Raglan Walking Trails
Raglan has some of the best coastal trails where the spectacular views out over the ocean waves, black sand beaches, native forest and farmland make the perfect excuse for hikers to take regular breathers along the way.
Amongst the trails are cliff-top walkways, tracks through native walks, and the spectacular Bridal Veil Falls.
For hikers who like a challenge there’s the summit of Mount Karioi, an ancient volcano that rises sharply from the sea standing guard over the entrance to Raglan Harbour and is rich in Māori legend.
The track to the top climbs from Te Toto Gorge on the mountain’s north-west side, passing the gorge’s formidable cliffs and the remnants of the centuries-old traditional Māori productive garden. The reward on high is the panoramic view.
An easy walk is the 10-minute path leading to the top of the Bridal Veil Falls, also known as the Wairēinga Falls. Two viewing platforms provide stunning vistas of the 55 metre high falls and ample photo opportunities of the plunging white water flanked by grey rock and green bush.
For visitors wanting to look up at the falls there is a step stairway leading down to a further platform.
Getting on your bike in Raglan also gives opportunity to take in the great scenery.
Mountain bikers will find trails graded from easy to advanced – for example the half-day 45km Mount Karioi Loop, where there is the annual Karioi Classic event that is literally breath-taking, with views out over the ocean and on a clear day all the way down the coast to Mount Taranaki.
Threading through the Wainui Reserve the Te Ara Kākāriki Trail has sections that are suitable for the kids while the added interest in biking the 18km Pīpīwharauroa Trail is Te Uku Wind Farm with its 137 metre high turbines.
Raglan is home to many creative artists with the Old School Arts Centre a focal point in town. This protected heritage building is a multi-purpose venue staging regularly changing exhibitions in its gallery with spaces for workshops, demonstrations, live music and movies.
The centre is also where the creative market is held on the second Sunday each month, as well as being the first stop for people in town for two key arts events staged annually – the Raglan Arts Weekend, held on Labour Weekend at the end of October, and the Raglan Arts Trail event when artists open their studios.
There is a pleasing off-beat vibe to the shopping experience in Raglan with local creativity and quality craftsmanship at the forefront.
Stores like Soul Shoes and the Tony Sly pottery studio, located alongside each other on Raglan Wharf, epitomise this. Soul Shoes supports sustainability by creating footwear, bags and accessories that last. Equally the beauty and simplicity of Tony Sly’s rustic and classic pottery is crafted to be timeless.
Visitors will find it is most satisfying to spend an afternoon browsing Raglan’s well-established galleries and design stores with treasures ranging from paintings, ceramics, glass, textiles, sculptures to wearable art like jewellery and garments.
Amongst the destination stores is Kanuka Design which opened its doors in 2003 and represents established and emerging artists.
Another to look out for is Made Gallery. Here the locally made includes coats and jackets in lollipop colours made from recycled woollen blankets.
Raglan Surf Company has been part of the culture and personality of the town since the early 1990s, its iconic logo seen on tee-shirts and hoodies the world over whether the wearer is a dedicated wave rider or simply a follower of beach fashion.
The Herbal Dispensary organic food store and clinic is another that’s well-established in Raglan offering natural health supplements and food, as well as naturopathic consultations.
Good food and Raglan go together like fish and chips, wine and cheese, sugar and spice – you get the picture.
Before and after a day of beach, hiking, biking and exploring art galleries and studios, there are eateries and bars ready to serve up deliciousness, much of it locally grown and locally produced.
The town caters for all tastes and a range of budgets with the world-famous in Raglan fish and chips being a favourite with many visitors. If this iconic meal is your fix, head down to Raglan Wharf to Raglan Fish where you can eat in or take out, perhaps sitting with your legs dangling over the wharf as you tuck in. Raglan fish also has fresh and smoked fish.
The Shack on the main street, open for breakfast and lunch, serves good honest local food – start the day with the nourishing combo of miso flavoured butternut and scrambled eggs, while lunch could be braised lamb shoulder with eggplant.
Also on the main street is ISO Raglan, again celebrating local growers with a menu that is packed with flavour and designed around fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Orca Eatery & Bar offers seafood, steaks and burgers with great waterfront views while neighbour La Land specialises in all that’s sweet – waffles, cakes, slices, chocolate and more. Here four-legged customers are offered free ‘puppucinos’.
ULO’s Kitchen is a funky eatery highlighting Japanese fusion flavours using local produce.
On the road running between Raglan town and the surf beaches is Rock-it Kitchen. This rustic eatery can also be reached by kayak or paddleboard thanks to a tidal stream that connects with the harbour. Local and organic are the passwords here with menus that change regularly to reflect what’s in season.
Raglan Gourmet Delights
If you love to sip and savour Raglan is quite the foodie destination.
As well as excellent eateries and bars, Raglan is home to a number of artisan food and beverage producers with products showcased by chefs and available direct from the makers or in food stores around town.
Raglan Roast coffee has a loyal following for its locally small batch roasted beans that are sourced from Fair Trade certified growers around the world.
Also ethically sourcing its beans – in this case cacao – is Raglan Chocolate, famed for its handmade chocolates and for using as little sugar as possible in its creations.
Plant-based proponent, Raglan Food Co., is best known and appreciated for its range of award winning coconut-based dairy-free yoghurts. The company also believes in doing good with a range of projects including protecting the environment and endangered species like the Maui dolphin, planting trees, sponsoring beach clean-ups and recycling, as well as raising funds an awareness for charities and promoting fair wages for all.
Located in the hills overlooking Raglan is Dreamview Creamery, a dairy farm that sells milk in glass bottles direct to customers. The A2 milk, which research reveals is more gut-friendly for people who have digestion difficulties, is available raw or pasturised.
Raglan Artisan Bread is another local foodie delight with a range of wholesome sourdough breads that are handmade and baked on the premises. From olive and herb, rye and caraway to spiced fruit and malt (using the malt by-product from local craft beer maker, Workshop Brewing) and organic gluten-free sourdoughs, there is something for everyone.
Speaking of craft beers, there are two micro-breweries in town.
Workshop, based in what was a mechanical workshop servicing trucks and local fishing boats, uses water from a spring that bubbles up from the volcanic depths of Mount Karioi, to the south of town. It’s most popular brew is Chop Hop, an American Pale Ale (APA).
Newcomer, Raglan Brewing Co’s first release, a Golden Ale, is popular and described as summer in a bottle, and the company has also recently released a Pacific Ale.
Another foodie opportunity to taste local is the weekly Friday evening Raglan Growers’ Market where local growers sell homegrown produce.