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View of Kapiti Island from Raumati South on the Kapiti Coast | © rewai/Flickr
View of Kapiti Island from Raumati South on the Kapiti Coast | © rewai/Flickr

5 Incredible Beaches Within Reach of Wellington

Picture of Thalita Alves
Updated: 4 December 2017

Wellington’s harbourside location has gifted it with a collection of lovely beaches and bays. But if you’re wanting to take your seaside adventures a little further away from the urban landscapes, you’ll be pleased to know New Zealand’s capital city is quite handy to a trove of incredible coastlines. Here are five that we think are absolutely worth visiting.

Days Bay

The perfect place for a day trip is not too far away from the city. Take a ferry from Wellington’s waterfront into Matiu/Somes Island to arrive at the Days Bay Jetty. From there, the world is your seaside oyster: you can spend some time strolling the sandy beach, exploring the parks and hills, or have a quick wander around the quaint Eastbourne township and its various galleries, cafes and boutiques.

Kapiti Coast

Located just an hour’s drive from downtown Wellington, Kapiti Coast is home to an impressive 40 kilometres (24.85 miles) of beaches. Coastal picnic sites and gentle waters are some of the main reasons families in particular love this area. If you want to head even further out, consider making a detour to Kapiti Island. Local beaches to set your sights on include Paraparaumu, Raumati, Waikanae and Otaki.

Island Bay

For something closer to home, Island Bay is just 5 kilometres (3.12 miles) south of Wellington’s city centre. The historic beachside suburb is traditionally known for its fishing, though snorkelling and scuba diving have become popular pastimes over the years. If you want to dip into the depths of the ocean, the Taputeranga Marine Reserve is the place to visit. A short walk from the reserve will also lead you to Sinclair Head, where you might just be able to spot some fur seals.

Makara Beach

A 30-minute drive from Wellington city is all it takes to reach the rocky Makara Beach. This is the ideal spot for those wanting to get their hiking fix or to immerse themselves in a blend of farmland and beachside vistas. The location is also ideal for learning a bit of local history. The Ngati Ira pa, a Maori fortification site, can be found at the western end of Fisherman’s Bay, and there are several World War II gun emplacements at the top of cliffs.

Waitarere Beach

For a relaxing weekend escape, far away from the typical hustle and bustle of your urban surrounds, Waitarere Beach might just do the trick. It is situated approximately an hour and half’s drive from Wellington, near the towns of Palmerston North and Levin. White sands, safe swimming waters and lots of opportunities for surfing and fishing make this spot a great all-rounder for summertime visitors.