I’ve Fallen in Love with Raglan

Raglan ocean

Of the 40 places I visited in New Zealand, Raglan was by far my favourite.

After thoroughly exhausting myself with my hike in Paihia, I needed somewhere to recuperate and this was the perfect place to do so.

Raglan is a chilled-out surf town on the west coast of the North Island and is one of those places where, within seconds of arriving, I felt the most relaxed I have in weeks — and promptly began talking about living here for a few months.

Raglan ocean

Unfortunately, we had only planned to spend one night in Raglan. One of the downsides to planning out an epic two month road trip across New Zealand was, well, exactly that. Planning. Before arriving, we had no idea which places we’d love, where we’d hate, if the weather would co-operate… we managed to get it right most of the time, but I sorely wish we’d had longer in Raglan.

Wanting to make the most of our time here, Dave and I decided this would be best done at the beach.

Raglan black sand beach
Raglan black sand beach

Raglan’s beaches surprised me. I hadn’t expected the ocean to be so vibrantly turquoise or the sand to be so black. I’d only visited one other beach in New Zealand prior to arriving in Raglan and 90 Mile Beach, at the very top of the North Island, featured huge yellow sand dunes that stretched for, erm, 55 miles.

I’d visited black sand beaches before, in Hawaii and Tenerife, but I’d forgotten just how ridiculously hot the sand can get — until I took my shoes off and felt the soles of my feet begin to melt.

Squealing, I immediately dropped my towel onto the sand and leaped on it, beginning my awkward towel-shuffle down towards the sea.


And there we remained for the rest of the afternoon. 

It was wonderful to take a break from moving, from working, even if it was for one day. I laid out and sunbathed, read a book on my Kindle. I worked up the courage to paddle in the sea, the icy cold temperatures in stark contrast to the ones I’d bathed in in Cambodia a few months beforehand.


And then, all too soon, it was time for us to leave.

Packing up our towels and Kindles we hobbled, sprinted and screamed our way back up the beach, cursing the scorching hot sand and wondering why we hadn’t thought to put our flip-flops on first.

Fortunately, leaving the beach wasn’t too bad, as we were heading back up the hill to a pretty amazing hostel…


My favourite hostel in New Zealand

It only makes sense that my favourite place in New Zealand would have my favourite hostel too!

Firstly, we had this incredible view. 


Solescape was located at the top of a hill just outside of Raglan. Being outside of town meant that the hostel was super peaceful and relaxing — something that Solscape takes full advantage of by offering massages, yoga classes and even surf lessons!

Dave and I were in a private room, which was actually a converted train carriage. It was amazing! Solscape takes lots of power-saving measures so we didn’t have a power socket in our room, but as the wifi connection (offered through Global Gossip) didn’t reach our room, we did most of our work and charging in the kitchen anyway.


Even though we weren’t located towards the front of the property, we still had a pretty amazing view from our room too.


The accommodation options at Solscape aren’t just limited to train carriages either — you can even stay in earth domes and tipis!


The only downside to Solscape was that, without power or any way of cooling the room down, our room would get quite hot and stuffy during the day, but it was fine at night.

All in all, this is a fantastic hostel, one of my favourites in the world, and you should definitely stay here if you’re planning on spending some time in Raglan.


  1. April 18, 2013

    I loved Raglan too but also only got one night there. Gotta go back!

    • April 19, 2013

      One night definitely isn’t enough, hey? I want to stay for a few months and learn how to surf :-)

  2. April 18, 2013

    Some of those photos are amazing! I’m just starting to plan our New Zealand itinerary so will definitely be including Raglan (and for more than one night!)

    I’ll have a look at that hostel too, mainly because staying in a tipi sounds like something I should try at least once.

    • April 19, 2013

      Thanks, Lizzy! You should definitely add Raglan to your plans :-). The tipis were pretty badass.

  3. Scarlett
    April 18, 2013

    Ahhh I want to be there! xx

    • April 19, 2013

      I think you’d love it! :-)

  4. Jason
    April 18, 2013

    Hi Lauren, Raglan looks absolutely beautiful, just like the rest of New Zealand.

    That hostel looks incredible aswell, love the tipis.

    • April 19, 2013

      Hi Jason. Both Raglan and the hostel were wonderful — probably one of the best beaches I visited in New Zealand too!

  5. George
    April 18, 2013

    Stunning that hostel looks wonderful too

    • April 19, 2013

      It really was! :-)

  6. Chris
    April 18, 2013

    So freaking stoked to get there tommorow now – it’s one of the last surf spots on my “need to surf” list – peeling lefts here I come!


    • April 19, 2013

      You’re going to love it! I’ll just pretend to know what a peeling left is…

      • Chris
        April 30, 2013

        hahaha….it’s a wave which breaks from left to right :P
        ….and i totally loved it!

  7. April 19, 2013

    Lauren, looking at your photos I can tell that I’ve fallen in love with Raglan too :)

    • April 19, 2013

      Awesome! You better head there soon then? ;-)

  8. April 19, 2013

    Wow! I can totally see why this is your favorite spot in New Zealand.
    Unfortunately I’ve never been there, but now I want to visit!
    Thanks for sharing all these great photos and impressions with us! :)

    • April 19, 2013

      No worries, I hope you get to visit Raglan one day!

  9. April 19, 2013

    To be honest, I’m not surprised you fell in love with this place! Everything seems to be so perfect there.

    • April 19, 2013

      It was pretty amazing! I need to go back there…

  10. April 19, 2013

    The color of that water is INSANE! I probably missed this but are you guys driving through New Zealand??

    • April 19, 2013

      Yep. Well, we’ve just finished up now. We spent two months road tripping around :-)

  11. Amanda
    April 19, 2013

    First of all, the hostel sounds amazing. And that beach!!! OMG.

    I haven’t made to Raglan on any of my NZ trips (probably because I’ve never actually been down there during their summer months…), but it is firmly at the top of my “next time” list.

    • April 21, 2013

      You definitely need to get there next time — I know you’d love Raglan!

  12. April 19, 2013

    The hostel huts look too cute. And with such a view… wow!

    • April 21, 2013

      They were so adorable! I loved Solscape so much!

  13. Kieu ~ GQ trippin
    April 23, 2013

    We didn’t go here.. whyyyyy??!! Cute hostel. I managed to weasel my way out of the Paihia hike. haha

    • April 25, 2013

      Hahaha, sneaky! I think you guys would have loved Raglan :-)

  14. Scott
    April 25, 2013

    yes! Julia and I spent only one night there, but it was really, really fun. Loved the size and the vibe, it was surfer/hippy, but didn’t overwhelm you with it if you know what I mean.

  15. April 27, 2013

    Raglan was one of our favourite places in New Zealand too – the beaches were stunning. Did you go to Whale Bay? That was our favourite lookout spot.

  16. Anne
    April 30, 2013

    That looks like such a lovely little town!! I agree that you should go back and spend more time there, especially at that hostel. It looks so cool!!

  17. Stephen
    May 6, 2013

    I heard a lot of good things about this little town. I’ll definitely put it on the list of places to visit if/when I get to New Zealand.

  18. I just might have to add this to my already huge bucket list!