Posted by Pat Heffernan on Sep 19, 2018
Earlier this year we decided to spend a weekend on the Kapiti Coast . We booked a day trip to Kapiti Island with Kapiti Island Nature Tours.

Our ticket included the permit required to land on the island. Only 160 people are allowed per day.  We checked in at a café where our bags were checked for pests and any seeds on shoes. We then assembled at the Kapiti Boating Club at Paraparaumu Beach at 9.00am.  The boat was on a huge trailer attached to a tractor on the beach. There was about 15 on the tour. We were towed into the surf and once off the trailer, on our way.  The tour guide gave us a strict run down on the rules while on the island.

The boat ride took 30 minutes.  Kapiti Island is 5km from the mainland. It is 10 km long and 2 km wide and covers 1,965 hectares. It is internationally renown sanctuary for NZ native birds, native forest and NZ wildlife and it is a marine reserve.

During the 1820’s it had up to 5 commercial whaling stations and 2,000 people living on the island.  They processed the meat in large blubber pots and some have been restored and can be still seen.  The NZ government has managed the island for over 100 years to protect its flora and fauna.  As a well-known bird sanctuary it is blessed in abundance with native and endangered species like the little spotted kiwi and kaka.  The Marine Reserve has abundant sea life with blue moki, kingfish, seals and dolphins.

On arrival we were taken to an information shelter where we met our passionate guide for the day.  He is a descendent of a Maori tribe that have been living there since the 1820’s.  We were taken on a nature walk and shown kiwi burrows where the little brown kiwi live.

We spent the morning exploring the northern end and visiting the Okupe Lagoon which is a fresh water lake.  We were constantly looking and listening  for birds.  We hiked up the ridgeback to cliff tops overlooking the northern Kapiti Coast.

A delicious cooked lunch was prepared for us and we sat outside looking over to the mainland.  We had to ensure our bags and personal belongings were out of the reach of the roaming weka and kaka.

After lunch we were taken on a walk through the accommodation available for overnight stays, that included cabins and glamping.  We were most impressed with Kapiti island Nature Tours and they are worthy of the NZ Tourism Award they received in 2017.