Gerrit van Rooyen
Last week I took you out of Wellington, over the Rimutakas, to the spectacular Wairarapa. Today we’ll head up SH1, along the coast, for another fantastic place to visit from your stay in Wellington. Beach lovers should head up to Kapiti to escape the crowds of downtown Wellington and soak up some sun.
There is plenty to do but here are some of my picks:
If you really want to “get away from it all” there’s no better option than Kapiti Island. It’s a pest-free bird sanctuary and has been for well over a hundred years. It’s one of the best places to really experience NZ wildlife. You’ll see many of New Zealand’s favourite species including saddlebacks, tomtits, fantails, kokako, morepork, bellbirds and many more. You need a permit to visit and a short boat ride. You can book yourself on a day tour, or even better, go overnight to see the iconic Kiwi, a nocturnal bird. Contact Kapiti Island Nature Tours and they’ll take care of everything. Or just send Steve a message and we can see what we can help you arrange for during your stay.
Just a 35-minute drive from Wellington and you’ll be on Paraparaumu beach. You’ll have a lovely view of Kapiti Island from there, but the beach itself is wonderful. Easy to spend the whole day hanging out in the sun, walking up and down the long length of sand and heading up to the street to the plentiful cafes and pubs. For some more leisure, check out the Southward Car Museum or play a bit more golf at the Paraparaumu golf club! Go a bit more inward to the township to get in some shopping. The area is growing quickly to house all the Wellingtonians that want that beach life and businesses are keeping up with the demand. It’s still a very different feeling from the Lower Wellington regions and worth a look.
Waikanae has been voted NZ’s most beautiful large town. It’s easy to see why. Not only is it on the beach that offers great surfing, but the Waikanae river offers spots for freshwater swimming, fishing, and walkways. Lots of artists live in Waikanae which is evident from the many galleries all over town. They are a lot of fun to pop into and have a look. If Kapiti Island was a bit out of reach for you, no worries, Waikanae has an inland nature reserve for you to explore. You could walk for hours through the well-maintained pathways amongst the birds.
Got caught in some poor weather? Waikanae has a lovey cinema for a town its size. I love NZ boutique cinemas. Instead of just popcorn and soda, you have a whole cafe selection, ice cream, and a selection of alcoholic drinks. Instead of those terrible stiff seats, you can lounge on sofas. If not in Waikanae there are plenty around the Wellington region and I recommend trying it at least once. A few different experiences from those big multiplexes!
Hope you all had a great weekend and look forward to seeing you on the greens!