Kapiti Coast Travel Guide

Located just 45 minutes north of Wellington city, the Kapiti Coast is a popular playground for Wellingtonians.  The area takes its name from Kapiti Island, which lies off the coast of Paraparaumu. Kapiti island is a nature reserve and bird sanctuary which protects some of the world's rarest and most endangered species.

Those who have trouble speaking Maori will be pleased to know that the word Kapiti has been abbreviated from Te Waewae-Kapiti-o-Tara-raua-ko-Rangitane, meaning the junction line of the boundaries between the Ngai Tara and Rangitane tribal lands.

The Kapiti Coast extends 30km from Otaki in the north to Paekakariki in the south, offering visitors a scenic backdrop of long sandy beaches, steep hills, bush, lakes and rivers. Townships include Te Horo, Otaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu, Raumati, and Paekakariki. Waikanae has recently been awarded Keep New Zealand's Beautiful's Most Beautiful Town. This place is well worth a visit with galleries, stunning views, wonderful walks, a glorious beach and welcoming cafes.

From the northern gateway of Otaki you can head inland for hiking and hunting in the Tararua Ranges, or enjoy kayaking and whitewater rafting on the Otaki River. The beautiful beaches of Otaki, Waikanae, Paraparaumu, Raumati and Paekakariki stretch down the coast, providing surfing and fishing opportunities, and magnificent views out to Kapiti Island. 

Kapiti Island is one of the treasures of Kapiti Coast, and visitors to this island sanctuary will get the chance to view some wonderful native birdlife, including kiwi, tui, weka, and kereru, the native New Zealand wood pigeon.

The Kapiti Coast’s main centre is Paraparaumu, with its busy shopping centre, and nearby, the light grey sands of Paparaumu Beach are great for ideal for walking, jogging, swimming and beachcombing.

You’ll find a huge range of attractions on the Kapiti Coast, including an emu farm, horse riding, historic tramcars, cheese tasting and a chocolate shop.
Nature Coast - guide to Kapiti-Horowhenua region

Geographic Location

On the west side of the Lower North Island, north of Wellington.  Separated from Wairarapa to the east by the Rimutaka and Tararua ranges. 




The Kapiti Coast has a relatively sunny sheltered climate for this part of the country, protected by the hills on Kapiti Island to the west and the Tararua ranges to the east.  Daily temperatures in summer average 23 degrees celcius, while winter daily temperatures average 11 celcius.  Average rainfall is 977-1091mm per year.