Escape to Raglan: The Ultimate Guide to the Best Things to do in Raglan

Be Active Five Ways to Wellbeing

This site contains affiliate links for products and services we recommend. Read my disclaimer for more information. If you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a small commission (for which I am very grateful).

Looking for a getaway that combines the beauty of nature, with adventure and relaxation?

Look no further than Raglan; with its famous beaches, mesmerising bridal veil falls and the delicious flat white coffee alongside friendly locals, Raglan is the ideal destination for your next holiday.

    Bridal Veil Falls, Aotearoa New Zealand

    Situated two hours away from Auckland in the North Island, this laid-back paradise offers opportunities to unwind, explore nature trails or indulge in thrilling activities like surfing, kitesurfing mountain biking or rock climbing. You can also treat yourself to a sunset cruise or pay a visit to an organic farm, for a more relaxed afternoon out.

      woman, climbing, recreation

      What is Raglan famous for? Is it really worth visiting?

      Nestled on Waikato’s west coast, small beachside town of Raglan has gained acclaim for its world class surfing waves attracting wave riders from around the globe. However it’s not just surfers who find their haven here; the town is also renowned, for its vibrant arts scene, architecture and warm, welcoming community.

      Raglan is a place for visitors to explore. You can spend time in Raglan’s town centre enjoying the cafes and unique shops on Bow Street, or take a stroll in the hills. You can also relax on the beach and soak up the atmosphere along with some vitamin D.

      Whether you’re here for the surf, local art and scene or simply to enjoy the scenery, Raglan beaches will surely captivate your and leave a lasting impression.

        picnic, reading, guy

        Raglan is located about a 2 hour drive from Auckland. It has a population of 1,600 people. If you need transportation to get there I recommend checking out Snap rentals as they offer a range of vehicles with eco friendly options, this will come in handy to check out everything that Raglan has on offer, too!

          When is the best time to visit Raglan?

          This little town comes alive during the summer months in New Zealand.

          If you’re into surfing, the summer season is when the conditions are generally calmer and water temperatures are at their warmest. But, there’s always some surfing-is-life keen beans out there in winter, so feel free!

          If your ideal holiday leans more towards enjoy the beautiful beaches and, and outdoor activities that Raglan has to offer, I would highly recommend visiting during the summer months.

          The temperature hovers, between 22-30 degrees Celsius making it ideal for enjoying a swim in the ocean or, alfresco dinner and drinks.


          If you prefer visiting off-peak when the majority of people have returned to work, consider visiting during the transitional seasons of spring or autumn when the weather is pleasant, the colours are wonderful and the town is less bustling.

          What is Raglan called in Māori?

          In Māori Raglan goes by the name “Whaingaroa.” This name comes from combining the Māori words “Whainga” and “roa,” which mean “the pursuit” and “long” respectively.

          The very best things to do in Raglan!

          If you’re seeking a town with plenty of things to discover, Raglan is an ideal destination! First up – the surfing mecca.

            aerial photo of surfer

            Surfing lessons

            Raglan is renowned for its surf so why not take a plunge and learn how to catch those waves? Whether you’re new to surfing and eager to get started, or an experienced rider aiming to refine your surfing skills further, Raglan has got you covered. There are surf schools like the Raglan Surfing School that offer lessons catering to all levels of expertise.

            Apart, from the workout and exhilaration that come with surfing, getting in the ocean can be incredibly soothing and provide a sense of tranquility and overall wellbeing.

              Raglan Surfing Guide

              Where to Catch Waves in Raglan

              The prime spot for surfing in Raglan is Manu Bay, for its left hand point break. Manu Bay offers a range of waves for surfers of all skill levels, including beginner beach breaks and more challenging reef breaks. Other popular spots include Whale Bay and Indicators both offering consistent waves, for surfers.

                Curling wave at Raglan NZ


                Best Time to Hit the Waves in Raglan

                The optimal time to surf in Raglan is during the summer months when conditions are generally calm and the water temperature is warmest. However, there are also perfect waves to be found during the winter months – just make sure your wetsuit is a thick!

