Take a leisurely drive to Raglan

Just 159kms from Auckland, so just a leisurely 2 hour drive away, you'll find the popular little coastal settlement of Raglan.

It's a west coast beach, so black sand, surfy and quite spectacular.  I'm not a surfer myself, but I am told that Manu Bay on this coast has the longest, most accessible and consistent left-hand break in the world. If you have the required level of skill, it's possible to catch a wave and cruise for up to two kilometres. Manu Bay (also known as The Point) was featured in the 1966 cult surfing movie Endless Summer.

Auckland to Raglan mapIf you're more a paddler than a surfer, be sure to swim between the flags where lifeguards are patrolling the beach - as is the case with most beaches well known for surfing and certainly all west coast beaches - there can be dangerous rips.

Do remember to pack your jandals as the black sands gets very hot underfoot and you'll need a thick blanket if you're lying on the sand in the height of summer - sunblock of course is a necessity (and anyway nothing feels more like summer than a little black sand stuck to your sunblock!)

The locals here are full of character, and this part of the country has always attracted people keen to escape the ratrace and enjoy a bit of surfing, music, art/craft and a sustainable lifestyle. 

Teens will love jumping off the Raglan bridge or joining the crowd at the enormous skateboard bowl by the water. 

Local businesses will be able to assist you with everything you could want - from really great coffee to the hire of a fishing rod, surfboard, paddleboard or kayak.  A wide variety of restaurants and cafes are available and are open from dawn until relatively late, although it's hard to go past fish and chips on the beach as the sun sets into the sea!

For a magnificent view head up to the Bridal Veil Falls - the walk will be well worth it!

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Angela Hallberg is Omega Rental cars Marketing Manager – one of New Zealand’s most trusted car hire companies.  Like Omega on Facebook or follow on Twitter @OmegaRentalCars.

Photos courtesy of www.raglan.net.nz