The pace is slower in Raglan. The incredible food, views, and surf breaks will have you tempted to hurl your phone into the ocean and never leave the seaside sanctuary. Just a few hours in Raglan will have you lingering over your morning cuppa, forgetting all about the concept of time.
Located 48km west of Hamilton and two hours from Auckland, you'll feel light years away from the hubbub of the city. Embrace the relaxed way of life and enjoy a weekend in the laid back town.
Friday night: Dinner and drinks in the heart of it all
There's no airport in Raglan, so you'll need to reach this seaside destination by car. When you arrive, drop your car at your accommodation and wander into the centre. There, you'll find twinkling fairy light-lit bars, live music, and nightlife spilling on to the streets. Enjoy the heart of the action at Isobar, where local and quality ingredients are showcased on the menu. Your most difficult decision tonight is whether you want wine, beer, or a cocktail — Isobar specialises in all three.
Saturday: Surf and a stroll
With a big day ahead of you, breakfast is important. Start the morning at The Shack on Bow St. Dietary restrictions aren't a worry here — or really anywhere in Raglan — so have no fear and pull up a chair. You'll want something to fill you up, which again, isn't an issue, so pore over sweet and savoury options, all using healthy, local ingredients.
It wouldn't be a trip to Raglan without a dip in the water — and what better way than to surf? Rent a board yourself and head to Ngarunui Beach, or Manu for the experienced. Surf lessons are available from a few operators, including Raglan Surf School and Green Wave, so don't be intimidated if you've never been out before – they'll show you how.
For a slower-paced adventure, rent a paddleboard or kayak and head out to Raglan's own Pancake Rocks. These ancient limestone formations can be explored through guided tours, giving you plenty of time to work up an appetite for lunch.
Refuel from your morning's adventures at Rock-it Kitchen with more vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free friendly options. The deck outside offers prime views of the hills and bush beyond, so order a bottle of wine and soak in the sun while you relive the day's activities.
Once you've relaxed, head back into town for some shopping. The town's centre is dotted with home decor, clothing, and surf stores, with a few op shops mixed in for good measure. Continue past town and head to the wharf, stopping at Rivet Vintage on the way for unique homeware. Once at the wharf, don't pass Tony Sly Pottery — you'll find plenty of gifts for those back home. Down at the wharf, spot Raglan Fish for fish and chips as local and fresh as they come. Go ahead — spoil your dinner with a little snack.
Finally, wander back into town to George's Beach Club, on the corner of Bow and Wallis. With brightly coloured umbrellas, astroturf, and a few swings-as-seats, you'll want to settle in for a session. Lucky for you, this Beach Club is owned by the makers of Good George beers, and their taps reflect some of the brewery's favourite drops. Try a flight or go straight to a few pints, pairing with a delicious pizza.
Sunday: Soak in the scene
Start your morning with a quick stop at Raglan Roast, a local favourite, for coffee. Their Volcom St "hole in the wall" location is only running as a takeaway spot for now, but that just gives you more time to get to Bridal Veil Falls. A quick 20-minute drive from town drops you at the start of this easy 20-minute walk to the impressive 55m waterfall. You'll start your morning feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Next, drop back into town for a proper afternoon, Raglan style. Head to the Herbal Dispensary to stock up on picnic provisions, finding everything you need for an epic platter. Ngarunui Beach is the perfect place to while away a few hours listening to the waves and soaking in the sun.
When it's time to head back home, make a pit stop at ULO's Kitchen for a takeaway dinner. Focusing on fresh, local ingredients with Japanese flavours, ULO's dishes up exactly what you need for the road trip home.
A relaxing weekend in Raglan provides a quick-fix remedy for those needing a beach holiday. The slower pace may not carry into your normal life, but the opportunity to take in a few deep breaths while watching the waves crash ashore is one we should all take more often.
Check traffic light settings, vaccine requirements and Ministry of Health advice before travel. covid19.govt.nz
For more things to see and do in the area, go to raglan.net.nz and waikatonz.com