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Visitors often stay longer than they intend in RAGLAN, which hugs the south side of the large and picturesque Raglan Harbour, some 48km west of Hamilton. Once a day-tripper's paradise, Raglan now attracts an ever-growing number of permanent residents, drawn by the town's bohemian arts-and-crafts tenor and the laid-back spirit of the surfing community, here for some of the best left-handed breaks in the world. Aside from watersports there is hiking and horse-riding to the south of town, notably in the area around Mount Karioi, and further south at Bridal Veil Falls.
There are plenty of great surf breaks around the country but Raglan is New Zealand's main surfing destination, largely because of its international reputation for the best left-handed break in the world. The lines of perfect breakers appear like blue corduroy southwest of town. The best place for inexperienced surfers is Ngarunui Beach, 5km out of Raglan, which is rock-free; for the experienced, the main breaks are Manu Bay and Whale Bay, both around 8km from town.