Tony on Flickr© Tony on Flickr
Tony on Flickr

10 Must-Dos on the Kapiti Coast

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Article Single Pages©
Article Single Pages©
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Things to Do in Kapiti, Wellington

If you want a super relaxed atmosphere to share with the native wildlife of New Zealand, then Kapiti is your place. Just under an hour away from Wellington, the Kapiti Coast is a beach and dune-filled paradise home to nature reserves and small settlements.

Relax on the beach with a view of Kapiti Island with a local Tuatara beer in hand or horse ride on the coastal cliffs for epic views. You can even stay on Kapiti Island overnight to spend time with a Maori community and get the rare opportunity to see a kiwi bird in the wild.

Get your full fix of Kapiti with our complete travel guide to the Kapiti Coast.

1. Nga Manu Nature Reserve

Located near Waikanae, the reserve is home to an incredibly wide range of native New Zealand species, from eels to tuatara (3-eyed lizards) to the world-famous kiwi birds. Many other bird species are also found on the reserve like tui and kaka parrots. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon discovering New Zealand native wildlife. Check out more Great Things to Do in Waikanae.©

2. Horseback Riding

Riding along the beach or above the cliffs is a thrill on the Kapiti Coast. The landscape is stunning and the tracks are easy enough for even the least experienced riders to have a good time. There are many companies offering riding lessons in the area so take your pick and take advantage!

Pxhere© Pxhere

3. Peka Peka Beach

The long beach is bathed by tantalising turquoise water. Often completely deserted, it is a treat to have such a slice of paradise just for yourself. Peka Peka Beach is also a great spot to watch the sunset over Kapiti Island. Bliss!

Pixabay© Pixabay

4. Tuatara Brewery

The handcrafted Tuatara beer is brewed in Paraparaumu. Tours and tastings are held every Saturday. It is the perfect opportunity to discover one of the tastiest beverages that the region has to offer and even see for yourself how it is produced.

 Alan Levine on Flickr© Alan Levine on Flickr

5. Queen Elizabeth Park

The last remaining area of natural dunes on the Kapiti Coast is now protected. Queen Elizabeth Park is very easy to visit and a great spot for a picnic. The park is also a landmark in New Zealand history as it was home to a huge US marine camp housing over 20,000 units at its peak during World War 2.©

6. Head to Kapiti Island

Take the boat to where Wellingtonians go to relax. Isolated and still wild, Kapiti Island will treat you some great New Zealand hospitality and wildlife. While on the boat, keep an eye open to spot sea birds fishing in the area.

Tours to Kapiti Island can be organised with Kapiti Eco (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) and Kapiti Island Nature Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor).

 US Embassy on Flickr© US Embassy on Flickr

7. Spot a Little Spotted Kiwi in the Wild

Kapiti Island is one of the best places in New Zealand to spot the famous kiwi bird in its natural habitat a rare opportunity. Better yet, you may get lucky and spot the elusive little spotted kiwi, one of the smallest species of kiwi. Be quiet and explore the island at night for best results. Check out Kapiti Island night tours on Viator and Tripadvisor.©

8. Snap a Picture of a Takahe

The colourful flightless bird has been decimated since human colonisation of New Zealand. Kapiti Island is used as a sanctuary to breed takahe and reinsert the species all around New Zealand.©

9. Play Around With a Kaka Bird

Playful and not too shy, the kaka bird is loud and fun to watch. It is not hard to spot them on Kapiti Island swooping over the forest canopy and landing on nearby branches. Make sure to guard your food as they will not be scared to steal your lunch.


10. Experience the Maori Hospitality

All accommodation providers and tour operators are part of the same small community. They are kind people that are always keen to share their knowledge about the area or stories of the good old times. If you are lucky enough, they will even take you fishing in one of their “secret spots”.

10 Must-Dos on the Kapiti Coast© James Heremaia - Tourism New Zealand


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Laura S.

This article has been reviewed and published by Laura, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Laura is a first-class honours journalism graduate and a travel journalist with expertise in New Zealand and South Pacific tourism for over 10 years. She also runs travel guides for five of the top destinations in the South Pacific and is the co-host of over 250 episodes of the NZ Travel Show on YouTube.

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