Activities in Paraparaumu and Paraparaumu Beach
As the main hub of the Kapiti Coast, a beautiful stretch of coastline north of Wellington City, Paraparaumu is a must-visit on any Kapiti road trip! Paraparaumu and Paraparaumu Beach are the largest settlements in the Kapiti Coast area where you can do all your shopping, get some great food, visit the local information centres and do a whole bunch of excellent things to do in Paraparaumu!
The main town centre is on the west side of the railway line (yes, you can take the train from Wellington to Paraparaumu) and Paraparaumu Beach is, as you might have guessed, towards the coast. Both areas are packed with activities to suit any taste, from bush walks to nature experiences to art and museums. If you are looking to explore more of the Kapiti Coast, check out 10 Must-Dos on the Kapiti Coast.
1. Walk in the Barry Hadfield Nikau Reserve
Explore the stunning nikau palm forest along the walking trails of the Barry Hadfield Nikau Reserve. Follow the 1.2km (0.7-mile) loop bush walk, which takes about 30 minutes to complete, as you discover streams and small waterfalls on your way to a lookout.
Location: From the south, turn off State Highway 1 at the Lindale turnoff just north of Paraparaumu. The reserve is on the left before the road goes under SH1. From the north, take the Lindale turnoff north of Paraparaumu and follow the sign at the roundabout to Nikau Valley, take the first left with signs to the Nikau Reserve and follow the short road to the car park.
2. Check Out the Southward Car Museum
Petrolheads and lovers of all things vintage, don’t miss the Southward Car Museum with one of the most impressive private collections of vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere. For more museums worth checking out on the Kapiti Coast, see our 7 Best Art Galleries & Museums on the Kapiti Coast.
Location: Otaihanga Road, Otaihanga.
3. Go Bird Watching at the Waikanae Estuary
With more than 77 species of bird seen here, the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve is considered one of the most important bird spotting areas in New Zealand. From the Otaihanga Reserve, cross the Waikanae River on a swing bridge and turn left for a walk alongside the estuary. The Waikanae River is also close to the town of Waikanae, so check out more things to do in the area in our 8 Great Things to Do in Waikanae.
4. Take a Trip to Paraparaumu Beach
The largest of the Kapiti Coast seaside towns, Paraparaumu Beach has a great selection of cafes, restaurants and shops to check out on your way to Paraparaumu Beach itself with excellent views of Kapiti Island. Have a stroll along the beach and go for a swim!
Location: Paraparaumu Beach. There are several access roads from Paraparaumu, the most direct being Kapiti Road.
5. Play a Round of Golf
Hit the 18-hole internationally acclaimed Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, which boasts having hosted the New Zealand Open 12 times! It’s where caddies Steve Williams started his career. Plus, with the magnificent coastal views, it’s not a bad place to spend the afternoon! For more golf courses, see 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
Location: 376 Kapiti Road, Paraparaumu Beach.
6. Catch the Ferry to Kapiti Island
Kapiti Island is a pest-free island, meaning there are no introduced predators like possums, rats and stoats are on the island. As a result, the island is a safe haven for native birds like the kaka parrot, takahe and even little spotted kiwi! Either take a self-guided tour on the island by catching a ferry from the Kapiti Boating Club or join a local tour with Kapiti Eco (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Kapiti Island Nature Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor) to the island.
Location: Access to the island is only via approved commercial operators. Ferries and tours depart from the Kapiti Boating Club, Paraparaumu Beach.
7. Stop by the Basement Art Works
Check out the small beachfront gallery of Shona Moller, a leading New Zealand oil artist, as well as the works from other artists at the Basement Art Works. It holds 4-week exhibitions of different artists from photographers to sculptors. The gallery is open Saturdays 10an-2pm.
Location: 3 Seaview Road, Paraparaumu Beach.
8. Do Some Shopping at the Farmers Market
Often seen as the best farmers market in Kapiti, the Marine Parade Farmers Market is every Saturday from 9am to 1pm. There’s a variety of fantastic stalls including crafts, clothing and fresh produce. It’s a great place to pick up some souvenirs and experience the classic New Zealand farmers market vibe! Plus, there are often buskers too.
Location: Marine Parade, Paraparaumu Beach.