People walking along the sand dune path onto Paraparaumu beach at sunset, Kapiti island seen offshore.

With the biggest population and the greatest number of shops and services, Paraparaumu is the unofficial capital of the Kāpiti Coast. But there’s plenty to do besides shopping and eating.

Like other towns in the area, Paraparaumu hosts a variety of walks, bikes and other outdoor activities. Due to its size, it’s also a great place to stock up ahead of any planned adventure. The Coastlands shopping centre has more than 50 stores, supermarkets and a cinema, with many more surrounding it.

Just five minutes’ drive from the town centre is the Southward Car Museum. Housing some of the world’s rarest and most valuable vehicles, this museum is considered the premier privately-owned automotive collection in the Southern Hemisphere.

Follow the main road west headed directly to Kapiti Island to find yourself at Paraparaumu Beach. Here, even the streets set back from the waterfront smell of salt and ring with the calls of gulls.

Paraparaumu Beach is where you can board a boat to Kapiti Island, one of the most important nature reserves in the country. Linking all towns of the Kāpiti Coast together is the Coast 35 trail which you can explore on foot, horseback or bike. Shoot a course record at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, grab a coffee from the village and enjoy it on the sand, or dine at the many restaurants beside the beach.

Unable to render element