Small Town New Zealand: Raglan

We’re on a mission to show you our favourite small towns of New Zealand. This week we’re kicking back in the west coast town of Raglan, home to world-class surf, taxing uphill rides and smooth caffeine highs.

Raglan New ZealandPlay: Where to start? Surf, paddleboard, kayak, horseride, fish, walk, swim, rock climb…It’s officially impossible to be bored in Raglan.

Ride: If you relish a challenge, the 45 km slog around Mount Karioi will get your weekend off to a flying start. The route is predominantly gravel, with long, steep climbs offset by stunning coastal views. You might want to come back for the annual Karioi Classic race, which runs every July.

A little easier on the legs is the back route to Bridal Veil Falls, which takes you through rolling farmland. (Gravel roads again). Stop by the Raglan i-Site in the centre of town for maps and directions.

The road out to Manu Bay and Whale Bay is also popular with bikers but be aware it’s twisty and offers drivers limited visibility.

Java-hit: Raglan Roast, Volcom Lane and Te Uku Roast Office. Roasted daily.

Refuel: The Shack, Bow Street. Tasty breakfasts, lunches and dinner (check beforehand for evening opening hours as these can vary).

Tug at the purse strings: Heaps of great shops along the main street of town. Zinnia is a homeware store with an interesting mix of vintage, retro and new. Find recycled and new clothing at Frocking Gorgeous. Creative Market at the Old School Arts Centre every second Sunday of the month.

Admire: The Studeo Gallery on 21 Cross Street. Disguised as a 1950’s Studebaker car enthusiast’s backyard, this is where you’ll find the ingenious creations of local artist Chris Meek.

After-hours: Fish and chips at the wharf, followed by a sunset spin around the harbour on the Wahinemoe. Or head into town for sundowners on the Verandah Bar of the Harbourview Hotel. The Yot Club has bands most weekends. Pick up a copy of The Raglan Chronicle when you arrive in town for gig listings.

Sweet dreams: Find accommodation listings on There’s a campsite right in town for campervan travellers.

Getting there:
From Auckland: Take State Highway 1 south. At Ngaruawahia turn right at the BP gas station onto State Highway 39. At Whatawhata, turn right at the “T” intersection and follow State Highway 23 to Raglan. Approximately 2 hours depending on traffic.
From Hamilton: Take State Highway 23 to Raglan. Approximately 45 minutes depending on Hamilton traffic.

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