Raglan may well be my favourite place in New Zealand. And I realise in a land filled with glaciers, mountains, tropical islands, vineyards, and geothermal pools that’s a big statement, so let me quantify it. It’s not the most breathtaking scenery you’ll find (although it is beautiful). It doesn’t have the most brunch spots (although few it does have are excellent). It’s not full of white knuckle sky-dives and bungee jumps (although there’s plenty to do here).
So why do I keep on going back to Raglan?
Getting outdoors (mainly surfing!)
Now, I’m not a surfer. I only really started to learn last year. But Raglan is the best place in New Zealand to learn to surf. Every time I’ve been down there have been great waves for beginners all the way up to hardcore experts just rolling in across the ocean.
Plus, there are plenty of surf schools who can help you out, and often do surf camps where food and accommodation are part of the package. My personal favourites are the guys over at Green Wave. They’re a new company for this year, but are super friendly, super enthusiastic, and every time I’ve surfed with them they’ve got every person up and surfing in to the shore.
On top of that, you’ve got the option to go stand-up paddle-boarding or kayaking down near the town, or hiking up at the Bridal Falls.
It’s what makes New Zealand great – getting outdoors, throwing yourself in, and knackering yourself out. If nothing else, a few hours spent trying to catch the wave earns you a decent slice of cake later in the day.
As you’d expect from the country’s leading surf town, the vibe is definitely chilled here. There’s art galleries, brunch spots, and a decent night-life for a town of this size.
My two personal favourite spots for coffee and food are the Raglan Social Club (the spicy bean bowl is the bomb!), or The Shack a little further down the road. The Shack tends to be busier, but if you don’t mind queuing a little bit for buttermilk waffles, you’re in for a treat.
The YOT Club is the place to go at night. Admittedly I was last there for Auckland Weekend, so there was probably a bit more going on. But rocking up and finding you’re at a reggae-trance-house night is always a recipe for a good time!
What’s not to love?
Two hour drive south of Auckland. Consistent waves. Great people. I’ll be spending my last weekend here with a great bunch of mates before heading back to the UK. Going to miss having this spot right on my doorstep.