Top things to do on the Kāpiti Coast
The Kāpiti Coast is a hive of activity, whatever your style you'll find something to entertain you. Here are a few options to inspire.
Sail the Kapiti Marine Reserve with Waka Kapiti
Join Waka Kapiti for the experience of a lifetime sailing and paddling a holopuni on the Kapiti Marine Reserve.
The holopuni – meaning to venture everywhere, is a unique sailing craft, a fusion of modern and traditional Hawaiian outrigger design. Built to harness the wind and current, experienced holopuni skippers provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all ages and abilities.
Don't be surprised if one of the pods of dolphins who often play in the Reserve come to visit - or if you are really lucky you might see orca! Whatever happens, it is a trip that will leave you spellbound.
Paekākāriki Escarpment Track
9.1km | 3-4 hours | Suitable for: Walking, TRAIL RUNNING
Paekākāriki - Pukerua Bay
Take in spectacular views of Kapiti Island from high above the Kāpiti Coastline on one of the region’s finest walking experiences.
The Paekākāriki Escarpment Track runs from Paekākāriki to Pukerua Bay, taking in sweeping views of the spectacular Kāpiti Coastline and the region’s famous Kapiti Island.
See the recent review here: Walking the Escarpment Track
For the latest information on the status of the track (including any closures) see: www.teararoa.org.nz/before-you-go/alerts-and-trail-status
Queen Elizabeth Park
Queen Elizabeth Park is the perfect spot for a day out. From swimming and fishing, to walking, cycling or horse riding the multiple tracks on offer, there’s plenty to do and explore.
Visit the Wellington Tramway Museum at MacKays Crossing and jump on the tram for a ride to Whareroa beach.
Steeped in history, the park also includes pa sites at Whareroa and Wainui beaches and evidence of the 20,000 strong US marine camps from World War II.
Better yet why not make a weekend of it and go camping at Paekākāriki Holiday Park.
Read all about the park here: www.gw.govt.nz/parks/queen-elizabeth-park
Explore the coastal trails
The 16.3km (one-way) of off-road, paved trail between Raumati South and Te Horo is popular with cyclists, walkers, runners and horse-riders of all levels. The gradient is gentle and the paved surface makes it ideal for wheelchairs, prams and scooters. The path weaves along the edge of the expressway, around regenerating wetlands, linking the townships of the Coast.
Combine with 5.4km Te Ara of Whareroa (Raumati South to Paekākāriki) and you have over 22km of off-road pathway to explore the Kapiti Coast from.
Fly out and over the stunning nature reserve, Kapiti Island and listen to the informative commentary as you are gliding your way through the air. The journey continues back towards the mainland, above the mighty Tararua Ranges and towards Mt Wainui and you get to see into the heart of Transmission Gully. This is one you won't want to miss!
Take a training flight with Kāpiti Aero Club
Kāpiti Coast Airport, 25 Dakota Road, Paraparaumu Beach
Trial flights are a great way to introduce yourself, a family member or friends to aviation. Nothing compares to the feeling of your first time up in a small plane and having complete control.
The Kāpiti Aero Club offers both standard & aerobatic trial flight gift vouchers in a range of aircraft which can make an excellent birthday or Christmas present.
Tuatara Brewery & Tap Room
7 Sheffield Street , Paraparaumu
Now with a plethora of regular gigs and events, The Brewery Tap Room is a non-pretentious, casual, and relaxed environment - fostering great hospitality and sociability. Everyone is welcome - from beer connoisseurs on strict tasting business, to work groups popping in for an after work pint or two, as well as enjoy a range of wine, cider and soft drinks.
A visit to the tap room is a great chance to rub shoulders with our award-winning brewers, who frequent the licensed area to carry out all the important "quality control". You can take a little Tuatara home with you too!
Southward Car Museum
Otaihanga Rd, Paraparaumu
Housing some of the world’s rarest and most valuable vehicles, Southward Car Museum is considered the premier privately owned automotive collection in the Southern Hemisphere.
The grounds include stunning landscaped gardens and lake including a bush walk.
There are regular theatre and music performances, and conference and exhibition facilities are available for hire. Refreshments available from the gift shop. Watch for the annual Open House and Auto Jumble Sale Days, advertised on their website and in the press.
Waikanae Estuary Bird Tours
The Waikanae estuary is a beautiful natural bird sanctuary, protected and managed by DoC and dedicated volunteers who are focused on restoring it. Over 100 bird species drop by or call the estuary and lagoons home. Easy tracks and boardwalks through wetlands and dunes will take you up close to the birds.
With a lifetime interest in Birdlife, Mik Peryer has extensive knowledge of the local birdlife in the Waikanae area. Now retired, Mik offers the opportunity for you to get up close and personal with the wild birdlife of the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve.
According to Mik "Waikanae is the Bird Capital of New Zealand with many bird species not seen regularly or so easily elsewhere."
Mik has also written a number of children's books based on true stories. See the books and book a tour online at the website.
Waikanae River Trail Loop
7.5km | Suitable for: cycling, walking, horse riding
A beautiful, mostly shaded walk from Waikanae to Waikanae Beach via the Waikanae River.
Park on the north bank of the Waikanae River at the Tutere Street entrance by Waikanae Beach, take the gentle route along the north bank towards the old SH1. Come back towards the beach on the south bank, crossing the footbridge at Otaihanga Domain.
Look out for diverse bird life and swimming spots.
Horse float parking and mounting blocks are available at the Greenaway Rd entrance, Waikanae.
Ngā Manu Nature Reserve
74 Ngā Manu Reserve Road , Waikanae
Learn about the local Flora & Fauna of the Coast at Ngā Manu Nature Reserve.
Ngā Manu Nature Reserve offers you, your family and visitors a unique opportunity to have a hands-on experience with nature and combines education with a great day out. See New Zealand’s rare brown kiwi in our Nocturnal House and meet native birds in our walk-through aviaries. Watch or participate in feeding endangered long-fin eels, spot native geckos and get up close to the ancient tuatara. Take an easy stroll through one of Kāpiti’s largest remnants of coastal lowland swamp forest in this idyllic bird sanctuary.
Ruth Pretty's Garden Room Cafe & Cooking School
41 School Road, Te Horo
Pretty by name and nature, Ruth's place is a foodie's delight. Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 4pm, Ruth Pretty's kitchen shop and Garden Room Cafe is locally famous for their coffee and cake deal. Set in a rustic glass-covered outdoor area it is the perfect place to unwind. The locals make a beeline for the Ginger Gems!
You're not a true foodie until you've graduated from one of Ruth's Cooking school classes!
PYO at Penray Gardens
People will drive 50km or more to visit Penray Gardens, for the chance to pick (in season) strawberries, raspberries, apples, chillies, tomatoes, beetroot, courgettes, limes, etc! Open Nov-June, they also sell their own gourmet sauces, relishes and dressings, plus local award-winning olive oil.
Visit their Facebook page for up-to-date picking information.
Kāpiti Coast Visitor Map
Pick up your free copy from all Kāpiti Coast libraries, swimming pools, the Paraparaumu Council main reception and visitor attractions around the district.
Available from i-Sites and major visitor locations around the Greater Wellington Region.
Download the PDF here: Kāpiti Coast Visitor Map