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The coastal town of Raglan in New Zealand was made for nature lovers. You can spend your days riding the waves of its well-known surfing spots and wandering along sun-dappled walking trails. Step out on the black sands of famous Ngarunui Beach or get a higher perspective with a hike up the extinct volcano that watches over the town and the glittering Tasman Sea. You can also learn about the region's Maori heritage, with museums and galleries on your doorstep.
Stay on the waterfront at a lodge-style Raglan hostel or go for a stopover at a sustainable retreat. There's a hostel within a 110-acre nature reserve if you want to wake up surrounded by songbirds and ferns. Post your surfing videos at a place with free Wi-Fi or chill out in common rooms designed for relaxing and meeting other travellers. Look out for Raglan hostels with handy extras like laundry facilities so you can unload some washing, too.
Raglan is a small town, so you're never far away from the goings-on wherever you stay. In the centre you'll find galleries, local restaurants and of course, the beach. To get off the beaten track, the farming community of Ruapuke is a little way beyond town and blissfully tranquil. The beach here is just as good for surfing, and there's access to breathtaking hikes. Nearby Makomako offers gorges, waterfalls, bays and forests.
Many people come to Raglan for the beaches, which are perfect for learning to surf. Head down to Ngarunui Beach to find a local surf school, or if you're already a keen surfer you can catch more powerful, world famous waves at Manu Bay. At Bridal Veil Falls, stand on a viewing platform and feel the mist from the cascades or walk along bridges deep in the countryside. The Wainui Reserve has 140 hectares of walking and hiking trails following the shore, which might just inspire you to get out on the water with a kayak tour between beaches.
If you're travelling to Raglan by plane, Hamilton Airport is your closest stop. From there, it's around 50 minutes by bus or hired car. Intercity buses run regularly from big cities like Auckland regularly, taking about 3-4 hours. Once you're in town, you can get into the eco vibe of the place by hiring a bike, and there's also a limited bus service and taxis.