Kāpiti CoastSee & Do
Drone shot of kapiti island from the north end, where it is shaped like a heart.

Kapiti Island

  • Location

    Kāpiti Boating Club, Paraparaumu, Kāpiti Coast

  • Website

    Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island is one of New Zealand’s oldest and most important nature reserves, and a place rich in human history. A dominant feature of the Kāpiti coastline, the island is home to many endangered species.

The local Barrett are based at the north end of the island. They are descendants of people who arrived and settled in the 1820s. The family continues to live on the island as custodians and have been welcoming visitors to the island for generations.

2 poeple sit outside in the sun, on thre balcony of their tent cabin, on Kapiti Island.

Kapiti Island is a 20-minute boat ride from Paraparaumu Beach, across the waters of Rau ō Te Rangi. Visitors can spend a day exploring the island or opt to stay overnight with the option to go glamping or stay in a cabin for an authentic Kiwi lodge experience. The night stay includes an opportunity to go out and catch a glimpse of one of 1,400 little spotted kiwi who call Kapiti Island home.

On the day tours you’ll learn about how the Barrett whānau work with the Department of Conservation to keep the island free of introduced predators — while in the background you’ll hear native birds including kākā, kererū, and kokako. The summit of the island is a steep climb but it’s worth it for the incredible views out over the ocean. You’re also likely to encounter some cheeky weka on the way. Today, Kapiti Island, Waikanae Estuary, and the marine reserve in between create a very rare continuum of protected land, sea, and estuary habitats. With two reserves linked by a marine reserve, animals that move between shore, sea, and river habitats get special protection.