Raglan was named after ’Lord Raglan’ after it was used as a base during the Land Wars. The town’s known history goes back as far as 1000 years when the Tainui waka of the local Maori people first landed here during the Great Migration. Legend has it that they saw Mt Karioi in the distance and after what seemed an age finally got there. They named this area Whaingaroa meaning ’the long pursuit’. These days the thing that really sets Raglan apart is its relaxed atmosphere and huge reputation for surfing. It is one of the few great surf towns, which has maintained its style.
Population: Around 3000 people
Vibe: Relaxed hippy/surfy vibe with organic food and great coffee.
Known for: Surfing! The left hand surf break (which you can see from the lodge we stay in) is reputed to be one of the best in the world and was featured in the classic surf film ’The Endless Summer’.
Must Do: Learn to Surf - this is a world-famous surf beach after all - the surf school here is excellent and they guarantee that you will stand up!
Things to See and Do
Learn to Surf
Raglan Surfing School offers great beginner 3 hour surfing lessons. You'll learn the techniques on dry land first before you take to the waves. Surfboards, wetsuits and awesome instructors are provided.
Soak up the sun on a black sand beach
Raglan is surrounded by beautiful black sand beaches which range from family friendly bays to some of the best surf beaches in the world. The black sand attracts the sun and keeps the sand warm all day. Don't forget your jandals though - it can get pretty hot on your feet!
Hike Mt Karioi
Mount Karioi is an ancient volcano with spectacular views! On a fine day you can see as far south as Mt Taranaki, the Herangi Range and Pureora. This walk is for the advanced hikers out there as the track is steep and the hike to the summit takes about 3 hours one-way.
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls are located just out of Raglan. The Stray bus will stop here on our way to Raglan so you can see these spectacular falls.
Watch a West Coast sunset
Take the Raglan sunset cruise around Raglan Harbour or grab a few cold ones and head to Inspiration Point just down the road from where we stay at Karioi Lodge to watch the sun setting over the ocean.
Soak up the Raglan Vibe
Check out the cool shops, cafes, art galleries and the lively music scene in the town.
Eating and Drinking
Raglan has a great café culture. As a relaxed beach town, you’ll find ice cream and milkshake shops, even artisan bread bakeries.
On your way down to the waterfront, grab a coffee from The Shack.
The Wharf Kitchen & Bar is located right on the waterfront and serves fresh, seasonal dishes.
Bow St Depot is a trendy eatery in the middle of town offering tapas and a selection of beer and wine. Or, if live music is your scene, catch a gig at YOT club.
Get to Raglan on the Stray Bus!
Raglan Surfing School offers great beginner 3 hour surfing lessons in a world-class surfin...
Cruise the harbour on the Wahine Moe cruise boat, checking out the ancient limestone rock ...
Hike Mount Karioi, an ancient volcano with spectacular views! On a fine day you can see as...
Bridal Veil Falls is a stunning waterfall approximately 45mins drive from Raglan.
Raglan is surrounded by some of the best surf beaches in the world.