WAY COOLER THAN BYRON
The waves still rule at NZ’s famous bohemian beach town
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.
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
Tipi camping at eco village Solscape; Conscious Kitchen hosts a pizza night.