to the track.
What to do in Raglan in Winter
Explore Raglan Town Centre
Raglan town centre is a great place to explore, especially in winter when the weather is cooler. There is a range of shops and cafes located throughout the town centre so that you can spend a day browsing and shopping.
The perfect way to start your day is by stopping into Raglan Roast for a delicious flat white coffee. From there, head over to the town and pick up some local and handcrafted goods. From clothing to home decor, there are plenty of shops to keep you busy.
There are numerous cafes and restaurants to pick from if you get hungry. For a quick bite, stop into The Shack for a burger or fries. If you want to try something unique, stop at Raglan Artisan Bread for a loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread.
Play Golf at the Raglan Golf Club
The Raglan Golf Club is set up under Mt. Karioi and offers stunning views of the area. The course is made up of 18 holes and is set up on hilly terrain, challenging both novice and experienced golfers.
If you need a break from playing golf, the clubhouse is the perfect place to relax with a drink and something to eat.
The Raglan Golf Club is open all year round and offers a range of membership options. Visitors are welcome to play at the club.
Visit the Raglan & District Museum
Raglan & District Museum is located in the town centre and gives visitors a glimpse into the local history of Raglan Whaingaroa and the surrounding districts.
The museum has a range of exhibits that chronicle the Maori history, early settler and town life history, and European migrants. The museum is proud to display the Taiaha of Te Awaitaia, a prominent Ngati Mahanga chief and signatory to the Treaty of Waitangi.
A large portion of the artefacts portrays domestic, agricultural, and town life in Raglan, primarily in the early twentieth century. The first telephone exchange switchboard, life-saving surf reel and an extensive collection of pharmacy items used by T. B Hill, who was the town’s first chemist, are all on display at the museum.
There’s also a vast array of photographs that showcase Raglan’s rich history. You’ll find many early copies of The Raglan County Chronicle, which was the town’s local newspaper.
Raglan & District Museum is open every day, and admission fees are NZ$4 for adults and NZ$2 for children.
Things to do in Raglan on a Rainy Day
Attend a Yoga Class
If you’re looking for something to do in Raglan on a rainy day, why not sign up for a yoga class? There are several yoga studios located throughout the town, so you can find one that suits your needs.
Yoga classes are a great way to relax and unwind, and they offer a range of benefits for your mind and body. If you’re new to yoga, plenty of beginner-friendly classes are also available.
Some of the best yoga studios in Raglan include:
So, whether you’re a yoga enthusiast or a complete novice, be sure to add a yoga class to your list of things to do in Raglan.
Check Out the Raglan Old School Arts Centre
Raglan Old School Arts Centre is a community arts centre that offers a range of events, classes and workshops for all ages. It is a hub and beginning of the art trail that stretches through town. Raglan Old School Arts Centre is located in a historic school building built in colonial times.
Raglan Old School Arts Centre is used by the artistic community and friends of the arts as a place to gather, share and create. The arts centre is available for functions, meetings, workshops and performances. They also have a commercial kitchen that can be rented to serve light meals and refreshments.
Raglan Old School Arts Centre hosts various events like Art to Wear, Arts Weekend, Raglan Film Festival and Raglan Creative Market. In addition, the arts centre shows films on at least two weekends each month in its 40 seat microcinema.
Click here to view the event calendar of Raglan Old School Arts Centre.
Visit the Raglan Photo Gallery
The Raglan Photo Gallery is a must-see for anyone who appreciates photography. The gallery contains a collection of photographs by a local photographer Jwan Milek, who is widely known as a surf photographer.
Here, you’ll find a range of photos that capture the beauty of Raglan beaches, sunsets, landscapes and seascapes. The gallery also features pictures of the local people, which offer a glimpse into the daily life in Raglan.
You can also purchase the prints of the photos on display as gifts or souvenirs. Raglan Photo Gallery is open daily from *10:00 am to 05:00 pm. Admission is free.
*Timing may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Learn About Local Artists at Toi Hauāuru Studio
Toi Hauāuru Studio is a gallery and shop that showcases the work of emerging and established local artists. Simon Te Wheoro and Jamie Haenga are the two owners of the studio.
The gallery features a range of artwork in various mediums, including paintings in mixed media, Māori art, and sculptures in wood and stone with traditional pounamu (greenstone) carvings. You can purchase the artwork on display or commission a piece.
Simon also creates a variety of one-of-a-kind goods such as T-shirts, stickers, and accessories like earrings, necklaces and woven Kete bags, which are all available for sale in the shop.
Toi Hauāuru Studio is open from Wednesday to Sunday from *10:00 am to 05:00 pm. Admission is free.
*Timing may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Visit Kanuka Design Gallery
Kanuka Design Gallery is a welcoming space for locals and international visitors to view authentic art and handmade products by New Zealand artists.
