Surfing in Raglan || Ultimate Surf Trip Guide 

Raglan is New Zealand’s most famous surf break, a tiny surf town home to three world-class left points. The coast faces directly into the Tasman Sea, meaning there is a near-endless supply of swell and the coastline here is raw, rugged and untouched. I’ve spent a year of my life in this town, so here are a few things to know about surfing in Raglan.  

Overview 

Table of Contents

Best Time of Year 

The best time of year to surf in Raglan is autumn. (March-May). This is when the first long-period swells of the winter roll in and are met with good winds. However, Raglan often gets its best days in the depth of winter (June, July & August). But be warned, it gets cold and stormy during these months. 

Surfing in Raglan

Raglan Surf Spots 

Manu Bay 

Manu Bay is the jewel in the crown of surfing in Raglan. Of all the Raglan points, it is the most perfect and rippable. On any given day, Manu offers peeling left walls for turns, whereas on the best days, it produces slabbing hollow tubes. Because of this, Manu is always crowded with rippers on the best days and mal riders and loggers on the mellower ones. 

Whale Bay

Whale Bay, is the next Raglan point around from Manu. It’s a shorter, but equally fun left, and while it doesn’t break in the same luscious way as Manu, it can often have fewer people surfing. 

Indicators 

Indicators is the furthest out of the Raglan point breaks and therefore the most consistent. While it might not have the same perfect bend as Manu Bay, Indicators is a sick wave and can throw up barrels and powerful walls for turns. Always crowded, but the line-up is large enough to get your space and find waves under the pack. 

Ngarunui 

Ngurunui is the beach break in Raglan. If it’s too small for the points, head to the beach. The waves here can change depending on the banks, so if there are no banks, it tends to close out. But if the sand aligns, the beachie can throw up anything from hollow tubes to a-frame peaks. 

Manu Raglan

Water Temperature 

In summer, you’ll need a 3/2mm, but you’ll get away with a short arm on the warmest days. In winter, things get chilly and you’ll need a good 4/3mm, boots and a hood if you feel the cold. 

Getting There 

Raglan is a 2-hour drive from Auckland. Take Highway 1 to Hamilton, then Route 23 across to Raglan. 

Getting Around

Getting around in Raglan requires a car. The surf breaks in Raglan are all located around 20 20-minute drive from the town itself. So you’ll need a set of wheels to go between town and the waves. I’d recommend hiring a car from the airport in Auckland, then driving to Raglan. Check out Discover Cars.  

Where to Stay? 

If you are surfing in Raglan on a budget, hit the campsite. They don’t have a website, but it’s essentially just a field with some toilets and showers in it. It’s located halfway between the points and Raglan town and costs $10NZD per night for a space. Either pitch your tent or sleep in the car. 

Tips for Surfing in Raglan 

Crowds 

As New Zealand’s most famous surf destination, it’s always crowded in Raglan. On good days, all the points will have 20-40 people in the line-up, so don’t head to Raglan and expect to be surfing alone. 

Consistency

There is an almost endless supply of swell in Raglan. So you can expect to find waves on any given day, especially during autumn and winter. Even in summer, there aren’t many days where it gets too small to surf. 

Wind 

While Raglan might be super consistent, the wind can often make the waves tricer to surf than they first appear. And this happens when it’s offshore. Onshores, the new offshore right? Often when you’re checking the waves, you’ll see a beautiful line up with lines ribbed to the horizon, groomed by a stiff offshore. But what you don’t see from the shore is that this creates chops coming up the wave faces. 

Manu (Raglan Surf Spot)

Non-surfing Activities 

Raglan Surf Trip - Cost Breakdown

Total = $470nzd 

Final Words 

Raglan is one of those mystical and highly sought-after places–one of the best surf destinations on earth. Expect long lefts, weather, crowds and stunning natural beauty. Raglan holds a certain place in my heart, having spent a large chunk of my adult life in the place, so for more information on surfing in Raglan, please comment below, or check out our complete guide to surfing in New Zealand. 

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