rAgLaN, NeW zEaLaNd

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Raglan is on the West Coast of New Zealand’s North Island about 45 minutes west of Hamilton, a town notorious to travelers because of raucous fist-fights.  Go have a few drinks in Hamilton and you might just have to test your fighting skills against a tough Māori.  It’s all in good sport though, they mean no harm, I’m sure it’s just small-town fun.

Raglan is about a two-hour drive south of Auckland.  This wave heaven is a worshiped surfing destination well known to the international surf community.  There are three world-class point breaks in Raglan and further along the coastline there are breaks at Whale Bay and Indicators. Here is one of the points that you can surf, but no surfers in the water as tide was low with very little swell.  Surfers enter the water, above the break, from the rocks.

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It was wintertime during my visit to Raglan this July so water temperature was chilling 58 degrees fahrenheit. When the swell hits and it fires off in Raglan: beware.  If you aren’t confident in big waves then try surfing at Ngaranui Beach for less advanced waves.  Manu Bay was feautred in Bruce Brown’s 1964 classic surf film The Endless Summer and is said to offer the longest left hand rides in the world.

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I was told that surfers paddle across this bay to get to a different break.

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Raglan is also home to natural waterfalls, Bridal Veil and Wairenga Falls.  Many travelers come here to surf and camp, but there is a small town that offers excellent food and accommodation.  I had the soup of the day at this restaurant which turned out to be amazing, a curried sweet potato soup with coconut milk that was to die for. I forget the name, but it is the restaurant on the main street corner with big windows and excellent salads.  I had a very short visit to Raglan because I had to keep on the move so I did not catch any swell.  I shall return!

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