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 unique West Coast gem and show you what put Raglan NZ on the map.
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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 NZ is that you could easily spend hours cafe hopping in town or explore the beaches and great outdoors. The best of both worlds are available as long as the suns out… So it’s easy to see why everyone loves Raglan!
→ 10 Easy & Helpful Tips For Traveling in New Zealand
8 Best Things to do in Raglan New Zealand
1. Shop Local
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.
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.
2. Jump 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 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.
3. Hit the Raglan New Zealand 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 planning on surfing.
Other must see Raglan beaches include Manu Bay, Whale Bay and Te Kopua Beach. Just beware of the rip tides as it’s not always safe for swimming.
→ 25 Beautiful New Zealand Beaches on the North & South Island
4. Surf in Raglan NZ
Aside from the fun town center, Raglan is known most for its big waves! Raglan has now gained international recognition for being one of the best places in the country to surf.
The best part of surfing here is they have waves for all skill levels! This makes taking a surf lesson one of the best things to do in Raglan. In fact, they run every day from the famous Ngarunui Beach!
5. Enjoy the Restaurants & Cafes
The Raglan restaurant scene was honestly one of our favorites in New Zealand! From spicy international food to local New Zealand treats, 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 most fun things to do in Raglan! Check out some of our favorite Raglan restaurants below, along with our food recommendations at each spot.
Where to Eat in Raglan New Zealand
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 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.
6. Walk the Raglan Boardwalk
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 scenic views of the Raglan bridge with Mount Karioi in the distance.
This is also a fantastic spot 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.
7. 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 which is pictured below. If you don’t feel like venturing too far to the Raglan NZ beaches it’s nice to simply stroll the boardwalk, too.
8. Hike in Raglan New Zealand
Last but not least, there are several amazing hikes around Raglan NZ. 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 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.
Our favorite outdoor adventure near Raglan is Bridal Veil Falls. It’s a 20 minute drive from town to see this unbelievable waterfall, but the jungle vibes almost feels like you’re on another planet!
→ Bridal Veil Falls: Visiting One of the Best Waterfalls in New Zealand
Have any questions about this article or want to share your own favorite things to do in Raglan NZ? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte & Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where To Stay In Raglan New Zealand
Ultra Luxury – Blackwood Cabin – If you want ocean view near Raglan then this is the spot for you! Enjoy extra space in a comfortable Cabin.
Fun Vacation – 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 – 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.
For more places to stay near Raglan New Zealand you can explore the latest prices here!
New Zealand Travel Planning
Jucy Van: The best way to explore New Zealand is with a Jucy camper! We spent over six weeks driving around the North and South Islands in a van and loved every moment.
Rental Car: If you’re not renting a van you’ll need a car to see this country. We use Discover Cars when traveling and enjoy having the freedom to get around.
Flights: It’s easy to find cheap flight deals using Skyscanner and Kayak. That’s how we got flights from Auckland to Queenstown for $40 USD, and New Zealand to Fiji for less than $150!
Accommodation: Compare multiple sites to get the best deal such as Booking.com and Agoda. Also, Hostelworld should be your go-to if you’re traveling on a budget.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find activities all over New Zealand! They have everything from tickets to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to a Hobbiton movie set tour, and even a Northland hole in the rock dolphin cruise!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered. We’ve been using SafetyWing for insurance the last few years and they are always there when we need them.
Packing Lists: Find all the inspiration you need with our Amazon packing lists. Including our electronics and camera gear, must-have medical items, and long flight essentials!
North Island New Zealand
Travel Tips & Guides: North Island Itinerary – South Island Itinerary – Wellington to Picton Ferry – 15 Freedom Camping Tips – 27 Delicious Food & Drinks
Auckland & Northland: Piha Beach & Kitekite Falls – Cape Reinga Lighthouse – Russell – Mangonui – Mount Eden – Devonport Day Trip – Waiheke Island Guide – 9 Best Waiheke Wineries
Lake Taupo: 17 Fun Things to Do – Mount Tauhara Hike – Best Street Art – Taranaki Falls – Huka Falls Walk – 14 Tongariro Crossing Tips
New Plymouth: 10 Fun Things to Do – Dawson Falls – Te Rewa Rewa Bridge – Paritutu Rock Hike – Egmont National Park
Wellington: 10 Fun Things to Do – Mount Victoria Hike – Best Breweries – Cable Car & Botanical Gardens
Bay of Plenty: Tairua – Hot Water Beach – Cathedral Cove Walk – 8 Maunganui Things Not to Miss – Mount Maunganui Hike – East Cape Road Trip – How to Find Tua Tua Clams
Rotorua: Kerosene Creek – Redwoods Treewalk
→ Explore all our South Island New Zealand Travel Tips & Guides
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