Great surf, great coffee, and even greater amounts of black sand ending up in all the wrong places. Known for its laid back vibes, or lack thereof when you drop in on a local surfer; Raglan is a long time favourite of mine.
Its coordinates place it amidst the vast and ominous west coast making it the perfect candidate for a winter getaway or a dreamy summer adventure.
Where to Stay in Raglan.
A swift 2 hour drive from the bustle of Auckland City will lead you to Raglan’s doorstep. There are accommodation options to suits all; a highly prized $10 campground (you’re lucky I’m sharing), Raglan backpackers or the holistic Solscape. You’ll be spending most of your time outdoors, so don’t get too caught up in the details.
Food & Drink
There is a small collection of cafes and bars in Raglan township. Quality over quantity sure rings home in this instance. The infamous Raglan Roast coffee is found at the back of Volcom Lane, so wake yourself up with a drop of their goodness. The Shack is on-point with its mouth-watering breakfast options. Find yourself hungry come lunch time then Aroha Sushi will relinquish your fuel tanks. Their donburi bowls are outta this world! Post surf beers can be tracked down at the Good George brewery. You’d be missing out if you didn’t finish your night at the quirky Yot Club.
Bridal Veil Falls
Set in an abundance of native New Zealand bush, the Bridal Veil Falls are truly mesmerising. A 15-minute drive off the main road plus a 15-minute walk will deliver you to the bottom of these mystical, fairyland falls. For you muppets who always manage to get lost here’s a detailed description of how to get there.
You can’t claim you’ve been to Raglan unless you’ve had a crack at surfing. With surf breaks for all levels, the town has established itself as a surfing mecca. Channel your inner Kelly Slater and head to Ngarunui Beach (main beach) for lessons. Further south, the waves wrap around the rocky point offering left-handers for miles. Manu Bay is the first point break followed by Whale Bay further round the coast. These spots are often busy so the early bird gets the worm.
On a strong westerly wind, Raglan is a strong contender for best kite spot in New Zealand. A huge estuary fills the gap between Raglan and the Te Akau hills. The tidal pull is strong giving a magic carpet feel when kiting, landing upwind of yourself when jumping. The team at Ozone Raglan offer great introductory lessons.
An absolute stunner of a sunset can be captured on the West Coast, parking up at Manu Bay would be my recommendation. Watch the softly saturated scenes disappear into darkness from the vantage point of your vehicle. Beer, book, surfed out kinda vibes.