Due to the recent heavy rainfall, a number of roads and walking/cycling tracks in the Waikato are closed. If you are travelling to or through the Waikato region, please visit Waka Kotahi’s Journey Planner website for up-to-date roading information and check the local Council’s Facebook page for the latest updates and advice.



With its black sand, fine surfing, tranquil harbour and laidback vibe, Raglan is a unique and relatively unknown slice of Kiwi heaven.

Don't Miss:  

  1. SurfingKayaking,
  2. Gourmet delights
  3. Harbour cruise
  4. Fish & chips
  5. Bridal Veil Falls walk
  6. Walk up Mt Karioi & Te Toto Gorge
  7. Cycle trails
  8. Canyoning & rock climbing
  9. Sunset & beach
  10. Arts & crafts

Destination Raglan

Located on the rugged western coastline of the Waikato, Raglan is known for its beautiful scenery and the laid-back vibe that is thanks, in part, to the residents who are mostly into sustainable lifestyles, many of them creative painters, potters, poets and the like.

Wahine Moe sunset cruise, Raglan, Waikato, NZ

Surfers around the world know and love Raglan, especially Manu Bay (also known as The Point), immediately to the south of the town and featured in the 1966 cult surfing movie Endless Summer. The left-hand break here is legendary and said to be the longest in the world.

Raglan’s population swells 300-400 percent in the summer months as visitors flock to the area, attracted by the ambience and the beaches, resplendent with their sparkling black iron ore-rich sand and tumbling waves. Many come to swim and beach-comb, others to surf cast for fish, and just about everyone to catch the kaleidoscopic drama of the sun setting out over the ocean.

The deep harbour is also a magnet with its marine animals, birdlife and intriguing pancake rock formations that can be explored in several ways – either by kayak, on a standup paddle board or aboard the purpose-built catamaran, the Wahine Moe, which offers sunset and nature cruises, complete with fish and chips if you’d like.

Things to do in Raglan - Te Toto Gorge Walk

On land walking and biking trails ribbon the area and come with panoramic views over the ocean, native forest, and farmland.

Top walks include the short trail to see the Bridal Veil Falls that plunge 55 metres, the more challenging full-day hike to the top of Mount Karioi and the Te Toto Gorge which provides insights into traditional Māori gardens with remnants of garden plots, stonewalls and karaka groves dating back as far as the 1700s.

Mountain bikers will find there are trails graded from easy to advanced, such as the Mount Karioi Loop, a half-day 45km challenge. The Te Ara Kākāriki Trail, threading through Wainui Reserve, includes sections that are family friendly, while the 18km Pipiwharauroa Trail takes you up close to the towering 137m high turbines of the Te Uku Wind Farm.

For thrill-seekers there is the experience of canyoning – climbing cascading waterfalls and then abseiling back down – and rock climbing, both the remit of Raglan Rock, the local adventure company that caters for hard-core enthusiasts as well as beginners, including family and school groups.

In town there is plenty to delight foodies and the simply hungry, from the delightful mix of cafés and bars, many tempting with locally grown produce and artisan products like preserves, pickles, local cheeses, and sourdough bread, to weekly markets offering much that is gourmet, fresh and organic.

There are upscale shops to browse too, many devoted to the beach and surfing scene, and galleries showcasing the creative works of the artists and literary residents of the area.

And don’t forget to head down to Raglan Wharf where renowned local potter Tony Sly has his studio and shop, alongside Soul Shoes, where father and daughter work side by side handcrafting a range of leather goods.

Amongst others based on the wharf is Raglan Fish where the fish and chips are legend, Rick Youmans’ art and design studio, and the WahineMoe with its sunset and nature cruises.

A must-visit is the Raglan & District Museum where exhibits tell many colourful stories about the area and its past, including the tangata whenua history and missionary era and the importance of surfing to Raglan, both cultural and economic.

If you are planning on heading to Raglan to ride the famous surf break, it is important to familiarise yourself with Raglan's Safe Surfing guidelines.

How far to:

  • Hamilton: 45 kms 41 mins
  • Waitomo: 103kms 1 hour 20 mins
  • Auckland: 150kms 2 hours

Related Links

www.raglan.net.nz www.openwaikato.co.nz