                Who to Surf with in Raglan

                If you’re new to surfing or don’t have anyone who can guide you, it’s recommended to join one of the surf schools for a surf lesson, in a group setting or for private lessons. This way you can make the most of your experience at surf beaches while ensuring your safety.

                Be prepared

                To fully enjoy your surfing adventure, in Raglan it’s crucial to have the correct equipment. A high quality wetsuit will keep you warm and prevent exhaustion, while a crafted board will enhance your wave catching abilities and accelerate your skill development.

                For safety purposes, it’s recommended to invest in gear like fins and leashes. Alternatively, if you’re just starting out, you can consider renting all the equipment along with your surf lesson.

                surfer, beach, man

                Be safe

                Before venturing from into the water take some time to familiarise yourself with rules and etiquette. Additionally be aware of any hazards such as currents or reefs that may exist in the area.

                Your safety should always be your priority while surfing regardless of your skill level or location. Remember to check weather forecasts before venturing into water, wear safety gear like leashes, practice good ocean etiquette, never surf alone and inform someone about your surfing plans including where you’ll be, when you’ll be there, how long you’ll stay, who you’re with and what gear you have.

                surfer, sea, waves

                Have fun!

                Above all else keep in mind that surfing is enjoyable! Take breaks as needed during sessions, appreciate watching others ride the waves if you feel tired and challenge yourself within limits. Remember that progress takes time!

                Charter a boat

                For a different perspective on the beauty of Raglan consider embarking on a boat charter, with Raglan Boat Charters. Whether you’re a sailor or new, to the world of exploration, Raglan Boat Charters provides a range of vessels for rent allowing you to discover breathtaking coastal landscapes at your own pace.

                For those who love fishing, set out on a fishing charter led by skippers who know the fishing spots for snapper, kahawai and kingfish. Alternatively, indulge in a sightseeing tour as you soak up the sunset with your drink in hand, or engage in leisurely water activities like kayaking or paddle boarding.

                With some luck you may even catch glimpses of wildlife such as dolphins, seals and various seabirds. This immersive experience offers entertainment and excitement for people of all ages who want to appreciate the beauty of Raglan.

                Go Canyoning

                Go on an exhilarating adventure in Raglans wilderness, at Raglan Rock Karioi Canyoning. This captivating experience takes you through a rainforest nestled on Mount Karioi’s slopes. After somthing a little different? Try their Sunset Canyoning tour and glow worm experience.

                As you navigate the canyons terrain prepare to scramble over rocks take leaps into pools and descend cascading waterfalls using abseiling techniques.

                This unforgettable escapade not tests your endurance but also provides an incredible opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form.

                Kayak around Pancake Rocks

                Set off on a kayaking experience around the mesmerising Pancake Rocks in Raglan if you seek a combination of breathtaking scenery and physical activity.

                These unique rock formations, shaped by centuries of wind and wave erosion majestically emerge from the ocean providing a backdrop as you paddle through crystal waters.

                Keep your eyes peeled for marine creatures like seals and dolphins that are frequently spotted in this area. Regardless of whether you’re new, to kayaking or an experienced paddler adding this activity to your New Zealand trip-list is a must!

                So grab your life jacket and paddle. Let’s explore this natural wonder from a completely fresh view-point.

                Mosey on through Raglans Town Centre

                Immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of Raglans town centre to truly experience its charm. Explore main street for a variety of boutique shops where you can discover crafted jewellery or even organic health products.

                Make sure you don’t miss out on visiting these excellent local craft men and women in Raglan;

                1. Raglan Coconut Yoghurt; This local business is famous, for its creamy yoghurt, which’s dairy free.
                2. Jet Collective; If you’re into art, fashion and homeware this trendy concept store is a must visit.
                3. Tony Sly Pottery; Check out this pottery shop where you can find handcrafted ceramics that are also available for purchase.
                4. Rivet Vintage Shop and Gallery; Discover souvenirs at this vintage shop and gallery in Raglan.
                5. Toi Hauāuru Studio; Immerse yourself in the world of artists at this art gallery and studio.

