Top things to do in Kāpiti
Kāpiti is a hive of activity, whatever your style you'll find something to entertain you. Here's a few options to inspire.
Kapiti Island Nature Reserve
Only 5 km off Paraparaumu Beach, Kapiti Island is an un-fenced nature reserve unlike any other. Home to a huge variety of birds including a number of critically endangered species, the 10 km long 1,965 hectare island sanctuary has been predator-free since 1998.
Kapiti Island is a fully immersive, living wonderland and one of the only places in the world where you can have a North Island Robin at your feet while you have a Kākā on your shoulder. Be still, and wait for the curious birds to come close - without predators, they have no fear and so take it upon themselves to investigate visitors.
Many of the rarest, most critically endangered bird and lizard species, that are rare or extinct on the mainland are thriving on the Island. This protected haven is now home to NZ’s largest population of Little Spotted Kiwi – over 1200 birds! Thanks to Kapiti, they are now back from the brink of extinction, and the Kapiti Island Little Spotted Kiwi are helping to populate other islands and Zealandia in Wellington.
Wander tracks fringed with dense forest, climb the 521m peak for panoramic views and walk along the shoreline on the edge of the Marine Reserve. Kapiti Island truly is a taonga to be treasured.
Paekākāriki Escarpment Track
9.1km | 3-4 hours | Suitable for: Walking, TRAIL RUNNING
Paekākāriki - Pukerua Bay
Take in spectacular views of Kāpiti 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 Kāpiti Island.
Check the Find Your Wild website for full track details including any track closures.
Cycle the coastal trails
Choose the scenic ride through Queen Elizabeth Park on the Te Ara o Whareroa track from Paekākāriki to Raumati South. Or any of the other gentle or challenging cycleways the region has to offer.
Many cycleways are also shared paths for horseriding and walking, so please be aware of the impact you may have on other users.
Discover the local wildlife
Ngā Manu Nature Reserve
Come for the Kiwi, stay for the bird aviaries, the butterfly garden and the bush walks. Not to mention the tūī, wood pigeon (kererū), kākāriki, kākā, kea, scaup, brown teal (pāteke) blue duck (Whio) and many other native birds in the aviaries. And then there’s the green stuff: native grasses, orchids and silver ferns, along with swamp maire, pukatea, kohekohe and 400-year-old kahikatea.
Waikanae Estuary Bird Tours
Go into the places only locals are familiar with. Visit little known hideouts and nesting sites and see birds in their natural habitat with the knowledgeable Mick of Waikanae Estuary Bird Tours.
Tee off at a local course
Play a round of golf at one of the excellent courses in Kāpiti, including the course that tamed Tiger!
There are four courses in Kāpiti:
Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, a world-class course that has played host to Tiger Woods.
Waikanae Golf Club, an 18 hole course that has hosted several national events including qualifying for the New Zealand Open.
Kāpiti Golf Club, a challenging 9 hole course set in a pleasant valley, with easy walking and picturesque views.
Otaki Golf Club, an easy walking 18 hole course, the oldest on the Kāpiti Coast.
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.
Ride a Miniature Railway
Kāpiti Miniature Railway
Hop on board the miniature railway at Marine Gardens in Raumati. The double loop track features two tunnels and is just under 1km long. The train runs between 1 pm-4 pm on Sundays and is $1.50 a trip.
Catch your own fish!
Fish local rivers (within season and permit) or surf cast off the beach. There's nothing like eating what you've caught yourself.
Taking the kids out? Ōtaki Beach is one of the easiest places for kids to catch their first fish.
Heading out on the boat for the day? It's important that boaties are familiar with the boundaries and rules of the Kāpiti Marine Reserve for any fishing or diving. Check out the Department of Conservation's handy Kāpiti Marine Reserve resource to make sure you're up to date.
Get wet at a splash pad
Try out one of the splash pads with the kids or grandkids. Marine Gardens in Raumati Beach comes complete with splashpad, playground and you can even ride on the miniature trains on the rise above the playground.
Haruātai Park in Ōtaki has a brand new splashpad up the hill next to the pool complex that complements the keyhole basketball court, picnic tables with shade sails and Kāpiti's tallest swing.