Clothing & other essentials
Whatever time of year you visit, there are a few essentials we always recommend:
Extra seasonal items
In the height of summer (December to March) you could bring a swimsuit. There are good swimming spots at Waiorua Bay and Rangatira Point.
In the cooler months (April to November) you might want to bring a warm hat and extra layer of clothing.
We’d recommend you check the weather forecast before your visit too.
Please report to our check-in desk, located in the 180 Degrees Cafe, The Pier Complex, 12/18 Marine Parade, Paraparaumu Beach at least 30 minutes before your scheduled sailing time.
When you get off Te Aihe on the island, a guide will be waiting to meet you. There is no need to check in when you disembark.
There are no restaurants, cafes, or shops to buy food on Kapiti Island.
If you’ve booked the Guided Walk + Lunch package, you’re already covered for a satisfying midday meal. Other than letting us know your dietary requirements in advance, there’s nothing you need to do but show up to enjoy our delicious buffet lunch.
If you’ve booked the Bare Bones package, we can still arrange a packed lunch for you for an additional fee. Just let us know in advance, so we can have it ready on the day.
If you prefer to cater for yourself, food you bring to the island must be in sealed containers. Please remember to take all your rubbish and wrappers with you when you leave the island. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.
We ask that you do not feed the birds–and we know they can be pretty convincing!
There is a free public car park available at the Kapiti Boating Club. This car park is directly in front of the boating clubrooms. There are also free public car parks to the left of the Boating Club near the park & playground area. These are clearly marked. You aren’t able to park on the beach – beach access is restricted to vehicles launching or retrieving boats.
We encourage you to keep luggage to a minimum for an overnight stay.
As a starting point you’ll want to bring the same items as above for a day trip, plus a towel and your bathroom necessities.
We provide all bedding & have lots of extra blankets available if the night is chilly.
For our nightly kiwi spotting walks, we also recommend a warm fleecy jacket or top, and comfortable trackpants / sweatpants / leggings. At night, we are in stealth mode, and noisy clothing–like nylon jackets, rain jackets, puffer jackets, jandals, and wet weather pants–can give us away pretty quick.
In the Nature Reserve at Rangatira point in the middle of the island there are toilets & a public shelter. Fresh drinking water is available at the visitor shelter.
At the North End of the island there are toilets & a public shelter. It isn’t currently possible to walk from Rangatira to the North End.
Also at the North End there is an area of privately owned land with a few whanau (family) houses on it. This is where the Kapiti Island Nature Tours Lodge is located. At the Lodge there are toilets & showers for visitors staying overnight. As Kapiti Island is so remote our tap water comes from rainwater storage tanks & is carefully managed in Summer months.
There are no public cooking or camping facilities for use on the island.
Kapiti Island is home to many of our native species, and they’re all wild and free. As such, we can’t guarantee you’ll see everything.
If you’d especially like to see one species in particular, please talk to our team–we can offer advice on where (and when) you may have the best chance. For example, at the moment our only Takahe are at Rangatira Point. Little Spotted Kiwi are everywhere–this is their stronghold, after all–but they only come out at night. If it’s Kaka you want to see up close and personal, we recommend the lodge at lunchtime–but remember: no feeding the birds!
The climate on Kapiti Island is generally warm & temperate. Rainfall peaks from June – August. The driest months are generally January – March.
September – November
Spring with cool to warm days & cold to cool nights
Low: 8°C High: 18°C
December – February
Summer with warm to hot days & cool to warm nights
Low: 12°C High: 22°C
March – May
Autumn with cool to warm days & cool nights
Low: 8°C High: 20°C
June – August
Winter with cool to cold days & cold nights
Low: 4°C High: 14°C
To get to the island you must book transport with an authorised provider. If you are travelling to Rangatira–in the middle of the island–you have two providers to choose from. If you are travelling to Waiorua Bay–at the north end of the island–you need to book on Te Aihe.
Private vessels are not allowed to land on Kapiti Island for any reason.
The ferry departs from Paraparaumu Beach at approximately 9am each day. We’ll confirm your check-in & sailing time when you book, and again on the morning of your sailing.
The boat ride across the flourishing Marine Reserve takes around 20 minutes.
Kapiti Island is a popular destination all year round, so booking in advance is essential especially during the peak summer season.
A trip to Kapiti Island is dependent on sea & weather conditions. Kapiti Island Nature Tours operate from September 1st to June 30th.
Sailings are usually daily from October to May, and Friday to Sunday in September & June, depending on visitor demand. This can vary though, so please don’t hesitate to call or email us to check availability.
Between Christmas & New Year we close the Lodge for whanau (family) time but the ferry continues to operate for day trips only, aside from on statutory holidays.
Yes – Waiorua Bay sits outside of the Marine Reserve. We can supply fishing rods & suggest a good spot to set up on the shore. You will need to bring your own bait, and some spare hooks & sinkers for fishing of a stony beach.
The area directly in front of the lodge is a paua nursery. Gathering paua is not permitted here.
The 1hr guided walk includes information on Kapiti Island history, flora, fauna, conservation past & present, interpretation about birds including help with identification and specific bird behaviours.
We subscribe to the “take only pictures, leave only footprints” kaupapa. Everything on the island is protected by the Department of Conservation so you won’t be able to remove or interfere with anything, including plant material, feathers, insects, lizards, birds and shells.
We do however have some beautiful cards by local photographers available for purchase at the Lodge, as well as other cool gifts like these.
You can – Waiorua Bay is a stony beach with crystal clear waters. The area directly in front of the Lodge is usually quite calm. Please speak to one of our friendly team at the Lodge to check conditions on the day & let them know where you’ll be swimming.
Since 1963 there’s also been an annual swim from Kapiti Island back to the Mainland.
Smoking, including electronic cigarettes, is not allowed on Kapiti Island with one exception – a sign-posted location at the water’s edge directly in front of the Lodge.
A visit to Kapiti Island is a back to nature experience, where you can imagine how Aotearoa would have been hundreds of years ago.
The island has mobile phone coverage if you need to make phone calls or check emails. If you really need WiFi access during your stay, please arrange this with us when you book.
It is! We’re proud to have been predator-free since 1996 & take our responsibility for keeping Kapiti Island predator-free very seriously. You’ll learn more about the unique conservation history of the island from an expert local guide, when you arrive on Kapiti Island.
No, you cannot. Due to high fire risk barbecues & portable stoves are banned on Kapiti Island.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) are working to make as many tracks as possible in New Zealand accessible to all visitors, however the tracks on Kapiti Island are not wheelchair accessible. Both landing points at Kapiti Island require visitors to cross a stony beach. Please click here to learn more about DOC’s track categories.
On the morning of your trip we’ll guide you through the process of checking all items to ensure that your clothing, footwear and luggage are free of pests and plant material including seeds and foliage.
For more information please check out the Department of Conservation Visitor Guidelines.
Of course! Our chefs can cater to a variety of medical, ethical, and religious dietary plans. They regularly plan meals that are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, and those who require gluten-free meal options. Please let us know your requirements at time of booking.
Most visitors who come to Kapiti Island with kids prefer to bring a carrier to transport their wee ones as the tracks are not designed with a pram in mind. We have limited space on the ferry, but may be able to accommodate a pram on a quieter day though – please phone or email us to discuss your requirements.