The local products and handicrafts at Kanuka Design Gallery will leave you wishing for more space in your suitcase. Candles, homewares accessories, textiles, pottery and vases, paintings, prints, and jewellery are among the things you can find here.
Kanuka Design Gallery is open Monday to Sunday from *10:00 am to 05:00 pm. Admission is free.
*Timing may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Have a Party at Yot Club
If you’re looking for a place to let your hair down and have some fun, look no further than Yot Club. This vibrant nightspot is the perfect place to enjoy live music, delicious food and drinks, and good vibes.
Yot Club serves as a venue for local and national DJs and bands wishing to perform in front of a vibrant, energetic crowd. The Sunday afternoon summer sessions at Yot Club are a must-attend for any party lover. With great beats and an enthusiastic crowd, it’s hard not to dance the whole time.
Yot Club is open from *7:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays, it opens from *05:00 pm to 01:00 am.
*Timing may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Visit Lake Disappear
Lake Disappear is a fascinating intermittent volcanogenic lake that you will find on the North Island of New Zealand. It’s located 20 kilometres away from Raglan and 4 km past Bridal Veil waterfall. It is one of the largest known poljes in the country.
The beautiful and serene Lake Disappear is a popular spot for tourists and locals to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is also a popular spot for picking with friends and family.
Lake Disappear is a seasonal lake that can dry up during summer. If you’re visiting Raglan during the rainy season, be sure not to miss out on seeing this beautiful lake.
Things to do Around Raglan
Visit Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls, also known as Wairēinga Falls, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Raglan. The waterfall is 55 meters (180 feet) tall and has created a vast pool at its base over time. It is located 16 km south of Raglan, and the route is well signposted.
You’ll need to get your hands on sturdy shoes before setting out for the Wairēinga/Bridal Veil Falls. You’ll need to walk for around 10 minutes along a short walking trail to get to the falls.
This walking trail passes through a native forest, following the Pakoka River and ends up at its top, where there are two viewing platforms. The walking trail is ideal for children’s pushchairs and assisted wheelchair users.
The two viewing platforms at the top of the falls provide spectacular views of the falls and surrounding countryside. From here, the track then descends steeply downstairs to the mid-way viewpoint. The track continues to descend downstairs more, leading you into an information shelter with a view across the pool and up at this gorgeous waterfall.
Wairēinga/Bridal Veil Falls is a favourite photo spot for tourists looking to capture that perfect Instagram moment. The falls often have an updraft of wind that creates a swirling mist that floats before sinking into the pool below, creating an amazing background scenery.
Take a Hike Up Mount Karioi
Mount Karioi is an ancient volcano mountain believed to be more than two million years old. The mountain lies 17 kilometres southwest of Raglan, which is approximately an 18-minute drive.
Today, Mount Karioi is home to a variety of different plant and animal life. It is also a popular hiking destination for both locals and tourists alike. There are two different hiking tracks that lead to the summit of Mount Karioi, the Karioi track and the Wairake Track.
Follow our guide on Mount Karioi summit tacks for detailed information on each track.
Take a Walk to Te Toto Gorge Lookout
Te Toto Gorge is a historically significant site located 18 kilometres south of Raglan. It’s home to traditional Māori gardens and three natural coastal amphitheatres. The site also has remnants of garden plots, stonewalls, and karaka groves dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, indicating a rich history.
Te Toto Gorge has a spectacular lookout that offers panoramic views of the Raglan coastline and Māori gardens. The lookout is located at the end of a short walking trail that takes approximately 30 minutes to walk. The walking trail begins at the car park, which is also utilised by those hiking Mount Karioi.
The road of the track is slightly rough in sections and is well signposted. From here, you’ll get an unobstructed view of the spectacular coastline, gorge, amphitheatre and Māori garden. Beyond the lookout, the trail is unmarked and winds through an open grassy area with a steep slope before flattening out closer to the coast.
Take a Walk or Enjoy Cycling Along the Pipiwharauroa Trail
Pipiwharauroa Trail is an 18-kilometre long walking and cycling trail located 17 kilometres south of Raglan. The trail starts from Kawhia Road near Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls and ends at the Te Uku Wind Farm.
The trail passes through privately owned farmland and paper roads on the Wharauroa Plateau. The majority of this trail comprises a wide gravel road that can be challenging at times. The last 1.5 kilometres is the roughest part of the trail.
Pipiwharauroa Trail provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see the native bush, farmland, and phenomenal views of Raglan, Aotea, and Kawhia Harbour. Visitors may glimpse Mount Taranaki from the track on a clear day. Several historical sites, including an old Māori settlement, can be found along the trail.
Pipiwharauroa Trail requires a moderate fitness level and is best suited for experienced cyclists. It is recommended that visitors bring plenty of food and water as there are no shops or cafes along the way.
