Why come to Raglan? Because it’s a genuinely beautiful end of the road destination. Raglan has a warm heart and a colourful personality. And, there’s so much to do here!
We love Raglan that’s why we’ve made it home. We’ve both lived in a number of different places around the world and Raglan beats them all. There are very few places with that just-right mix of activities, music, art, food and culture.
Thanks to the large Maori population in Raglan there is a strong bicultural identity within our community, which is such an important part of this town. Add to this, the many other ethnicities that make up Raglan’s community, from those who have decided to make Raglan their home to the consistent flow of domestic and international visitors. This diversity of people makes for such a buzzing, creative little town.
Raglan has long been famous as one of the best surf spots in the world with its left-hand breaks at Manu Bay, Whale Bay, and Indicators. Many international visitors initially having been drawn by the surf have since discovered that there’s so much more to Raglan than just surf. It’s increasingly becoming an absolutely ‘must’ place to visit by both other kiwis and international tourists alike. Raglan won the best small town in NZ title in 2018, and is now consistently in the top 10 most popular holiday towns on Bookabach. With so much to do in Raglan, we can understand why. There really is something for everyone in Raglan. If you’re planning your stay then here’s a few of our favourites, feel free to add yours if they don’t feature, in the comments below:
Places to see:
- Te Toto Gorge, park in the car park and take a short walk to the viewing platform that juts out the edge of the cliff, 100 meters above the sea below, it will deliver you a heart fluttering view.
- Bridal Veil Falls – turn left on Te Mata Rd just before you get to Raglan. It’s a short walk to the falls and the track to the top of the falls is suitable for buggies and wheelchairs. The view of the 55m waterfall is just mind-blowing and you can walk down several flights of steps to the bottom of the falls to feel the spray on your face and get the full glory.
Places to eat:
Raglan is becoming well known as a real foodie heaven with its fantastic range of cafes and restaurants. Here are some of our favourites:
- Solscape – The Conscious Kitchen, our favourite fully plant-based option, the meals are delicious and the view spectacular. BYO wine.
- The Shack, always consistently good food, coffee, and service, open during the day for breakfast and lunch.
- Wallis Bistro (next to the Herbal Dispensary) is The Shack’s sister restaurant and is open in the evenings for drinks and dinner. With a beautiful interior and delicious food you won’t be sorry you chose it. Book if you want to be sure of a table.
- Rock-it is a must visit, even if it’s just for a coffee, although it’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on most days and the food is really good. Rock-it is based in an old barn and has a huge deck and lawn perfect for the kids to play. It’s also dog-friendly.
- Orca is based right in town and has consistent, great quality meals.
- Isobar, these guys have the best options for people watching by far, right in town with lots of space and a really diverse menu. Or just grab a coffee and watch the world go by.
- Raglan Roast, The Food Department, based on the corner opposite the Shack and in the old dairy on the other side of the one-way bridge in Raglan West. They offer fantastic coffee and proper Italian pizza. Their homemade gelato is second to none.
- Left Hand Break restaurant situated inside the Raglan Club on Bow Street, offers authentic Italian. Absolutely delicious!
- Jo’s Takeaways at the Kopua Domain does great fish and chips and has lots of choices for vegetarians too, try their Broccoli bites and corn fritters.
- Raglan Fish at the Wharf has fresh fish you can cook in your bach/accommodation, and it also offers fish and chips. Eat them on the Wharf and watch the fishing enthusiasts try to catch a few of their own.
- Raglan Roast, get yours down Volcom Lane, or at The Food Department in Raglan West, or at Te Uku Roast based at the old Post Office at Te Uku.
- Indies, on the corner opposite the library, delicious organic coffee and great chat. Cash only.
- Atamira is an absolute must if you’re keen on fashion, jewelry, books and other curios. It’s a gorgeously decorated shop and has lots of clothing options for both men and women. Lots of designer brands like Kate Sylvester, Tiger Lily, etc.
- Scintilla is a Raglan based clothing designer creating unique clothing for women since 2004.
- Trade Aid has a fantastic range of homewares, jewelry, toys, and fair trade coffee and chocolate, ask them about the stories behind their products too.
- Soul Shoes, gorgeous, handmade leather shoes, bags belts and other accessories, if you’re sick of wearing those plastic jandals and want something that is made to last years not months, then pick up a pair of Soul Shoes leather jandals.
- Jet Collective, a collective of 5 different artists selling their paintings, jewelry, clothing and ceramics and so much more. Jet Collective, along with Kanuka (below are our favourite places to buy gifts for family and friends.
- Kanuka down Volcom Lane is a feast for the eyes with its huge collection of wonderful decorations for your home.
- Raglan Surf Emporium stocks super cool surf brands, Volcom, Rusty, RVC and more.
- Raglan Surf Co, for Hughes surfboards plus Rip Curl and Lee Jeans.
- Local Potter Tony Sly creates and sells his beautiful wares down at the wharf, a great gift for anyone who loves to cook or host or to yourself!
- If you are in town the second Sunday of the month you have to check out the Creative Market at the Old School on Stewart Street, bursting with local produce and arts and crafts. Look out for some of our our menu stars there too!
- Whether you are in the market for a unique piece of Raglan or just window shopping Matapihi Art Gallery on Bow Street is a must. Over 40 local Artists are represented a handful of which run the show. You’ll find everything from jewellery to sculptures on show and available to buy.
- Main beach, Ngaruanui, take a right off Wainui Rd about 4 km out of town, great for beginner surfers, and if you want to swim safely between the flags.
- Ocean beach/ kite beach, down Kereopa Drive, great for walking the dogs and when the tide is low there’s usually some awesome little pools for the little ones
- Manu Bay is great at the boat ramp at low tide for a quick swim.
