WAY COOLER THAN BY­RON

The waves still rule at NZ’s fa­mous bo­hemian beach town

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - DESTINATION NEW ZEALAND - KIRK OW­ERS

For keen surfers, New Zealand’s best scenery hap­pens off­shore in the Tas­man Sea. Mid­way up the North Is­land’s west coast lies the surf haven of Raglan and some of the long­est waves on Earth. On a good day, thick swell lines stack out to an end­less hori­zon and peel for kilo­me­tres along the boul­der­lined shore.

Surfers were among the first to fall for Raglan and, along with a vi­brant arts com­mu­nity, have shaped the town’s bo­hemian aes­thetic.

Raglan is fre­quently com­pared to Aus­tralia’s By­ron Bay in its hey­day, but you don’t have to have dread­locks or be a surfer to ap­pre­ci­ate its laid­back charms.

END­LESS SUM­MER

Pop­u­lar surf film End­less Sum­mer came to sleepy New Zealand in 1964 and filmed a se­quence at Raglan which put it on the surf­ing map. The film’s nar­ra­tor jokes Raglan’s waves are so ridicu­lously long you need to catch just two, “one af­ter break­fast and one af­ter lunch. Any more than that and you’d starve to death.”

Raglan was still a quiet beach town when Cal­i­for­nia ex-pat Char­lie Young ar­rived in the ’80s and set up the town’s first surf school (Raglan Surf­ing School). To­day he checks the waves from his bed­room win­dow at the end of the point and makes his big­gest de­ci­sion of the day: where to surf. Asked if there are still hip­pies in Raglan to­day he strokes his plaited TIPI CAMP­ING

PIC­TURES: KYLE GE­ORGE, SOLSCAPE

Tipi camp­ing at eco vil­lage Solscape; Con­scious Kitchen hosts a pizza night.

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