Waikanae is considered the garden and bird capital of Kāpiti. With walking trails, pools, restaurants and galleries, there's plenty to keep you entertained.
So much to explore
There's every reason to have an incredible time in Waikanae, as this is a location with a huge amount options to keep you occupied.
Waikanae is considered the garden and bird capital of Kāpiti, and there's no wonder why, when Ngā Manu Nature Reserve sits right on it's doorstep. Visit little known hideouts and nesting sites and see birds in their natural habitat with Waikanae Estuary Bird Tours.
During your time in this beach side town you can sample some of Kāpiti's incredible cafes and restaurants, not to mention testing some crafty beers at North End Brewery. Taking the kids to a splash pad is a great way to entertain them in the summer sun, or get active by walk the Waikanae River Loop.
Discover your artistic side, with a fantastic history and arts scene, or wander through the shops and relax and read in one of the beautiful gardens.
Activity in the Town Centre
Waikanae town centre is a haven of activity, with shopping, dining options and cultural activities available.
Get lost in a good book at the Waikanae library, or immerse yourself in the wonderful art at Mahara Gallery. The gallery is the largest public art gallery on the coast and has a number of major exhibitions each year. For those who wish to discover local history, stop by the Kāpiti Coast Museum and get your fix.
In and around the town square you'll find a fantastic range of cafes such as Siggy's Pies, the perfect spot for a delicious treat on the go. Or have a hearty lunch with a craft beer match at North End Brewery's BBQ restaurant and brew pub, the Salt and Wood Collective.
Waikanae has some unique properties to stay at. Te Nikau Forest Retreat is an incredible hand crafted property set in amongst the Nikau Forest, or rent the luxurious Kafelonia Retreat for a few days. It comes equipped with a pool and has beautiful gardens to relax in.
Since Kāpiti has that wonderful coastal climate, the Waikanae Pool is the perfect place to cool off, have a dip and let the kids play. And on the way back to the bach, make sure to pick up something delicious for dinner at Waikanae Crab or the Waikanae butcher, there's a reason they are known for their quality produce.
Explore the beach
Take a walk to the beach via Te Moana Road – ‘the road to the sea’, where you will be captivated as the road is awash with cherry blossoms in spring.
Waikanae’s beach is a wide expansive and uncrowded beach, which creates the perfect opportunity for horse riding, walking or simply sitting back, taking in the view and watching the sunset over Kāpiti Island.
Down by the beach, you will find an array of international cuisine offerings. Make sure to grab a treat at Olde Beach Bakery, renowned for its home-baked goods, particularly the bread. Stop by for lunch at Long Beach or park up the horse at Los Locos, a new Mexican restaurant right on the water's edge.
Birdlife abounds at Ngā Manu Nature Reserve, where you will see some of New Zealand’s rarest and native birds in their natural habitat. See Tuatara, watch Kākā fly about, or wait 'til dusk to get a rare glimpse of a Brown Kiwi at the nighttime experience. You have the opportunity to help with the daily eel feeding if you arrange to be at the reserve for 2 pm.
Get out and about
Waikanae boasts one of the best walking trails in Wellington, the Waikanae river loop which will get your exercise in for the day, whether you're walking, running, biking or horse riding. For those interested in equestrian, stop by the Kāpiti Equestrian Centre to book a horse for the afternoon.
You have the opportunity to glamp or camp as Waikanae beach offers up a few incredible spots. Waikanae Estuary has recently been listed as one of the top 10 freedom camping spots, or book into Te Hapua Coastal Glamping for something a little more chic and rustic.