                Explore nature on the Te Toto Gorge lookout walk

                Te Toto Gorge Lookout Walk; Take a 30 minute stroll along the short trail of Te Toto Gorge track. Be rewarded with breathtaking views of Raglan Harbour from the lookout point.

                You’ll be surrounded by native bush, wildflowers and beautiful birdlife along the way. The carpark is south of Raglan along Wainui Road. After Whale Bay the road is called Whaanga Road.

                koru, fern, plant


                Bridal Veil Falls / Waireinga

                This charming waterfall standing tall at 55 meters and yet still gracefully pours into a pool, living up to its name.

                Take a stroll through the native forest to reach the summit. From there you’ll be welcomed by a view before descending down the steps to reach the base of the falls.

                The gentle mist, sounds of nature and the tranquil sight of the waterfall create an environment that refreshes both mind and spirit. This remarkable sight is one worth capturing in your memories. 

                bridal veil fall, new zealand, waterfall


                Pack a picnic for Wainui Reserve Bush Park

                Wainui Reserve Bush Park offers a serene setting surrounded by lush native New Zealand bush. Relax under the shade of trees. Savour a picnic while enjoying the symphony of bird songs.

                For families there’s also a playground for children to explore making it an ideal spot for outings with loved ones.

                There is also a 3km loop track which takes around 1 hour to complete. Take your time to unwind revitalise yourself and immerse in the ambiance that Wainui Reserve has to offer.

                camping, picnic, lunch

                Embark on an adventure along Raglans Pipiwharauroa Trail

                Enjoy an adventure along Raglans Pipiwharauroa Trail either by foot or, on two wheels. Discover the beauty of this place.

                This delightful 17km pathway, named after the cuckoo bird offers breathtaking vistas of Whaingaroa Harbour and the wider Waikato region.

                Perfect for both walking and cycling this trail winds through farmland providing glimpses of wildlife and a variety of native plants, along the way. The path is relatively easy to traverse, suitable for individuals with all levels of fitness.

                Upon reaching the trails end you’ll discover a viewing platform that presents an inspiring panorama of the area – a well deserved reward for your efforts. The Pipiwharauroa Trail offers an opportunity to see Raglans beauty while unplugging for the day and re-energising both your body and mind.

                Raglan Arts Weekend!

                Don’t forget to plan your visit during Raglan Arts Weekend! It’s an event that brings together artists and art enthusiasts alike. It serves as an excellent opportunity to celebrate of the towns art scene, rich culture and creative spirit.

                During this time you’ll have the chance to explore art installations, live performances and even participate in interactive workshops. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to meet artists personally gain insights into their processes and perhaps acquire a piece of Raglan as a cherished keepsake.

                The Raglan Arts Weekend goes beyond art it reflects the friendly community and relaxed vibe that makes Raglan an exceptional destination.

                Climb a literal mountain – Reach the summit of Mount Karioi

                Sometimes life can feel like you’re climbing a mountain, but here you can actually climb one – and be well rewarded too. Take a hike to reach the summit of Mount Karioi, an ancient, dormant volcano that serves as a backdrop, to Raglans picturesque scenery.

                The trail leading to the summit offers both challenges and rewards guiding you through forests across babbling streams and towards breathtaking lookout points where you can enjoy panoramic views of the Tasman Sea and the Waikato region. Throughout your ascent the sweet melodies of birdsong will accompany you creating a soundtrack for your journey.

                Once you reach the summit you can bathe in your sense of achievement, along with an appreciation for Raglans untouched splendor.

                new zealand, tasman lake, tasman sea

                A round of golf anyone?

                Take a break from your adventures. Enjoy a relaxing game, at the Raglan Golf Club. Situated amidst breathtaking scenery this golf course offers a combination of enjoyment and challenge for players of all skill levels.

                As you indulge in your leisure activity you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of lush green fairways shimmering blue waters and the distant silhouette of Mount Karioi. The golf club is well known for its friendly atmosphere well as its excellent amenities making it an ideal place to unwind and socialize.

                Whether you’re a golfer or trying your hand at the sport for the time playing a round at the Raglan Golf Club will undoubtedly be an unforgettable addition to your time in Raglan.

                golf, golf ball, golfers

                Kawhia Hot Water Beach – Natures hot tub

                Don’t miss out on visiting Kawhia Hot Water Beach, just over an hours drive away from Raglan.

