It started happening as soon as I began telling people I was having a weekend in Raglan with 3 friends;
Are you going to go surfing?
Omigod you have to go surfing!
Raglan’s amazing for surfing!
Me? Surfing? Really?
I thought back to the surf lessons I’d had in Australia; the ones where I’d spent the majority of the time bawling my eyes out, bleeding everywhere and generally flailing about in the water.
Did I fancy doing that all over again?
Not so much.
To be honest, all I really wanted to do was have a relaxing weekend away from Auckland. I wanted to lay on the beach and read a book instead of being glued to my laptop. I wanted to forget what time it was.
I wanted to be in a town where life would move at a slower pace.
In Raglan, I got all of those things.
Ok, maybe we’ll back up a little here because to be honest the weekend didn’t get off to the best start.
Firstly we got a little lost on the drive down from Auckland. I don’t know what happened.
One minute we were congratulating ourselves for noticing the turning we needed at the last minute and the next we were parked awkwardly outside the only house for miles and attempting to do a 28,000 point turn in a country road to go back the way we came.
Secondly, when we arrived at the hostel in the dark, we found that we’d been given the key to the converted train carriage that two of us would be sleeping in but instructions on which teepee was ours (and where it actually was) were nowhere to be seen.
Honestly for a moment I had visions of all four of us having to sleep in one double bed.
Cut to: a young girl with dreadlocks and a vacant expression, wearing a man’s t-shirt and fiddling about on a computer for half an hour while she tries to figure out exactly which teepee two of us would be sleeping in.
Yeah take your time love, no rush.
Eventually the teepee was found and we celebrated with some wine. Well, any excuse really….
Raglan really is an amazing place to go surfing. If you’re going to surf in New Zealand, Raglan is the place to do it.
There’s four main surf breaks (Indicators, Manu Bay, Whale Bay and Vortex Bay) and if you need a bit of guidance you won’t be hard pushed to find a surf school in the area.
Not surfing in Raglan though? There’s definitely other stuff you can do…
Relax on Ngarunui beach
Ngarunui (ocean) beach is about 5km from Raglan’s town centre and sits at the bottom of some huge cliffs which are the perfect spot to take in some amazing views.
Down on the beach the waves are huge, the sand is black and with the beautiful weather we were blessed with it was the perfect place to spend a Saturday afternoon reading, sunbathing and swimming. Even if I did have to hang onto my bikini bottoms in the sea because the waves were so strong…
If you like unique clothes, scarves and jewelry know this: Raglan is full of little, independent stores where you’ll find something you can wear without bumping into a bazillion other people in the same thing.
Have dinner whilst watching the sun set
In Raglan’s town centre we grabbed some take-away fish and chips and walked to the bottom of Bow St to enjoy them on the grass overlooking the water where the Tasman Sea and Wainui River meet.
There’s something kind of amazing about eating your dinner while the sun sets before your eyes and WOW this sunset was amazing.
Check out the nightlife
So if you’re coming to Raglan to go clubbing you’ve definitely come to the wrong place.
Live music and small, friendly pubs though?
Like I said, there’s not a huge choice but you can’t go wrong with a couple of drinks while you watch a local band at Vinnie’s or Raglan Harbour View Hotel.
FYI: the latter does amazing ice-cream sundaes………
Take in the views
Raglan is just one photo-opportunity after another, especially when you explore the cliffs and beaches beyond the town centre.
Ocean beach, Manu Bay and Whale Bay are all fantastic places to walk or, y’know, just make like a lazy person (read: me) and admire the views.
Spend the day on a private beach
Beach parking $5
That’s what the sign tied to the gate in the field read.
We all shrugged and agreed that we’d check it out and if it wasn’t great we’d drive back down to the beach we’d been at the previous day.
Best. Decision. Ever.
There’s two reasons why this beach was awesome.
1. It had the prettiest long-drop toilet I’ve ever used
2. It was basically secluded.
I don’t know what the beach was called; the walk down the cliff to it backed onto someone’s private house. Was it a private beach that only a few people knew about? I don’t know.
What I did know: this beach had calm water perfect for swimming in without losing your bikini in the waves (always a bonus) and it was quiet. So, so quiet.
With the Wainui river snaking through it, Raglan’s a great place to kayak. That’s not to say I actually went kayaking (remember that whole relaxing/being lazy thing I wanted to do….) but I do know that you can hire a kayak to use on your own or you can buy a guided tour with a group.
Either way, seeing Raglan from the water has to be a beautiful sight.
Visit Bridal Veil Falls
Just outside of town and easily accessible by car on the main road into Raglan or by walking through native bush along the Pakoka River is Bridal Veil Falls.
This 55 metre waterfall can be viewed from 3 different vantage points, each with stunning views, and even though it’s not technically in Raglan it’s definitely a must-see if you’re in the area.
Go out for breakfast
Breakfast is the most amazing meal of the day. Don’t believe me? Read this. Seriously, going out for lunch….meh. Going out for dinner…..meh. Going out for breakfast?
YES! Omigod, let’s do that right now.
Going out for breakfast with my friends is one of my favourite things to do and Raglan has a couple of cool places worth checking out: The Shack and Blacksand Cafe. Both of them do a full breakfast for about $18NZD which will set you up for all that……surfing……you won’t be doing….