Things to Do in Raglan
For any traveller looking for a true surf town experience, then Raglan is your town! The Waikato town seems to have a different sort of pace but one that’s easy to embrace. Locals are super welcoming and backpacker hostels are social hubs for travellers with a bit of waterlust. But what are the must-dos in Raglan?
Testing your skills at surfing, whether you actually have skills to test or just flail in the water, is an absolute must in this world-renowned surf location. Big waves can be found at Manu Bay or head to Ngarunui Beach for practice. There are many other ways to enjoy the water, from paddle-boarding to kayaking to some unusual rock formations.
Raglan isn’t just about the ocean though. Head inland to see the awe-inspiring Bridal Veil Falls, or hike up the mountain that you just can’t miss, Mt Karioi. Whatever you decide to do, you’re sure to be kept entertained in Raglan!
Do we even need to mention this one? The main reason why Raglan has been put on the map is because of its epic surf. If you are a beginner, there’s plenty of opportunities to get a surf lesson in Raglan. Surf lesson operators will usually pick you up in town too. Otherwise, pro surfers will find good breaks on Ngarunui Beach, Manu Bay, Whale Bay and further down Whaanga Road on Ruapuke Beach. Pick up some rental gear in your hostel or from the surf hire companies in town. Find out more in The Best Surf Regions in New Zealand.
Location: Ngarunui Beach, Manu Bay, Whale Bay and Ruapuke Beach.
2. Kayak or SUP to Pancake Rocks!
Looking for something to do straight from Raglan town? Take a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) out to the Pancake Rocks of Raglan! These layers of limestone rocks compressed together over millions of years create a cool little spot to kayak to at mid to high tide to get into more of the caves or go at low tide to see more of the rock formations. There are multiple kayak and SUP hire companies in the town that will point you in the right direction!
Location: From Raglan Backpackers on Wi Neera Street, kayak for 15 minutes across the channel to get to the start of the pancake rocks.
3. Hike Mt Karioi
The most popular day hike in the area, the Mt Karioi summit track is a 5-hour return hike through stunning native bush. Listen out for the native birds and get some epic views along the coastline.
Location: The track starts at Te Toto Gorge, 13km (8 miles) from Raglan. Alternatively, take the Wairake Track (2-3 hours one way), which starts from Karioi Road, off Ruapuke Road.
4. Check Out the Town Events
Whether it’s quiz nights, gigs, surf competitions, or having a good old drink at the yacht club, there’s always something happening in Raglan. What’s more, the Raglan community really want you to know about it, so check notice boards on the streets, in your hostel on Facebook and you’re bound to find something!
Location: Around town and in the hostels.
5. Relax with Some Yoga
Yoga is a big thing in Raglan. There are several classes going on around town, and a dedicated class at the Raglan Backpackers for only NZ$8 a session. Join your fellow backpackers for a night of stretching your body, mind and soul.
6. See Bridal Veil Falls
A short drive out of Raglan is the majestic Bridal Veil Falls. Walk in the lush native bush for 10 minutes until you reach a viewing platform inches away from the 55m (180ft) waterfall! Once you soak in the views, make your way down the 261 steps to various viewing platforms. Then prepare yourself for the climb all the way back up again! See more waterfalls in 12 Most Wonderful Waterfalls in New Zealand.
Location: Follow State Highway 23 south of Raglan. Turn into Te Mata Road then follow for about 9km (5.5 miles) then turn left into Kawhai Road. From there you’ll head straight to the car park.
7. Go on a Caving Adventure
Experience Raglan’s rough side with some caving or rock climbing. On the mighty Mt Karioi, climb your way up layered limestone formations of Skycastle while taking in some awesome views along the way! If you prefer to be underground, take one of the pot holiday adventures down to stalactite-filled caves. You’ll also see the world-famous New Zealand glowworms.
Location: Mt Karioi. Pick up from Raglan!
8. Have a Walk in the Wainui Bush Reserve
At Ngarunui Beach and all your mates have gone off surfing? Take a hike in the bush just behind the beach! There is a hiking track that extends throughout the whole beach. You can access it from the car park at the end of the Riria Kereopa Memorial Drive. There is a grassy track to a gate then follow the arrows from there.
Location: Ngarunui Beach
9. Play Golf
What’s a chilled seaside town without a golf course? Have a round in the 18-hole course. You can either hire clubs (or get some free clubs from your hostel). There are great views to be had while putting those hole!
Location: Te Hutewai Road
10. Go Fishing
Try your luck in the Raglan Harbour, or head out on the road to Ruapuke Beach to increase your catching chances. There are no restrictions in the area, so buy some bait, rent a fishing rod (or borrow one from your hostel) and cast your line!
Check out Fishing in New Zealand for more information.