                This hidden gem is renowned for allowing visitors to dig their own natural hot pools in the sand during low tide.

                As you relax in these soothing waters take in the views of the untouched coastline and experience the gentle ebb and flow of the Tasman Sea. The peacefulness of this beach combined with the properties of its waters provides an ideal environment, for rejuvenation and thoughtful contemplation.

                The experience of visiting Kawhia Hot Water Beach highlights the beauty of the Raglan area providing a peaceful retreat and an unforgettable opportunity to witness New Zealands unique geothermal wonders.

                Calming Horseback Riding

                Discover the landscapes of Raglan while horseback riding with Surf and Turf horse riding treks. Suitable for riders of all levels these treks offer a thrilling and invigorating way to explore Raglans stunning scenery.

                As you traverse trails you’ll be blown-away by the vistas of lush green hills of the coastal and farm rides, or opt for beach ride at sunset.

                Experienced guides will ensure your safety and enjoyment throughout the journey while also teaching you horsemanship skills. Whether you seek an adventure or a serene escape embarking on a horse trek with Surf and Turf is another enriching experience that Raglan has to offer.

                Experience the Vibrant Atmosphere at Raglan Creative Market

                Immerse yourself in the spirit of the community by visiting Raglan Creative Market. Taking place on every Sunday of the month this market serves as a platform, for local artists, artisans, crafters and growers to showcase their creative talents and high quality products.

                As you wander through the stalls adorned with displays you’ll discover an array of local and handcrafted goods, organic produce, unique artworks and delicious culinary treats.

                Visiting the Raglan Creative Market provides an opportunity to connect with the community show support, for local businesses and truly appreciate the unique and inspiring creativity that defines Raglan.

                Raglan Harbour Sunset Cruise

                After spending a day riding the waves of Raglan why not unwind and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of a sunset over Raglan Harbour?

                Step aboard a tranquil sunset cruise around the harbour, glide across the waters and watch the sky transform into a masterpiece adorned with shades of orange, pink and purple—an absolute visual delight.

                Watch the sunset at Manu Bay

                If cruising isn’t your thing Manu Bay presents itself as a spot to witness an awe inspiring sunset in Raglan. Take a stroll, along its shoreline while listening to waves crashing against rocks. Feel your worries dissolve away as you absorb the breathtaking panorama of skies, vivid hues painting across crystal waters—a truly captivating sight.

                As the day transitions, into night let this relaxing setting and serene view help you find peace and experience a moment of tranquility.

                Where to Dine in Raglan

                Raglan offers a selection of pleasures to satisfy every taste bud.

                No matter where you decide to have your meal the dishes in Raglan are meticulously crafted using sourced ingredients showcasing a commitment to sustainability and reverence for nature.

                Where to stay in Raglan?

                Raglan boasts an array of accommodation options that cater to types of travellers. Whether you seek the comfort and convenience of a hotel the warmth of a bed and breakfast or the adventurous spirit of camping there’s a place, for you. Here are some recommended accommodation options, in Raglan;


                • Solscape Eco Retreat; For those looking to immerse themselves in nature the Solscape Eco Retreat offers accommodations such as recycled railway cabooses and tepees. It’s a choice for travelers who value eco consciousness.

                • Holiday homes; Experience the kiwi lifestyle by staying in holiday homes. Whether you prefer cabins or luxurious homes you can truly live like a local.

                • Holiday Park; Embrace the community atmosphere of Raglans holiday park. Choose from cabins powered sites for campers or bring your tent.

                Time to get planning!

                Raglan is more than a place to visit; it’s an experience filled with adventure, creativity and breathtaking natural beauty. From horseback rides through the landscapes to exploring the vibrant artistic community at Raglan Creative Market there is something for every visitor to enjoy.

                The friendly locals and lively atmosphere only add to the towns charm. The memories you make in Raglan will nourish your soul and continue to inspire you after your visit. Come and discover the warmth, vitality and spirit of Raglan – it’s an adventure waiting to be embraced.

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