Ride a Horse at Magic Mountain Horse Treks
Magic Mountain Horse Treks is a horse trekking business located 13 kilometres south of Raglan. You can book yourself onto one-hour or full-day treks, which will take you through some of Raglan’s most beautiful scenery. You can also opt for an extra thrill and go on a 4-hour trek to Waireinga/Bridal Veil Falls.
The treks are suitable for all levels of experience, and the friendly staff will give you a brief lesson before setting off. All horses are well-trained and gentle, making them perfect for first-time riders. The company provides all the necessary safety gear required for the trek.
Horse trekking is a great way to see the town from a different perspective and enjoy the stunning scenery at a leisurely pace.
Where can I Watch the Sunset in Raglan?
The best places to watch the sunset in Raglan are –
- Sunset Harbour Cruise
- Wainui Reserve
- Michael Hope Lookout
- Te Uku Wind Farm
- Wairēinga/Bridal Veil Falls
- Mount Karioi
- Te Toto Gorge Lookout
Where to Shop in Raglan
Find Some Souvenirs at Rivet Vintage Shop and Gallery
Rivet Vintage Shop and Gallery is the perfect place to find some unique souvenirs for your friends and family back home. The shop is located in the old dairy factory on Wallis St, Raglan.
Rivet Vintage Shop and Gallery stocks a range of vintage items, including jewellery, furniture, art, and homewares. It also has a team of experienced restorers who can breathe new life into old antique items.
Rivet Vintage Shop and Gallery is open from Thursday to Monday from *10:30 am till 02:00 pm.
*Timing may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Purchase a Pottery at Tony Sly
Tony Sly is a pottery studio and shop located at the Raglan Wharf. The studio has an extensive one-of-a-kind collection of rustic and traditional pottery in various shapes and colours. They also provide a variety of accessories to go with their pottery, such as wooden kitchenware and salt and pepper grinders.
All potteries are handcrafted and of the finest quality. You can purchase pottery that is ready-made, or you can order customised pieces.
Tony Sly is open every day from *09:00 am to 05:00 pm.
*Timing may vary due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit Raglan Summer Market
Raglan summer market has a range of stalls selling fresh products, arts and crafts, coffee, and food. You can find some really unique items at this market, so it’s definitely worth visiting if you’re in town.
The market is held at different times and locations around Raglan. Check their Facebook page for more information on dates and locations.
Visit Raglan Creative Market
Raglan Creative Market is a monthly market hosted at the Raglan Old School Arts Centre on the second Sunday of each month.
Raglan Creative Market is a place for locals to sell their handmade products. You’ll find a range of items on sale like seasonal organic produce, fresh-baked bread, exquisite woven flax-ware, funky kids accessories, clothing and jewellery, paintings, and much more.
Follow Raglan Creative Market on Facebook to stay updated on their upcoming events.
Visit During Raglan Arts Weekend
Raglan Arts Weekend is the highlight of the Raglan arts calendar. It is a three-day event held every Labor Day weekend, which is the fourth Monday in October.
The Raglan Arts Weekend is an opportunity for locals and visitors alike to enjoy the creative vibe of this bohemian town. The event features both emerging artists and well-established Kiwis showcasing their work in art forms such as potteries, paintings, photographs, jewellery and more.
All of the work will be for sale, and the artists will be on hand to talk about their inspirations and creative processes.
To stay up to date with the latest Raglan Arts Weekend information, follow them on Facebook.
Enjoy at Soundsplash Music Festival
If you’re visiting the town in late January, then you’ll be able to enjoy the annual Soundsplash Music Festival.
Soundsplash Music Festival is a three-day event that features various Kiwi and international artists performing across a range of genres, including reggae, dub, hip-hop, drum and bass, and electronica.
Follow Soundsplash Music Festival on Facebook for updates on their lineup and ticket information.
Rock-It Kitchen is a family-friendly restaurant based in an old woolshed with a tidal stream flowing past its bottom, giving it a relaxed vibe that we all love.
The menu at this restaurant is based on local, organic and seasonal ingredients. Their Irish potato cakes with pork belly, poached eggs and confit duck asian salad are a must-try. The restaurant also serves vegetarian and vegan options.
Rock-It Kitchen has an outdoor deck that is the perfect place to enjoy a local craft beer or a glass of New Zealand wine.
Orca Eatery & Bar
Orca Eatery & Bar is a waterfront restaurant that offers stunning views of Raglan Harbour. The menu features a range of seafood and meat dishes that are all cooked to perfection. They also have a selection of vegan dishes and vegetarian options.
Some of their signature dishes include the smoked salmon benedict, garlic prawns, and southern chicken burger. Orca Eatery & Bar also has an impressive drinks menu with a wide selection of local and international wines, beers, spirits and cocktails.
