North Island's West Coast: Places to Explore

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Raglan

It's hard to think of a more laid-back, welcoming town than Raglan. On the drive out, tune in to radio station Raglan FM 98.1 to catch the local news and grooves. On sheltered Raglan Harbour, and in the lee of Mt. Karioi, the tiny town owes its easygoing ways to the legions of young surfers drawn to the legendary breaks at Manu Bay, 8 km (5 mi) southwest of town, and Whale Bay, just beyond. The Raglan surf is featured in movies and regularly plays host to international surfing competitions. When the surf's up, drive out to the parking areas above the sweeping bays to see scores of surfers tackling what's reputed to be the world's longest, most consistent left-hand break.

While surfers have made this seaside village cool, and along the main drag, Bow Street, barefoot dudes in designer shades pad in and out of the hip café–bars or hang in the smattering of crafts and surf-wear shops, there's much more to Raglan. The huge harbor, with its long Māori history, sandy beaches, and opportunities for kayaking, fishing, and relaxation draws vacationers throughout the year.

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