A Local's Guide To Raglan

The coastal town of Raglan is located on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island. It’s a mere 2-hour drive from the city of Auckland and 30 minutes away from Hamilton. It’s a vibrant surf town with a whole lot of charm, well worth putting on your New Zealand travel itinerary. Raglan’s locals are truly living the dream in and around the water all day, every day. And although you can find a touch of luxury in Raglan, exploring this town doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are the best things to do in the area when you’re on a budget.

The best way to travel to Raglan?

There’s no better way to travel around New Zealand than hitting the open road. Consider travelling with all your home comforts on board and hire a campervan for your trip to Raglan. You’ll be able to hire a Mighty camper from our Auckland branch, and then it’s just a short 2-hour drive. Mighty campers come with a flexible cancellation policy, so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you won’t be out of pocket if your plans change.

Hiring a camper is a great budget-friendly way to explore new places. You’ll be able to keep costs down by saving money on accommodation and utilising the kitchen in your camper instead of eating out every night. Enjoy the laid back lifestyle and explore the scenic coastal town of Raglan.

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The top 12 things to do in Raglan on a budget

1. Enjoy a coffee at Raglan Roast

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It’s no secret that New Zealand is home to great coffee. But, when you’re travelling around small towns, you don’t always expect a great cuppa. Luckily, Raglan Roast hails from this scenic seaside town, so you’re in for a real treat. You’ll soon see why this roastery is making waves in New Zealand’s coffee scene - it’s delicious!

Find yourself a cup at Volcom Lane in the town centre, the Food Department in Raglan West (try the gelato and pizza too) and Rock-It Cafe near the beach. If you love it just as much as everyone else, stock up on some Raglan Roast coffee beans, and you’ll be able to enjoy a great quality cuppa from the comfort of your camper for the rest of your trip.

2. Take in the view on the Mount Karioi Track

Take advantage of the beauty that surrounds Raglan and embark on Mount Karioi Track. It’s deemed the best hike in Raglan, and for a good reason! You can choose from two tracks, one to the lookout and the other up the summit.

The lookout track is approximately 2.5 hours (one way), starting from the car park. The summit is approximately 3 hours, one way. Head up the trail of your choice and soak up the spectacular panoramic views. On a clear day, you might even be able to see Mount Taranaki standing tall in the distance. This is the perfect spot to enjoy the peace and quiet.

3. Have a beach day at Ngarunui Beach

On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing better than spending time by the sea. Spend the day unwinding at Ngarunui Beach. The town of Raglan is surrounded by water, but this is the primary swimming spot in town. It’s the only sandy beach, so take advantage of this scenic spot and have a beach day. Take a dip in the mild waters, then dry off in the late afternoon sun and enjoy the sound of the crashing waves around you.

4. Do some window shopping on Bow Street

The vibrant Bow Street is the main shopping street in Raglan’s Town Centre. It’s brimming with quirky boutique shops—the perfect area to spend a few hours window shopping. Whether you’re looking for surf gear, thrift shop finds or handmade ceramics; you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.

5. Visit the Bridal Veil Falls

Take the short walk up to the spectacular Bridal Veil Falls. This 55-metre high waterfall is a must-see when visiting Raglan. This is a great family excursion as it’s an easy 10-minute walk from the Pakoka River car park. You’ll be able to easily park your camper, then head up to the lookout point. You’ll walk through the lush native forest and get a magnificent view of the falls. Be sure to have your camera at the ready!

6. Listen to live music

In the summer months, live music is not too hard to find! You can dance the night away at the Harbour View Hotel, Orca Bar and the Bow Street Depot. They all have regular gigs to get the night going. After a night of live music, head over to the Yot Club (Yotty), where the partying kicks up a gear.

7. Explore the Harbour

Take a stroll down to Raglan’s harbour. Spend an hour or so soaking up the epic scenery. The native bush comes right down to the water’s edge. Wonder at the limestone formations and caves. The harbour is bustling with children playing together so it's the perfect spot to come with your kids. Later, head down to the wharf for a good old Kiwi classic, fish n chips.

8. Catch the surf at Whale Bay

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Beat the summer sea-breeze that often comes up by mid-morning. Drive along Wainui Road and wind your way through the trees to Manu Bay - it's one of the longest waves in New Zealand, and the amazing thing is there are two similar waves just around the corner - Whale Bay and Indicators. If you've never surfed before or want to improve your surfing while you're there, UP Surf Coaching offers surf lessons in Raglan for all levels.

9. Hire kayaks or paddleboards

If you’re feeling adventurous, head down to the harbour and hire some kayaks or paddleboards. Take in the views of Raglan’s coastline from the water. There are a few different routes you can take your kayaks on, depending on the day's weather conditions. Whatever direction you go, you’re in for a real treat. Marvel at the bush-clad hills that roll down to the sparkling waters and paddle down Raglan’s epic limestone coast. Raglan Kayak & Paddleboard has great deals for rentals, lessons, and even group deals.

10. Take a Yoga class

If you enjoy keeping fit while on holiday or just want to have an hour by yourself, we’ve got just the thing for you. Raglan is home to a few highly rated Yoga studios. Spend an hour or so recharging and enjoy a class at The Space Raglan. This yoga studio offers a range of classes for all different experience levels. Give the studio a call to book your space; the price for a class is approximately $18. This is a wonderful way to stretch it out before or after jumping back in the campervan.

11. Enjoy some cheap eats

Raglan is filled with delicious eateries, and luckily there are some great options for everyone. You’ll find little gems all throughout the town centre, but there are a few must-dos you should sample. Ali’s Turkish Kebabs is somewhat of an institution in Raglan. Known for their fresh kebabs, this is the perfect lunchtime snack, and it’s just $10. Pirates Club Pizza also comes very highly rated. Give the $11.99 value pizza a try. You definitely won’t go hungry!

12. Check out the local craft beer scene

There’s nothing better than cracking open a cold beer on a warm summer’s day. There are a few great craft beer options in Raglan. Head over to George’s Beach Club and discover their extensive craft beer menu. You can’t visit Raglan without getting a taste of the local drop at Workshop Brewing NZ. If you’d rather enjoy a few beers in a scenic spot, head over to the Four Square supermarket and buy a few cold ones. Then park your camper at your chosen spot and watch the sunset.

Ready for your trip to Raglan?

So, there you have it, the 12 best things to do in Raglan when you're on a budget. There are endless opportunities in this vibrant coastal town. No matter what kind of holiday you want to have, you’re sure to have a blast. Ready for your trip to Raglan? Book your Mighty camper today.