Waikanae: A delightful beachside community

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

Waikanae’s southern border traces the contours of the Waikanae River from the foothills of the Hemi Matanga Scenic Reserve to a long, sandy beach. Waikanae has wide leafy streets, beach promenades, excellent salt and freshwater swimming spots, and good food offerings.

A popular destination for swimming, fishing, kayaking, kite surfing and sand sailing, Waikanae Beach has something to offer the whole family. Stroll along the wide sandy beach, stop and play at the beach-side park or play a round of tennis at the courts next door.

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The Waikanae River Trail and adjoining estuary is a nationally significant area, and home to many native bird species. The flat gravel pathway runs along both sides of the Waikanae River, past safe swimming areas. The locals opt for a swimming hole opposite the side track to Otaraua Park. You can also head to Nga Manu Nature Reserve, which offers the coast a peaceful place to learn about and experience close encounters with native wildlife and fauna.

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab some from Olde Beach Bakery, Long Beach Tavern, or Hey Coastie. Quench your thirst with locally brewed beer at Salt and Wood Collective.