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Bush walks & tramping

Bordered on one side by ocean and the other by mountains, Kāpiti has easy access to native forest. Choose from half hour bush walks to challenging tramps lasting several days.

Campbell Mill Road

Access: 6km gradual hill climb along farm track to lower Mt Wanui and Akatarawa Forest.

Good views of QE Park and Kāpiti Island. Links to Whareroa Farm and Perhams Road. Caution - grazing stock.

Distance/Time: 2 hours to Whakatiki Gate.

Mataihuka Walkway

Take in extensive coastal views after walking through regenerating native bush.

Access: Via Raumati Escarpment Reserve - 0.5km up Waterfall Road off SH1.

From the car park on Waterfall Road, follow the track 15mins up to the June Rowland lookout. Continue along the ridgeline to the stone cairn. Return along the same route. Steep in places.

Distance/Time: 2km/1-1 hour 30 mins return

Barry Hadfield Nikau Reserve

Home to native birds including fantail, grey warbler, tui, bellbird and kereru, the 11 hectare Barry Hadfield Nikau Reserve is an important link in a chain of forest between the Tararua Ranges and Kāpiti Island.

Just half an hour on the easy loop. Incredible views from the lookout over Kāpiti and the coast north where you can see Mt Taranaki on clear days.

Access: From the south, turn off SH1 at the Lindale turnoff (north of Paraparaumu) and the reserve is on your left with a car park before the road swings round underneath SH1.

If you are driving north take the Lindale turnoff north of Paraparaumu, but follow the sign at the roundabout to Nikau Valley, then take the first left which is a short road which turns into the Nikau Reserve carpark.

Distance/time: 30 minutes return on the easy loop, with a steep 20 minute climb to the lookout at the top of the ridge.

From the car park the track climbs 120 metres past pillars of nikau palms to a picnic area at the top. Enjoy a panoramic vista of the coastal plains, townships, Kapiti Island and the coast north where Mt Taranaki is visible on clear days.

Hemi Matenga Reserve

A moderate 50 min climb to viewpoint at top of ridge. After this it becomes a tramping track that is only suitable for experienced trampers.

Access: Tui Crescent, Waikanae

Distance/Time: 5.4km loop/3 hours 30 mins

Tramping in the ranges

Ōtaki Forks is the gateway to tramping, hunting and walking in the Tararua Range. This wild landscape is the Department of Conservation's largest park in the North Island.

Several tramping tracks head into the Tararua Forest Park from Ōtaki Forks including:

  • the Southern Crossing, a three day tramping track recommended for experienced trampers only
  • the popular walk to Field Hut and Table Top, an easy 5-6 hours return day trip to the tops of the western Tararua Range
  • the advanced tramping track to Waitewaewae Hut, 5 to 7 hours one way, which crosses a terrace above the Ōtaki River, before entering the bush to follow an old tramway and criss-cross several creeks

You can get full information and the latest updates on the Department of Conservation website.

If you're heading into the great outdoors, it's important to make a plan to keep safe. The Mountain Safety Council has safety information for trampers and hunters.