Kāpiti CoastWellington Regional Trails
Walking over a bridge on the Waikanae river trail.
Two people sitting on a bench looking out at Kapiti Island over the native bush on the Te Au Track, in Hemi Matenga Reserve.
Person walking down the steps on the Escarpment Track.
Four people ride bicycles on a path in Queen Elizabeth Regional Park in the Paraparaumu, New Zealand surrounded by nature.
Two people hold hands and walk on a path in the Queen Elizabeth Park Regional Park located on the Kāpiti Coast in New Zealand. The ocean and Kapiti Island are visible in the background.
An adult and two children walk along a path in a lush valley with mountains in the background.
Walking over a bridge on the Waikanae river trail.

Waikanae River Trail

One of the more popular tracks within the Kāpiti region, the Waikanae River Trail offers something for walkers, runners, horse riders, or bikers. There are also plenty of safe and shallow swimming areas if you want a dip to cool off.

Following the river from Otaihanga to Waikanae, it’s an easy track that can be completed in small sections or all together. If you choose to walk the full 9km loop, it takes about 2.5 hours to complete.

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Two people sitting on a bench looking out at Kapiti Island over the native bush on the Te Au Track, in Hemi Matenga Reserve.

Hemi Matenga Scenic Reserve

Covering 30 hectares of native forest, Hemi Matenga Scenic Reserve is one of the largest remaining areas of kohekohe forest in New Zealand. Forming part of an ecosystem network that links Kapiti Island with the Tararua Range, the reserve offers sweeping views of The Kāpiti Coast and Waikanae Estuary.

There are numerous walking and tramping tracks of various lengths and difficulty, including the easy Kohekohe Walk (30min loop), the steep bush-walk, Parata Track (1 to 2 hours return), or the more challenging tramping track, Te Au Track (2 to 4 hours return).

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Person walking down the steps on the Escarpment Track.

Escarpment Track

Get away from the city for one of the best trails Wellington has to offer. Dubbed “Stairway to Heaven,” the Escarpment Track zigs and zags above State Highway 1 with its challenging but rewarding 1,200 steps.

Running between Paekākāriki and Pukerua Bay, it offers a unique trail experience in the form of swing bridges and spectacular views of Kapiti Island. Pack the essentials and make a day of this 9km track. The steps are steep and not recommended for those with vertigo, but the views make it an experience to remember.

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Four people ride bicycles on a path in Queen Elizabeth Regional Park in the Paraparaumu, New Zealand surrounded by nature.

Coast 35

The 35km trail is popular with walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders and features dunes, wetlands, bridges, tunnels, tram crossings and underpasses.

From Coast 35, you can access the Waikanae and Ōtaki River trails and local roads. You can divert to Ngā Manu Nature Reserve in Waikanae, Southwards Car Museum at Otaihanga or the Tote Modern in Ōtaki. Or pay a visit to a cafe in Paekākāriki, Harrisons Garden World café in Peka Peka and Ruth Pretty’s Garden Café in Te Horo.

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Two people hold hands and walk on a path in the Queen Elizabeth Park Regional Park located on the Kāpiti Coast in New Zealand. The ocean and Kapiti Island are visible in the background.

Queen Elizabeth Park Coastal Track

This coastal track winds through sand dunes between Paekākāriki and Raumati South. The sea, inland hills, and Kapiti Island will be a constant companion. On a clear day, you can see as far south as the South Island and north to Mount Ruapehu and Mount Taranaki.

The well-maintained wide track is sign-posted. Keep an eye out for the birds commonly seen in the coastal habitat, including tūī, wax eye, fantail, goldfinch, yellowhammer, oystercatchers, and the more exotic white-faced heron.

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An adult and two children walk along a path in a lush valley with mountains in the background.

Ōtaki River Trail

Follow the banks of the Ōtaki River on this popular walking and mountain biking trail, offering views of the coastline, river, and the Tararua Range.

Generally considered an easy route, the gravel track starts from the river mouth at Ōtaki beachfront and continues past State Highway 1 all the way to a lagoon at Chrystalls Bend Walkway. This track is for all fitness levels and is perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

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