Frequently Asked Questions
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What should I bring for a day trip to Kapiti Island?
Clothing & other essentials
Whatever time of year you visit it’s always a good idea to bring a good walking shoes or boots, a water bottle, your camera and a small backpack to carry your lunch & any spare clothes. The weather can be changeable so wearing clothing you can layer is recommended. We’d also suggest bringing a light jacket, sunhat & sunscreen - the New Zealand sun can be quite strong.
We can arrange a packed lunch for you if requested in advance, otherwise you’ll need to bring some food to keep you going. There isn’t anywhere on Kapiti Island that you can buy food.
If you book the “Ferry Only” option with Kapiti Island Nature Tours we can easily add a packed lunch (catering to any dietary requirements) - please call or email us to arrange.
If you book a “Day Tour” with Kapiti Island Nature Tours this will include a delicious cooked lunch at the Lodge. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements so we can cater to them.
The birds can be very cheeky (especially the Kaka!) so the Department of Conservation (DOC) ask that you keep all food in sealed containers. Open bags of food are not allowed on the island.
Extra seasonal items
From December - March you could bring a swimsuit. There are good swimming spots at Waiorua Bay (if you’re visiting the North End) & off Rangatira point (if you’re visiting the Nature Reserve in the middle of the island).
From April - November you might also want to bring a warm hat.
We’d recommend you check the weather forecast before your visit too.
What should I bring for an overnight stay on Kapiti Island?
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.
We’d recommend a warm fleecy jacket or top for kiwi spotting - it’s important to be as quiet as possible as “noisy” clothing (eg. nylon jacket or pants, jandals or flip flops) can disturb the kiwi.
Where do I check in?
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.
Where can I park my vehicle at Paraparaumu Beach?
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.
What facilities are available on Kapiti Island?
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.
What sort of weather should I expect?
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
How do I get to Kapiti Island?
To get to the island you must book transport with an authorised provider. The ferry departs from Paraparaumu Beach at approximately 9am each day. We’ll confirm your check-in & sailing time when you book.
The boat ride across the flourishing Marine Reserve takes around 20 minutes.
Private vessels such as kayaks, boats, paddle boards & jet skis are not allowed to land on Kapiti Island.
Kapiti Island is a popular destination all year round, so booking in advance is essential especially during the peak summer season.
When can I visit Kapiti Island?
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.
What happens if my trip is cancelled due to bad weather?
We will do our best to get you to Kapiti Island, however safety is paramount! If your trip is cancelled by the ferry skipper due to unsafe sea or weather conditions you can transfer your booking to another available date or request a full refund.
What happens if I need to cancel my trip?
We understand that plans change - so please call or email us if you need to change or cancel your trip. If you cancel more than 14 days before your arrival date we will give you a full refund. If you cancel within 14 days of your arrival date we will refund 75% of your total booking price. If you cancel within 1 day of your arrival date, or don’t turn up on the day we won’t give you a refund at all.
What time does the ferry sail?
The ferry departs Paraparaumu Beach at approximately 9am & departs Kapiti Island at approximately 3pm. Exact times may vary depending on the number of sailings we have on a particular day. You’ll receive an email with full details of your check-in & ferry sailing time once you book. If you’re able to supply a mobile number we also send text confirmation the morning of your sailing.
Can I fish or gather seafood at the Lodge?
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, some spare hooks & sinkers. (for fishing off a stony beach)
The area directly in front of the Lodge is a paua nursery so is great for snorkelling, but not for gathering paua.
Can I swim at the Lodge?
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.
Are there mosquitoes on Kapiti Island?
Kapiti Island is not affected by mosquitoes in the Summer months, although as with anywhere in New Zealand, once the damper weather arrives we do experience a small increase in mosquito activity. They seem to bother some people more than others so if you’re susceptible we recommend bringing insect repellent.
Can I take home a memento from my trip?
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 Kapiti Island Manuka Honey.
Is wifi available?
While we encourage our visitors to ‘unplug’ & immerse themselves in experiencing Aotearoa as it would have been hundreds of years ago, we do understand that sometimes you need to be able to go online to make a booking or check a reservation. Please call or email us if you’d like to know more.
Is smoking allowed?
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. Full visitor guidelines are available here.
Do you take group bookings?
We sure do - please call or email us to discuss your needs. We’d love to tailor a memorable visit for your group.
Do you do Christmas parties or corporate events?
We do indeed - please call or email us to discuss your needs. We’d love to tailor something memorable for your group.
Can I hire the Lodge as a venue?
Over the years we’ve hosted a few different events from corporate off-sites to yoga retreats and weaving workshops - please call or email us to discuss your needs. We love collaborating with like-minded businesses.
Can I bring a portable BBQ and cook my own lunch on Kapiti Island?
Unfortunately not. Due to high fire risk barbecues & portable stoves are banned on Kapiti Island.
Is Kapiti Island predator-free?
It is! We’re proud to have been predator-free since 1996 & take our responsibility keeping Kapiti Island predator-free very seriously. You'll learn more about the unique conservation history of the island in the Introductory Briefing with an expert local guide when you arrive on Kapiti Island.
What kind of biosecurity checks are involved?
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 is free of pests and plant material including seeds and foliage. For more information please check out the Department of Conservation Visitor Guidelines.
Is Kapiti Island wheelchair accessible?
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.
Can I bring my pram to Kapiti Island?
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.
Do you cater to specific dietary requirements?
Absolutely. Our experienced chef is happy to cater to those with allergies or who follow a gluten-free diet, are pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan, paleo and so on. Please let us know in advance what your needs are.
How long will it take to drive to Paraparaumu Beach from Wellington?
The drive from Wellington City to Paraparaumu Beach takes approximately 40 minutes. On public holidays or long weekends traffic can be a little slow - we’d suggest checking with Google Maps for real-time traffic information.
Where should I stay the night before or after my visit to Kapiti Island?
It’s entirely up to you! Paraparaumu Beach is approximately 40 minutes drive North from Wellington City. If you’d rather not drive we offer an inclusive day tour which departs Wellington City at 7am & returns to the City by approximately 6pm (traffic dependent). There’s also some great accommodation options near Paraparaumu Beach including Copperfield Seaside Motel, Wrights by the Sea and Kapiti Court Motel.