Raglan: Surf capital of NZ
Search Driven for vehicles for sale
The west coast of the top half of the North Island is puckered by great harbours — Hokianga, Kaipara, Manukau, Aotea, and Kawhia, to name a few. But the one named after British Crimean War commander Lord Raglan has found fame throughout the surfing world thanks to the many well-formed breaks on the beaches and headlands near its entrance.
Raglan is a relatively easy 42km drive from Hamilton, especially after refuelling at one of the two Mobil stations (Avalon Drive and Lake Road) on the city’s approaches to SH23. While the state highway transforms from the straighter roads of the Waikato flood-plain into twisty hilly traverses at times, the changing elevations provide great views along the way. There’s the near constant presence of lofty Mt Pirongia and the first appearance of the harbour from the top of Four Brothers Reserve, a panorama that includes Mt Karioi, the volcanic creator of the points and promontories that shape the way westerly swells hit the Raglan coast.
Manu Bay made Raglan world-famous when its long, left-peeling waves were featured in the ground-breaking, classic 1966 surf movie, Endless Summer.
Manu lies 8km to the west of the town. To get there you’ll pass Ngarunui (Ocean) Beach, with its smaller, beginner-friendly waves. Raglan’s surf school is here and Ngarunui is patrolled by lifeguards, the safest of the surf beaches for a family swim. For those seeking more thrilling rides, Whale Bay and Indicators deliver them with astonishing intensity and longevity when the westerly swell is held up by an easterly wind. Ruapuke, a beautiful horseshoe-shaped bay often frequented by rare Maui dolphins, offers rides that don’t include all the rock-dodging needed to successfully negotiate Whale Bay and Indicators, and often catches larger swells than the breaks closer to Raglan. Getting there involves a 24km drive along the tortuously winding but spectacular Whaanga Coast Road, once an iconic stage of the World Rally Championship.
As a drive along that coast road will remind travellers, there’s more to do in Raglan than just surfing or fishing. Bridal Veil Falls is 26km to the south of the town; the 55m falls often have an updraft that turns the plunging water into gliding mist before it reaches the bottom. Nearby, you can ride mountain bikes into the fringes of Pirongia Forest Park.
Meanwhile, Raglan town offers tasty food at its wealth of cafes and restaurants.
More miles, more adventure
In perfect conditions, an expert surfer can evidently take off on a wave at Indicators and ride it all the way through Whale Bay and on to Manu.
A continuous ride through this trio of peeling point breaks is something of a holy grail for seekers of the ultimate Kiwi surfing experience.
Of the three point breaks, Whale Bay has the softest takeoff, allowing the rider to get settled on the board before speeding up into a wild, exciting ride.
Mobil Synergy Fuels. Designed to give you more fuel economy, for more miles, more adventure.