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3 Best Free Things To Do in Raglan New Zealand

Raglan New Zealand is home to so many incredible things to do. Surfing here is as good as any in the world, including a great opportunity to learn how to surf at Ngarunui Beach. Do you need to know where to eat in Raglan? There are tons of awesome cafes and restaurants right in the middle of Raglan town! And of course, you can’t mention Raglan without talking about Bridal Veil Falls, also known as Waireinga, the most beautiful waterfall in New Zealand’s North Island! Let’s talk about the 3 best free things to do in Raglan New Zealand.

Raglan Town

The town of Raglan is one of the main reasons to make the trip to this beautiful surfing town. Main street is lined with awesome shops, artsy shops, craft stores, and enough cafes and restaurants to fill up each meal time during your time in this city.

We recommend taking life as it comes to you in Raglan. When you get hungry, take a stroll down the town and read a few menus, and go for whatever sounds best to you! We personally thought the ISOBAR had absolutely delicious coffee and food selections, in addition to a laid-back vibe that fit the city very well.

Once your tummy is full, then walk down the street a bit further and peruse some of the art galleries or crafty shops and kill a few hours. The creativity level in this place is fantastic, and you’ll no doubt fall in love with an item or two that you’ll have to have as a souvenir.

You’ll also notice in Raglan there are a TON of surf-related shops. Surfing is HUGE here, it is basically life itself. You cannot go to Raglan without experiencing some of the surf life, whether it is by surfing or just watch other people surf.

Ngarunui Beach

Ngarunui Beach is located just outside Raglan, and is one of the most famous surfing beaches near the town. The first thing you’ll notice while visiting Ngarunui Beach is the awesome lookout you get on your way from the parking lot to the beach. There is a fantastic view from which you can get a bird’s eye view of the surfing going on below.

Once you reach the beach, you can view the surfing up close and personal. Ngarunui Beach is shaped such that waves crest perfectly off shore, and give a great opportunity for any rookies to learn how to surf. Many people learn here every day, as the conditions are great for beginners.

Does someone in your group want to try surfing? Maybe everyone else in the group wants a beach day? Perfect! Head to Ngarunui Beach. The adventurer can try surfing while everyone else puts their feet up and enjoys the beach and the view. When the surfer inevitably wipes out, everyone can laugh. However once they figure it out it will be they who gets the last laugh!

Other Raglan Surfing Beaches

If you are a bit more advanced on the surfing front, or just want to watch some expert surfing, then Raglan has a few options for you as well. Ruapuke, Whale Bay, and the world-famous Manu Bay all make for absolutely epic surfing destinations. Manu Bay has one of the longest breaks in the world, and surfers come from across the world to experience this beautiful place.

Surfing at Manu Bay
Surfing at Whale Bay

The coast outside Raglan is absolutely full of beaches for surfers of all skill levels. You can’t go to Raglan and not experience some surfing. It just wouldn’t be right! Once you get your surfing fix, then it is time to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in New Zealand: Bridal Veil Falls.


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Bridal Veil Falls

Located south of Raglan about 30 minutes is the absolutely STUNNING Bridal Veil Falls, also known by the Maori name Waireinga. Bridal Veil Falls is technically a hike, however it really isn’t much of one. To get to the top of the falls is just a 10 minute walk through the woods, and with 15 more minutes you can make it to the base of the falls.

What makes Bridal Veil Falls so incredible? First off, the height. At 55 meters tall, with 3 incredible lookouts. From the top, bottom, and halfway up, you’ll get a unique view of the stunning waterfall as it makes its way from the skies above to the pools below.

Another reason Bridal Veil Falls is so wonderful is the cliff face over which the falls roars. The cliff has a unique structure that seems to have been painted by the brush of an artist. This cliff face makes for the perfect framing of the beauty that is Bridal Veil Falls.

Bridal Veil Falls is a beautiful site that is just another reason you’ll have to make time to visit Raglan. Take in some surfing, enjoy the vibe in the town of Raglan, and make a stop at one of the prettiest waterfalls in the world. Sounds like a pretty great few days if you ask us!

Free Camping Raglan

As with all the destinations we went in New Zealand, we camped for free here in Raglan, and you can too! If you have a self-contained campervan, you can take part in the free Freedom Camping here in Raglan and all over the country!

We use the Wikicamps App to find free campsites, and wrote a blog all about how to search for and buy a campervan in New Zealand. If you are interested in the New Zealand van life, click here for that blog post!

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