A Kapiti Island Visit

My friend Hellen always has her eye on daily deal sites like GrabOne on the look out for fun activities and new places to eat.  Not so long ago she saw a voucher for Kapiti Island Nature Tours and invited me along. For $110 each we were promised a Kapiti Island visit including transport by ferry, a guided walk among incredible scenery, native bushland and birdlife, and to be provided with a fresh, locally caught meal of ika (fish) and chips along with other fresh fare, salads and desert.

I’d been to Kapiti Island once before on a school trip but remembered little more than it pouring with rain and there not being much shelter.

Kapiti Island from Paraparaumu Beach

Our Kapiti Island Visit

At 4.45pm on a Sunday evening we checked in at the Kapiti Boating Club (about 40 minutes up State Highway 1 from Wellington) where we watched a video about Kapiti Island before jumping on a boat for the 5km trip to Waiorua Bay at the north end of the island.

A local family who have lived on the island (I hadn’t realised people lived there!) since the 1820’s run Kapiti Island Nature Tours. We were met by a guide as the boat berthed and wandered to a shelter to learn about the conservation works and flora and fauna. Our guide was genuine, lovely and extremely knowledgeable.

Our barefoot guide during our Kapiti Island visit

Kapiti Island is now a nature reserve but in its time has been the site of tribal significance, commercial whaling and farmland before the eradication of pests and predators.

On our walk we saw Tui, Kaka, Weka, Saddlebacks, North Island Robins amongst other birds. It was very cool to see native birds at home in their natural, undisturbed environment and what New Zealand was like prior to civilisation. So peaceful!

I’m no stranger to Tui – two of them hang out in my garden, but there was one yellow Pohutokawa tree which must have had a dozen of them flitting about in the branches. None of them stayed still enough for me to be able to take their photo.

I felt that at 14 (plus guide) our group was too big. Particularly if you were trying to take photos, as soon as the back of the group caught up with those of us making an effort to be near the front, the birds were scared off.

Kaka on Kapiti Island
Kaka

A few particularly aggressive Kaka jumped on the shoulders of outside diners and in several cases, came away with food.Back at the lodge the meal went above and beyond my expectations – firstly by providing wine and snacks to socialise over at the lodge while waiting for our meal, and then by the standard of the food. I only felt sorry for the kitchen hands as without being on a town water supply, there surely can’t  be a dishwasher.

Dinner View on Kapiti Island
Dinner View on Kapiti Island

Our boat returned to collect us at 8.30pm and we were delivered safely back to where we came from. I could have happily stayed much longer!

Kapiti Island Nature Tours offer a range of tours for a Kapiti Island visit including overnight trips. Have you been? Or even heard of it? Are there similar conservation projects where you live? Pin the image below for later.

exploring kapiti Island

15 Comments

  1. January 10, 2015 / 11:05 pm

    Wow great! You definitely should visit a nature reserve while you’re here – it’s like stepping back in time to see what New Zealand was like before settlement.

  2. January 10, 2015 / 11:03 pm

    haha they got a bit too close really!

  3. January 9, 2015 / 4:17 am

    New Zealand holds a special place in my heart with many of my extended family originating from the North Island. My travels there haven’t yet seen us leave the mainland for any of the outer islands but I think you’ve convinced me we should try to include a few offshore day trips next time. I like the idea of getting up and close to the kaka birds. #teamwanderlust

  4. January 9, 2015 / 4:17 pm

    New Zealand holds a special place in my heart with many of my extended family originating from the North Island. My travels there haven’t yet seen us leave the mainland for any of the outer islands but I think you’ve convinced me we should try to include a few offshore day trips next time. I like the idea of getting up and close to the kaka birds. #teamwanderlust

  5. January 8, 2015 / 8:40 am

    I haven’t heard of Kapiiti! I am hoping to head to the North Island of NZ this year and you have wet my apetite to find out more about it. #teamwanderlust

  6. January 8, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    I haven’t heard of Kapiiti! I am hoping to head to the North Island of NZ this year and you have wet my apetite to find out more about it. #teamwanderlust

    • January 11, 2015 / 11:05 am

      Wow great! You definitely should visit a nature reserve while you’re here – it’s like stepping back in time to see what New Zealand was like before settlement.

  7. January 7, 2015 / 11:05 am

    What a beautiful place this looks like. Love the wildlife! I’ve never heard of Kapiti either. Definitely seems like it’s worth a visit!

  8. January 7, 2015 / 12:34 am

    I’ve never heard of Kapiiti before, sounds like a great trip though, will definitely pop it on my list for my next trip that way.

  9. January 7, 2015 / 12:34 pm

    I’ve never heard of Kapiiti before, sounds like a great trip though, will definitely pop it on my list for my next trip that way.

  10. January 6, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    We will be visiting Wellington in a couple of weeks. I had never heard of Kapiti Island but I’m off to Google it now – thanks.

  11. January 7, 2015 / 9:35 am

    We will be visiting Wellington in a couple of weeks. I had never heard of Kapiti Island but I’m off to Google it now – thanks.

  12. Samantha Minny
    December 29, 2014 / 9:00 pm

    I love the idea that locals give the tours.
    We have Kawiti Glow Worm Caves near us and it’s run by the family that have lived on the land for like 100 years and they know everything there is to know about the area. It gives you such a good idea about the whole place and everything that’s there.
    Looks like a great little mini break and a real win with the Grabone voucher!

    • December 29, 2014 / 11:15 pm

      Oh wow Lawiti Glow Worm Caves sound awesome! Guided attractions with locals who really know the area are the best aren’t they – truly authentic.