12 Hours Porirua

A flatlay of food and coffee at Local Authority cafe.

If you're visiting Porirua for a day trip, we have the best things to see, eat and do in 12 hours in this city at the southern end of the Kāpiti Coast.  

Just twenty minutes north of Wellington, Porirua is probably most famous for being home to the Whittakers chocolate factory since 1969. However, Porirua is also home to plenty of beautiful walking tracks, outdoor activities, neat cafés, and food trucks and the renowned Pātaka Art + Museum. Here's our guide to the neatest places of Porirua.


Coffee & Breakfast at Local Authority

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shop 1/1 Walton Leigh Avenue, Porirua City Centre, Porirua

First up, head to Local Authority. A pocket-sized coffee spot that packs a punch. Stop by for the best espresso in town, as well as a light breakfast. On the menu are toasted organic rye savoury and sweet options as well as a modern take on the classic New Zealand toastie, and if a liquid breakfast is more your style then the generous smoothie options should fuel you up for the rest of the day.

Culture at Pātaka Art + Museum

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17 Parumoana Street, Porirua City Centre, Porirua

Pātaka Art + Museum is a true gem in the crown that is the valuable resource of Porirua art and history. Open since 1998, the museum and gallery is home to plenty of curious intricacies, cabinets of fine and fancy jewellery, walls of prints, fabric works, photographs and paintings, not to mention impressive Māori and Pacific history. Make your way around the exhibition detailing the story of Whiti Te Rā, both the progress of the iwi, and the bitter conflicts with the colonial government.

You could also pop into the New Zealand Police Museum on Papakowhai Road if you want to continue the learning.

Mid-morning stroll at Karehana Bay Beach

Moana Road, Karehana Bay, Porirua

One of the region's best-kept secrets is Karehana Bay, tucked away in a small nook just north of Plimmerton. Soak up the sun and salty air with a stroll along the length of the beach, and if your legs are keen to keep moving, head across the road and up into the Karehana Bay Scenic Reserve where you'll find more ways to enjoy the natural surrounds, from bird watching to exploring indigenous coastal forest.

Shopping at Enjoy Store

44 Steyne Avenue, Plimmerton, Porirua

Just around the corner from Karehana Bay is Enjoy Store. It's more than a pleasant place to browse home and lifestyle goods – founder and former graphic designer Kate has curated a shop where not only is it easy to support local, but the emphasis on ensuring functionality meets design in a harmonious marriage means that you'll leave feeling inspired.


Lunch at The Big Salami

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2 Steyne Avenue, Plimmerton, Porirua

You're probably more than a little peckish by now. One last stop in Plimmerton will more than satiate that – The Big Salami. This community-feel pizzeria offers calzone, paninis, great coffee and sweet slices as well as, of course, tasty pizza. You'll want to order a few to share; they have a great range of vegetarian, gourmet meat or seafood options as well as the classics.

Move your limbs at Whitireia Park

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Whitireia Road, Tītahi Bay, Porirua

Fancy a walk somewhere that’s really going to blow off the cobwebs? Whitireia Park looks out over Porirua Harbour and those stunning coastal views come hand-in-hand with some good old sea wind that is most likely just what the doctor ordered. Look out to Mana Island and marvel at all this beauty that is 180 hectares of grassland right on your doorstep.

Afternoon refreshment at The Beer Engine

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31 Whitehouse Road, Tītahi Bay, Porirua

The nifty little spot that is The Beer Engine would be hard to miss if it weren't for its bright turquoise shopfront and the almost tangible lively communtiy vibes flowing out. A small batch contract brewery, the cosy taproom showcases the top beers from some of the best breweries around the country, spectacular wines from small producers and spirits crafted locally (from Wellington through to Kāpiti). The space was designed with beer-lovers in mind – it's a craft beer experience like nothing else – you'll no doubt spy some familiar names on tap as well as never-before-seen products from brand new producers. 


Close up of thai green curry and other dishes from Tuk Tuk Thai.

Dinner at Tuk Tuk Thai Restaurant

15 Hartham Place North, Porirua

A popular restaurant, Tuk Tuk provides its customers with delicious Thai food without having to leave Porirua for the big smoke. The owner's intention is for Tuk Tuk Thai to be the central connection for people to meet from the likes of Kapiti Coast, Hutt City, and Wellington and have a great night out. In terms of meals, crowd favourites are the Pad Thai and green curry. Every now and then they roll out a crispy pork dish which is also a big hit with locals.

Watch a film at Light House Cinema

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3 Paekakariki Hill Rd, Pauatahanui, Pāuatahanui

Sibling to same-named cinemas in both the CBD and Petone, Light House Pauatahanui is the only independent movie spot for some miles around. Those living in the area who are partial to watching the big screen have every opportunity to keep up to date with the latest in film.

The mix of blockbuster and independent films screening here means there’s something for any type of movie fan, while student discounts, mums and bubs screenings and fundraising films ensure this is a community spot through and through.