The Best Things to Do in Porirua, New Zealand
Porirua is steeped in Māori history, with great beaches, wetlands and forests around it to discover | © Geoff Marshall / Alamy Stock Photo
The city of Porirua is steeped in Māori history. Home to over 51,000 people, this diverse city is where Polynesian navigator Kupe’s anchor stone was discovered and, with great beaches, wetlands and forests on its doorstep, there’s no shortage of great things to do in the area.
Climb the summit of Rangituhi/Colonial Knob
Take a steep climb up to the summit of Rangituhi/Colonial Knob, 468 metres (1,535ft) above sea level, located in the Colonial Knob Scenic Reserve. This and the nearby Porirua Scenic Reserve serve as protected areas for the most significant area of native forest left in the Tawa-Porirua Basin. From the summit, it is possible to see Mount Taranaki in the north and the Kaikoura range in the south on a clear day. The walk takes three to four hours, and don’t forget to take a jacket as it can get very windy at the top.
View contemporary art at Pātaka Art + Museum
As the cultural heart of Porirua city, Pātaka Art and Museum showcases contemporary art by Māori and Pacific artists, as well as the work of New Zealander, Asian and international artists. The museum has an engaging events and education programme, playing a significant role in the community by creating a space for conversations about race and identity politics. The museum in Porirua hosts several exhibitions at the same time in different galleries. These are open to the public Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm, and on Sunday from 11am to 4.30pm.
Enjoy great views of Titahi Bay at Whitireia Park
Porirua’s 180-hectare (445-acre) Whitireia Park is a great spot to run, walk, swim, kitesurf and dive. Walk up one of the headland trails and enjoy fantastic views of Mana Island and Porirua harbour in Titahi Bay. According to the Greater Wellington Regional Council, the area was dominated by the Māori tribe Ngāti Toa whose chief was Te Rauparaha, and “Evidence of Māori occupation, in the form of kumara (sweet potato)-growing terraces above the cliffs, can still be seen today.”
Learn about the history of fighting crime at the New Zealand Police Museum
Go back in time at the New Zealand Police Museum in Porirua, which contains cultural artefacts from New Zealand’s policing history. Visitors can try on old police uniforms and learn about different vehicles and weapons. The museum also includes exhibits of the country’s most infamous crimes and accounts of what it was like to be in the New Zealand police during World War One. The New Zealand Police Museum in Porirua is open every day, except for Christmas Day and Good Friday, from 10am to 5pm. Entrance is free, but there is a small fee for guided tours and educational activities.
Go on an outdoor adventure at Adrenaline Forest
Park, Sports Center, Amusement Park
Porirua’s Adrenaline Forest adventure tourism venue is packed with action-filled entertainment. A variety of aerial obstacle courses climbing ropes, swinging in the pine tree tops and crossing bridges will get heart rates going. The Adrenaline Forest is open every day during school holidays from 9am to 5pm. Hours vary during the school term – check its website for further details.
Splash out at Papakōwhai, Aotea Lagoon
Natural Feature, Amusement Park
Porirua’s Aotea Lagoon is a public park where families gather to play and enjoy the outdoors. The park has a splash pad with water jets and a watery rainforest to run through, so don’t forget to pack a towel. After running through water, children can climb the Aotea Lagoon Fort, a playground with a climbing rope tower. Take a walk through the Aotea Lagoon rose garden, which is home to 18 different varieties of roses and is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic. There is also a miniature train service that runs on Sundays, weather permitting, from 12pm to 4pm.
These recommendations were updated on July 29, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.