Waikato is world-renowned for its surf, including world-class point breaks at Raglan and the hard-core left-hand reef breaks at Port Waikato.


The following water sports are offered at Raglan on the west coast:

SUP or Stand Up Paddleboarding is a popular sport in Raglan, New Zealand


The Waikato has some of the best fishing in New Zealand, with coastal areas, harbours, rivers and lakes galore. Here you can do sea fishing, harbour fishing, flounder netting, river fishing, trout fishing and whitebaiting.

Any person who wishes to go fresh water fishing or game bird hunting in New Zealand must first purchase a licence. The licence fees help cover the cost of managing the fish and birds and the habitat they depend on. Daily bag limits and seasonality apply for both fishing and hunting.

For further information on sports fishing and hunting in our coastal and wetland areas, please click here. 

Fishing off Raglan Wharf, Waikato district, New Zealand.

Beaches and harbours

Visitors from all over the world visit the Waikato to experience the district’s stunning West Coast beaches and harbours. Pounding surf, rugged scenery, vast, unspoilt black-sand beaches and large harbours are major draw cards for those seeking unique experiences at the sea.

Karioitahi Beach

Karioitahi Beach is located west of Waiuku in the north of the Waikato district. Karioitahi's rugged and windswept beach is used for surfing, fishing, horse riding, off-road motorcycling and, most notably, paragliding.

Karioitahi Beach sunset in the top left of Waikato district, close to Auckland, New Zealand.


Port Waikato Sunset Beach

At the south end of Port Waikato township is Sunset Beach, a surfer’s gem with picturesque black sand and striking rock formations. Port Waikato is well-known for its whitebait fishing at the mouth of the Waikato River. In summer, the beach is patrolled by voluntary lifeguards.


Raglan (Whaingaroa) AND Raglan Harbour

Raglan Harbour, which shares its name with the small town on its western shore, is a 40 minute drive from Hamilton city and is a major drawcard for visitors from around the world. It was formed in the remote past by the drowning of a valley system of which the two major arms, Waingaro and Waitetuna, meander among mud banks and cliffs for more than 16 kilometres. The port, which shelters small fishing boats, is small because the harbour entrance is guarded by a sand bar. At least 3-4 times a year, Orca (killer whales) visit the harbour, chasing prey and delighting onlookers.

Be careful of boats below when jumping off the bridge in Raglan Harbour, New Zealand

Manu Bay, Raglan

Manu Bay is a world-renowned surfing spot and attracts some of the world’s best surfers. Major surfing events are held at Manu Bay each year, attracting large international crowds. The bay has a boat ramp, providing access to some of New Zealand’s best deep sea fishing spots, including sport fish such as marlin.

Manu Bay, a world-class surfing spot in Raglan, New Zealand

Wainui Reserve and Ngarunui Beach

Wainui Reserve is a large, publicly-owned reserve above Raglan's stunning Ngaranui Beach. It offers spectacular views of the West Coast, from Auckland in the north to Taranaki in the south. The reserve hosts music events in a natural amphitheatre, and subject to council agreement, hosts a number of weddings each year.  Ngarunui Beach is the Waikato’s most popular beach and is patrolled by voluntary lifeguards each summer.

Wainui Reserve and Ngarunui Beach, Raglan, great surf beaches in New Zealand

Whale Bay, Raglan

Whale Bay is famous for its surf break and experienced riders brave the rocks to enjoy one of the fastest left-hand breaks in the world. There is a large grassed area suited for picnicking where visitors can take in the stunning seascape. The beach is not suitable for swimming.

The perfect left hand surf break at Whale Bay, Raglan #Raglan, New Zealand


Aotea Harbour

Aotea Harbour is one of several large tidal estuaries on Waikato’s west coast and is just 27km south of Raglan. The small harbour is a tranquil oasis, tucked in from the Tasman Sea and close to the small, picturesque settlement of Kawhia. In summer Kawhia has an influx of visitors, attracted by safe beaches for swimming, kayaking, fishing, or windsurfing as well as the abundant bird life.Aotea Harbour beach, west coast, black sand beaches in Waikato district, New Zealand


Waikato is, quite simply, one of the best cycling and mountain biking destinations in the world. It is the ‘go to’ region for visitors seeking to cycle. The area boasts a huge variety of top quality cycling tracks and mountain biking trails including the iconic Te Awa Cycle Way (The Great New Zealand River Ride). Ultimately, Te Awa will run from Ngāruawāhia south to Lake Karapiro, following the mighty Waikato River and offering stunning river and lake vistas, native bush and rural landscapes.

Waikato walks

Welcome to New Zealand’s walking heartland, drawing visitors from around the world keen to soak up the district’s breathtaking scenery, clean air, unique landscapes and clear night skies. New Zealand’s national walkway, Te Araroa (Long Pathway) passes through the Waikato region and the stunning Hakarimata Range (also part of Te Araroa) offers visitors outstanding access to a fine stand of kauri trees. The district offers a wide range of tracks to suit all ages.

Horse Riding

Waikato offers a number of trails and tracks suitable for horse riding. Enjoy a range of experiences and soak up New Zealand’s unique scenery on horseback, ranging from rugged beaches to inland trails through spectacular native bush.


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