Pāuatahanui Wildlife Reserve

Stay and explore key icon.
Stay and explore key icon.

Monday8:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Tuesday8:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Wednesday8:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Thursday8:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Friday8:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Saturday8:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Sunday8:00 am – 6:00 pm.

Paekakariki Hill Road, Pāuatahanui

Originally developed as a sanctuary for birds and other creatures populating the area, the Pāuatahanui Wildlife Reserve doubles as a quiet retreat for humans as well.

An expansive and tranquil spot tucked away just north of Whitby, the reserve spans around 50 hectares and boasts some of the lower North Island’s most significant salt marsh. Over the years, volunteers have worked tirelessly to restore the fragile wetlands, allowing people to visit and enjoy the reserve in harmony with its natural fauna.

It’s an attractive trip that’s suited to all kinds of visitors. Well-maintained boardwalks mean you can feel free to pack the buggy and bring the whole family. The accessible tracks are also wheelchair-friendly. There’s a huge range of ways you can approach the reserve, whether you only have time for a short stroll or would rather explore by bike. You can even connect on to Te Ara Piko, which takes explorers around the inlet.

One of the reserve’s most popular features is its strategically placed viewing hides, from where you can discreetly observe the birds. Take your time meandering around the trails to appreciate the effort that’s been put into the reserve—shallow ponds have been created specifically for wading birds—and there’s even a plant nursery.

A well-equipped visitor information centre and a picnic area round out the excellent facilities on offer, ensuring you have everything you need for a solid day out in Porirua.

Words by John Son & Photography by Anna Briggs

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Paekakariki Hill Road, Pāuatahanui

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