- Te Kopua Domain; a place for the whole family, swimming, skateboarding, BMX tracks, there’s also BBQs, playgrounds and if you’re brave enough you’ve got to jump off the bridge at high tide.
Healing and Massage:
- Visit the Herbal Dispensary for a huge range of natural remedies, organic foods, and freshly made juices. While you’re there, grab some super healthy and yummy Acai from the little Raglan Cruisers caravan out the front. They are on Wallis Street, right next door to The Local Eatery.
- Phi Massage is nestled into the native bush of Whale Bay. Listen to merging streams, birds and the ocean as Linda allows you to completely unwind whilst she works her magic.
- Homeopath Janis Beet operates out of her home-based practiced perched up on Upper Wainui Rd, she’s a favourite with local mums, in particular, looking for alternative treatments for their little ones.
- Health coach Irma Schutte practises both from her Raglan home and online. Her approach with clients touches on many aspects of well-being. She brings consciousness back to food and fun back to spirit. Visit www.irmaschutte.com for more info.
- For a lomi lomi or hot stones massage, Hawaiian style then book in with Robbyn at Nikau Sanctuary, her massage yurt is set in the native bush up above Raglan off Mangatawhiri Road, simply bliss.
- Raglan Acupuncture, Olly Brunton treats all ages and conditions using various techniques from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Treatments include the use of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal medicine, Tuina Medical massage and Qi Gong exercises. Visit Olly’s website for more info.
- Ngarima Maratia specialises in ancient massage techniques native to N.Z. Aotearoa & Cook Islands. Her studio is incorporated into the Matapihi Art Gallery right in town on Bow Street.
Active fun for the kids (big or small):
- We LOVE Raglan Rock, Gareth has over a decade of climbing experience and is passionate about what he does, which is not just rock climbing, he offers caving and archery too. He is certified and very safe and it’s not just for the kids either. Take the whole family or a group of your mates, guaranteed fun and adventure in Raglan’s beautiful surrounds. Visit the Raglan Rock website.
- Skateboarding at the skatepark over the footbridge or via the road to the Te Kopua Domain (right next to the campsite), our kid’s favourite hang-out!
- There is also a BMX Track right next to the skate park.
- Surfing lessons are really popular and there are a few options, they all take place at Nagaruanui beach (the main beach) but will need to be booked directly with Raglan Surfing School, Surf Safe Coaching Raglan, Solscape Surf School or SUP Surf Coaching, the latter is a great option if you are looking to improve your technique and make progress one-on-one.
- Kitesurfing, Raglan is fantastic for kitesurfing, the fact that one of the best kite brands in the world, Ozone Kites, has based themselves in Raglan speaks volumes. You can buy all the gear in town at Raglan Kitesurfing down Electric Avenue and ask their advice on best place to get lessons.
- Raglan Golf, the golf course at Raglan has stunning views of the estuary and is a great course, there’s also Mini Putt for the kids!
- Raglan Kayak and Paddleboarding, go on an adventure to the Limestone Coast, these guys have been in business for 13 years so you’ll be with super experienced guides, visit their Raglan Eco website.
- If you need a bit of yoga there are a number of options some of which can be found at Solscape, Raglan Yoga Loft and The Space Raglan. The latter have timetables available and something for everyone.
Get in amongst nature, for us there’s just nothing better than a walk or run in the bush. All that extra oxygen is so energising. Here are some of our favourite tracks.
- Bryant Track, you can enter Bryant Track from the top, next to the Bible Camp on Wainui Road, or from the bottom, go left toward the end of the beach from the surf club and keep a close eye out for the beginning of the many steps that will take you to the top. You can cross the road and continue your walk through the bush, and you’ll pop out on Upper Wainui Road. We like to run the loop from Bryant Track, across the road through the bush to Upper Wainui Road and then back along the main road to Ngaruanui beach.
- Karioi Backpackers Loop Track; an old favourite, great to get your heart pumping, this is a 4km loop, 5000 steps to the top, 5000 steps to the bottom. If your feeling brave, run down, it’s really fun.
- Mount Karioi Track; it’s about a 3-hour trek to the top leaving from Te Toto Gorge or 1.5 hours from the Te Mata side at the Swan Farm entrance. If you want to experience the full glory of Mt Karioi, sign up for the 25km Karioi Trail Run run annually every December. Get training it’s steep!
- Wainui Reserve Track; a great little walk to do with the kids. Park in the Wainui Bush Park Reserve carpark on Wainui Road. You can walk to the beach from here. It’s also a great place to picnic. Or you can picnic at the top on the grass overlooking the ocean.
- Raglan Karioi Trail, takes place in December each year and is a tough mountain run with options for 24km individual or relay team, 10km run or walk and 2km Mini Karioi for the kids. It’s the epitome of what Raglan has to offer, bringing the community feel to this grass roots adventure run.
- Karioi Classic Bike Race, this annual event is a famous bike race on mainly gravel roads around Mt Karioi. Participants have the option of 43km, 57km, and the new 85km Enduro option.
- Horse riding
Places to just be:
If you just want to chill out and enjoy the views, being surrounded by water and native bush the options are endless so we’ve picked a few faves:
- Wahine Moe; cruise the harbour and catch a sunset
- Solscape – great view with a large lawn up high above the surf, grab a coffee and hang out
- Head up to the top of Wainui Bush Park (mentioned below and accessible by car) just turn towards the main beach access road, take a right at the round-about and follow it to the end
- Wave watching, there are many spots, cruise the coast and find a grassy patch, stay there for sunset and experience Raglan at it’s most beautiful!
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