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Nature reserves

Kāpiti is home to nature reserves and conservation areas, including Kāpiti Island, New Zealand’s oldest nature reserve.

Kāpiti Island

Kāpiti Island is New Zealand’s oldest nature reserve, where you can see some of our rarest and most endangered birds.

Just 50 minutes by train or 35 minutes by car from Wellington, Kāpiti Island feels like a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the capital city.

Here you can experience the beauty of New Zealand as it was, in times gone by, and where the birds are most definitely the stars.

Take a day trip, and be inspired by the native forest and unique wildlife on the island or combine it with local Māori hospitality, story telling, and overnight accommodation at the Kāpiti Island Nature Lodge.

Ngā Manu Nature Reserve

See native birds and geckos in Waikanae. Feed the eels and meet the kaka and tuatara.

Set in the largest remnant of coastal lowland swamp forest in Kāpiti, Ngā Manu Nature Reserve is a popular attraction for nature lovers with eel feeding, tuatara and many species of birds in a beautiful natural setting.

If you are lucky, you can see New Zealand’s rare brown kiwi in the nocturnal house and meet native birds in the walk-through aviaries.

Open daily 10am – 5pm.

If you are coming with a group, you can book exclusive use of BBQ island in the main pond, cook on the covered gas BBQ and enjoy eating your lunch at the picnic tables there.

You can even stay the night here in Theo’s Cottage set inside the reserve, and awake to an unforgettable dawn chorus.

Waikanae River and Estuary

More than 60 species of waders and sea birds breed here, including banded dotterel, dabchick, royal spoonbill and variable oystercatcher.

Birds are easy to spot at the beachfront Waikanae River and Estuary, which is a safe route for birds between the mountains and the sea.

Kāpiti Bird Tours run regular guided walks around the estuary.

waikanae estuary