Wharf Kitchen and Bar
Wharf Kitchen and Bar is another waterfront restaurant in Raglan that offers breathtaking views of the harbour.
The menu features a range of seafood and meat dishes and vegetarian and vegan options. Some of their most popular dishes are Honey soy chicken, lamb curry, T-bone, fajita chicken, and avocado wrap.
Wharf Kitchen and Bar has a wide range of on tap beers, cocktails and wine. They also have an impressive spirit menu with a range of whiskies, gins and vodkas.
Raglan Surf Guide
Raglan is a great place for all surfers out there. With its world-class waves and some of the best breaks in New Zealand, it’s no wonder that this little town has started to become an international for surf enthusiasts.
Please respect surf etiquette and help the locals look after the environment by picking up any rubbish and leaving only footprints.
For Raglan surf reports and forecasts, go to:
History of Surfing in Raglan
Raglan surf was made famous by the renowned 1966 film ‘The Endless Summer,’ which featured Manu Bay as a beach with waves so long that “Raglan surfers don’t carry wax, they carry lifeboat rations”.
Raglan’s surf culture is also included in several other films, including Last Paradise, which tells the story of the Waikato surf town’s key role in developing New Zealand’s adventure sports industry.
Raglan’s waves have been surfed for more than half a century, with the Raglan Point Boardrider’s club founded in 1962. Visit the Raglan Museum to see an exhibition of local surfing history or share stories with one of the locals. Many can tell you tales of travelling far abroad, only to return home in their quest for the perfect wave.
Raglan Left Hand Breaks
Raglan’s waves are some of the most consistent in all weather. The town is famous for its long left-hand break that runs along a rocky shoreline, encompassing three bays. The rocky seabed produces consistent waves between four and six feet (sometimes a lot bigger).
It is said that, on days when there is a strong swell, the three main point breaks of Manu Bay, Whale Bay, and Indicators can meet up to form an unbelievable wave with a ride of more than two kilometres.
Manu Bay, Whale Bay, and Indicators are some of New Zealand’s best surfing beaches because of their mix of point breaks, reef breaks, and beach breaks.
When you visit Raglan surf stores, the quality of their surfboards is clear to see. There are some impressive handcrafted creations on display and for sale in these local workshops of New Zealanders.
One such surfboard maker is Mickey T, who owns and operates Raglan Longboards. Mickey T makes longboard designs in many different styles evoking the classic Malibu style. His durable hybrid and longboards are a testament to the virtues of artisan craftsmanship and are works of art in their own right.
Another Raglan local known for his surfboards is Aaron Kereopa. The contemporary artist uses foam blank surfboards to create stunning carved pieces which are sold throughout New Zealand and the world.
With its world-class waves, it’s no wonder that Raglan has become an international hotspot for surfers. But as with any surfing destination, there are a few things to keep in mind to help you stay safe while enjoying the waves.
Visitors are encouraged to familiarise themselves with Raglan’s Safe Surfing Code before hitting the waves.
Key Surfing Areas in Raglan
You’ll find some of the best waves in Manu Bay, Whale Bay and Indicators. These three areas are known for their large consistent swells suitable for experienced surfers.
Raglan is also an excellent place for beginners to learn to surf. The town’s main beach, Ngarunui, offers gentle waves perfect for those just starting out.
Surfing Personalities and Events
The town has given rise to an eclectic group that includes surfing pioneers, national champions and some brilliant surfboard makers.
Raglan also hosts a variety of surfing events such as Rip Curl Pro, national championships and the Hyundai Longboard Tour.
What is the Best Time to Visit Raglan, New Zealand?
The best time to visit Raglan is from spring to late summer months (December to late March).
Winters can be chilly with some tourism operators being closed.
How to Reach Raglan?
The best way to reach Raglan is by a vehicle on the road network. The public long-distance bus network via Hamilton is scheduled once a day.
Getting around in Raglan
You will need a vehicle to get around Raglan.
Is Raglan Worth Visiting?
Yes, Raglan is definitely worth visiting. The town offers something for everyone, whether you’re a surfing enthusiast or just looking to enjoy the laid-back Kiwi lifestyle.
Raglan is blessed with a lovely climate all year. The summers are short and pleasant, while the winters are chilly and wet. The weather in town is mostly cloudy and windy all year.
The summer season lasts for about three months (December to March) with an average temperature of 22.0°C. February is the hottest month, with an average temperature of 24.0°C.
The winter seasons last for about four months (June to September), with an average temperature below 16°C. July is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 11°C.
Travel Pack Information
While Raglan is a veteran at welcoming visitors, there is tension between what an influx of development means for Raglan and the surrounding district.
A town where the Airbnb sector is an economic activity should encourage visitors to think about the impact of rapid growth in tourism and its impact on the town, its inhabitants and the environment. There are no easy answers and, of course, we all want to visit this very special place.
Official tourism websites: