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The Kāpiti Coast lies about an hour’s drive north of New Zealand’s capital city Wellington in the southern region of the country’s North Island. With over 40 kilometres of spectacular beaches, the coastline is protected from westerly winds by Kāpiti Island and the Tararua Range and Forest Park. From escarpment walks to eco-adventures, here’s a list of the best things to do on this beautiful coast.
The Kāpiti Coast is known for its excellent beaches, one of the most popular being Paraparaumu, a wide beach that leads to Raumati Beach in the south and Waikanae Beach in the north. Paraparaumu is a popular swimming beach for families due to its gentle waves. Fishing, boating and kayaking, or just beach-combing along the shoreline while watching the seagulls and oystercatchers look for food, are some of the fun activities on offer at Paraparaumu Beach.
Located eastwards from the Kāpiti coastline is the Tararua Forest Park, a place of diverse forest vegetation, including a canopy of tall alpine forest trees dripping with fragile hanging moss. The park has facilities for hiking, hunting, overnight stays in huts or lodges and mountain-biking. Family-friendly short walks such as the Arcus or Fenceline Loop and the Waiotauru walk can be reached from Ōtaki Forks, the main western entrance to the Tararua Forest Park. This is 19 kilometres (12mi) from the town of Ōtaki, situated at the northern end of the Kāpiti coastal region.