Raglan has recently become a favorite for travelers from all walks of life to New Zealand. The small, but eclectic Raglan town center will draw you in with its funky cafes and lively restaurants. Yet, the main draw to Raglan is the beautiful beaches, waterfall hike, and world famous surf. Whatever you’re into, there’s so many fun things to do in Raglan New Zealand! Join us as we take you through this amazing West Coast gem, and show you what put Raglan on the map.
WHY DOES EVERYONE LOVE RAGLAN?
From our first steps in town we could easily tell what separates Raglan New Zealand from the rest of the country. The hippy surfer vibes mix perfectly with the upscale shops and vibrant restaurants. Bright green palm trees stand in contrast to the light blue water, and shimmering bay that draws you in.
What we loved most about Raglan is that you could easily spend hours cafe hopping in town, or explore the beaches and great outdoors of New Zealand. The best of both worlds are available as long as the suns out, so it’s easy to see why everyone loves Raglan!
BEST THINGS TO DO IN RAGLAN NEW ZEALAND
Raglan has a great mix of shops and restaurants to enjoy in town. While the main street is small, you’ll notice immediately that it has something for everyone. Raglan New Zealand also does an amazing job at staying local to the region. You can find everything from handmade clothes to jade jewelry, and even a delicious ice cream gelateria.
ENJOYING LOCAL FOOD AND DRINKS FROM RAGLAN
No trip into town would be complete without stopping at the Raglan Artisan Bread for some fresh sourdough bread and slice of pizza. Afterwards, hit Raglan Roast for some of the best coffee in New Zealand.
For your dairy fix try Dreamview Milk which you can get refills on for half price at 4 Square grocery. If you love to cook, visit SWOP which offers a zero waste shopping alternative. Also, stock up on some of the best vegan coconut yogurt we’ve ever had from Raglan Food Co!
The town of Raglan New Zealand recycles everything. Make sure to use the recycling bins, or ask your accommodation how to properly dispose of your trash.
JUMPING OFF THE RAGLAN BRIDGE
Sounds crazy right? We actually started everyday in Raglan with a walk over the famous bridge. What we didn’t expect when we first arrived was that people would be hurling themselves off it into the water below!
This fun tradition can be seen all day long as kids and adults alike take the plunge into the bay. Te Kopua Beach is close by, and there’s picnic tables and space to spread out in the sand.
HIT THE RAGLAN BEACHES
As we mentioned above, the bay side near town is a calm area to float or swim around. However, the black sand beach of Ngarunui is the true star of the show!
The picturesque cliffs that tower over the ocean are worth the 20 minute drive, even if you’re not taking on the Raglan New Zealand surf. Other must see Raglan beaches include Manu Bay, Whale Bay and Te Kopua Beach. Just beware of the rip tides as these are not always safe for swimming!
TEARING UP THE RAGLAN NEW ZEALAND SURF
Aside from the special town center, Raglan is known most for its big waves! The Raglan New Zealand surf has now gained international recognition for being one of the best places in the country for the popular ocean sport.
The best part of surfing at the Raglan beaches is they have waves for all skill levels! This obviously depends on the condition, but lessons are running all day at the famous Ngarunui Beach.
SAMPLE THE RAGLAN RESTAURANTS AND CAFES
The Raglan restaurant scene was honestly one of our favorites in New Zealand! From spicy international food to local New Zealand treats and eats, there’s really something for every type of foodie. We loved the funky decor of the cafes, and the upscale but homey feel of the bars and Raglan restaurants.
There’s even pop up smoothie shops, fresh veggie stands, and bakeries around town. This makes going out to eat one of the best things to do in Raglan! Check out some of our favorite Raglan restaurants below, along with our food recommendations at each spot.
BEST RAGLAN RESTAURANTS & BARS
- Ulos Kitchen: The best international restaurant in town! The Dan Dan Noodles were unreal and we also loved the salmon box.
George’s Beach Club: Fun corner spot to grab a jug of beer and pizza. The ceviche and roti tacos are delicious.
- Raglan Fish: Amazing seafood spot on the bay for fish n’ chips, fresh seafood, chowder, and oysters.
- Isobar: Upscale Raglan restaurant serving hot meals from breakfast to dinner. Great place for a glass of wine and tapas.
- Veranda Bar: Set in the old Raglan Harbour View Hotel, this bar is the perfect spot to sit outside with a view of the main street.
- Workshop Brewery: Not in the mood to go out for drinks? Swing by Workshop Brewery for a six pack to bring to the beach with you.
WALK THE BOARDWALK BY THE BAY
When you cut down to the water from the town center you’ll find a small planked walkway that runs along the bay. While the stretch isn’t long, it has some of the best views of the Raglan bridge with Mount Karioi in the distance. This is also one of the best places to watch the sunset in Raglan which we talk more below.
Just above the boardwalk near town you can rent kayaks to explore by sea! Stop by the colorful row of kayaks at the end of the main street for more info.
CATCH THE RAGLAN SUNSET
Watching the sunset is one of the best things to do in Raglan, and there are several places we recommend to see it! Our personal favorite is from the hill overlooking Ngarunui Beach just a 10 minute drive from town.
We also loved to walk over the Raglan bridge and stroll along Te Kopua Beach (pictured below). If you don’t feel like venturing too far to the Raglan beaches it’s nice to simply stroll the boardwalk, too!
HIKING AROUND RAGLAN NEW ZEALAND
Last but not least, there are several amazing hikes around Raglan! The most popular is the 5 mile Mount Karioi Track which takes you to some insane views of the surrounding nature. Be prepared to get on all fours for, and use the chains to scale the large rocks.
The Ngarunui Track inside the Bryant Memorial Scenic Reserve and the Te Toto Gorge Lookout are also great trails to check out. Although it’s not even long enough to be considered a hike, our favorite outdoor adventure near Raglan is Bridal Veil Falls!
It’s just a 20 minute drive from town to see this unbelievable waterfall, but it feels like you’re on another planet! For more on this stunning feat of nature see our article below.
- Bridal Veil Falls: A Waterfall Adventure From Raglan New Zealand
Have any questions on the Raglan beaches, or want to share your own favorite things to do in Raglan New Zealand? Leave us a comment below!
WHERE TO STAY IN RAGLAN NEW ZEALAND
Ultra Luxury (High End) – Ocean View Raglan Bed & Breakfast– If you want ocean vibes near the Raglan beaches then this is the spot for you! Enjoy large and comfortable beds with fresh breakfast served daily near town.
Fun Vacation (Mid Range) – Bow Street Studios – The Apartments – Bow Street Studios is located right in the center of Raglan close to all the action. Take your choice of motel style room, or studios with kitchen appliances.
Hostel Life (Budget) – Raglan Backpackers – The perfect hostel to start your adventures in Raglan from! Features a hot tub, sauna, and it will be easy to find mates to take on the Raglan New Zealand surf with.