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Raglan coast
West of Hamilton, Raglan is both a surfing mecca and a dramatically scenic area of black sand coastline. Many people believe 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'.

If you're not a hard-core surfer, Ocean Beach is a fine place for a swim or a body boarding session. Lifeguards patrol the western end of the beach during the summer months - it's safest to swim between the flags.

There are several excellent walks in the Raglan area. In just 10 minutes you can walk to the top of Bridal Veil Falls (55 metres). If you're wanting a more challenging adventure, you can climb to the top of Mount Karioi - on a fine day you can see all the way to Mount Taranaki. The Te Toto Gorge Track is another option - it's a route that was once used extensively by Maori and remnants of stone walls can still be seen in places.

Be sure to spare a couple of hours for Raglan township. It's an entertaining mix of caf├ęs, bars, surf shops and galleries. This part of New Zealand has always attracted people who are into alternate lifestyles, so the residents are full of character.