Bites, Beers and Beaches: The Porirua Edition
Nothing beats a cold brew and a good feed after a hot summer's day at the beach.
Words by: Nicola Amy Hinman
Photos by: Anna Briggs
Known for its great beaches and chilled vibes, Porirua epitomises everything there is to love about a great Kiwi summer. For day trips and summer roadies, Porirua has all the goods: gorgeous beaches, local craft beer, and some truly legendary street food-style joints.
Whether you’re the adventurous type or just keen on a relaxing day by the sea you won’t be disappointed. Get into holiday mode and enjoy the very best that Porirua has to offer.
24 Bay Drive, Tītahi Bay, Porirua
The most popular beach in the Porirua area has got to be Tītahi Bay. This much-loved sandy beach is a favourite of surfers, swimmers and beach walkers alike. Historic boatsheds line the shore, and the picturesque bay boasts beautiful views of Mana and Kapiti Islands.
On calmer days, the water here is ideal for paddleboarding, while other days bring waves perfect for whipping out the surfboard or a spot of kitesurfing. Snorkelling and fishing are two popular pastimes at Tītahi Bay, and this lifeguard-patrolled beach is always an excellent choice for a dip.
Nothing is better than a cold brew after a long day of sun baking and wave jumping. Wind up your beach day by shouting your mates a round at The Beer Engine. With a range of small-batch craft beers from local New Zealand makers, this premium beer experience will feel every bit as good as it tastes.
For a spot of brunch before you hit the sand, you can’t go past T Bay Café. Established in 2020 to serve the local community, this neighbourhood cafe embodies everything that makes Tītahi Bay so special. Then, if you find yourself a little peckish between dips, mere metres from the water's edge, you’ll find Aloha Friday serving up all the goods you need.
Whitireia Road, Tītahi Bay, Porirua
Home to some truly stunning coastline, Whitireia Park boasts breathtaking views of Porirua Harbour and an incredible collection of beaches, cliffs, bays, and rocky coves. Favourites among these include the serene Shelly Bay Beach and the gorgeous Onehunga Bay.
Both beaches are great for all manner of water activities. Swimming, kitesurfing, paddleboarding, fishing, snorkelling, and windsurfing are all popular pursuits on the uncrowded beaches of Whitireia Park. With such impressive views, there could be no better place for a picnic with friends and an afternoon exploring the rugged coastline.
For a deliciously authentic and satisfying picnic lunch, grab a good feed from The Little Goat and head out to one of Whitirea Park's charming beaches. Or stop by T Bay Cafe on your way for a scrumptious brunch with a good dose of local hospitality. After exploring all that Whitireia Park has to offer, pop over to The Beer Engine in Tītahi Bay and enjoy a cold brew with a nice feed from their Curry and Chill menu.
2 Beach Road, Plimmerton, Porirua
The beachside suburb of Plimmerton has some top-notch foodie spots, so there’s no need to suffer through soggy sandwiches and warm sodas on your next trip to Plimmerton Beach. Make a day of it and stop into Backyard Cafe for a relaxing brunch before hitting the sand. Then, later on, pick up some local fried goodness from Plimmerton Fish Supply to gobble down before enjoying a little beach siesta.
Plimmerton isn’t just a great beach for a swim, the southern end is also a dedicated windsurfing area. Some world-champion windsurfers have trained here on Plimmerton beach, and it’s an ideal spot to try your hand at the sport for the first time. The gentle waves also make Plimmerton a perfect location for beginner surfers and a safe swimming spot for everyone.
With beautiful views of Mana Island and the Marlborough Sounds, you’ll definitely want to stay and enjoy the sunset. Sometimes beachgoers are even lucky enough to spot Orca whales from the shore. For more great views of the local area, the nearby Taua Tapu Track is a nice easy walk.
Karehana Bay Beach
Moana Road, Karehana Bay, Porirua
Just a short drive from the café hub of Plimmerton, you’ll find a local favourite - Karehana Bay. Popular with families, this flat sandy beach is a great swimming spot with its calm waters and beautiful coastline. Bring a snorkel for underwater adventures or water shoes to explore the many tidal rock pools.
If you’d rather be on the water than in it, Karehana Bay is a gorgeous area for sailing and great for launching your boat. For those who love to soak up the rays, there are plenty of sandy areas to get comfy and come evening, the beach provides an ideal spot for sunset gazing.
You’ll need plenty of sustenance for a day of swimming and exploring. Make sure you pop by Plimmerton Deli to pick up all the homemade picnic goodies for an excellent beach day. For a post-swim feed, the friendly folk at The Big Salami will welcome you, sandy bare feet and all, and knock you up some fabulous pizzas.
4 Mana Esplanade, Paremata, Porirua
Beautifully clear water and a vista of rolling green hills make Paremata Beach an idyllic destination for a day in the sun. Also known as Dolly Varden Beach, this local gem is an excellent spot for water sports, beach walks and relaxing European-style picnics. The warm shallow bay makes for a tranquil spot to laze around in the calm waters.
For adventurers and active resters, there are plenty of nearby walking and biking trails to keep you entertained. Foiling is becoming a popular local watersport as is paddleboarding, and doing cannonballs off the jetty will never get old.
Head into town and grab your weekend coffee and pastry from the Louis Sergeant food truck after a morning stroll along the shore. Or pick up a selection of sandwiches and quiches for a lunchtime beach picnic. Alternatively, the Little Green Olive tuckshop is a great local choice for plant-based picnic goods.
After a languid day at the beach, make your way back to town for a cold one at Abandoned Brewery and enjoy the unique vibe this micro-brewery has going on. You also can’t go wrong with a side of the Karaage Kid’s Japanese- style fried chicken to go with your brew.
Pukerua Bay, Porirua
Pukerua Bay is the turquoise blue hidden gem you didn’t realise existed. A short drive past Plimmerton, you’ll find the perfect haven to escape those cold southerly winds when they blow through town. With views across to Kapiti Island, this wild and beautiful coastline is ideal for a secluded beach walk.
The picturesque bay is great for surfers or confident swimmers, but for those less inclined to brave the waves, there are still plenty of neat things to explore on the rocky shore. With kororā (little blue penguin) nesting sites nearby, there’s a good chance of spotting these adorable, tiny creatures. The magnificent Pou Tangaroa carving installed on the foreshore also makes for a perfect spot to pause and reflect.
You’ll need a feed after hitting the surf, so pick up a pie or sausage roll from the Greedy and Co. caravan on your way home. If you’re unlucky enough to miss the boat on their legendary homebaked goods, not to worry - there are plenty of great options to grab some nosh in nearby Plimmerton. The Big Salami and Plimmerton Fish Supply have all the post-beach carbs you could ever need.
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Neat Porirua Places
The Big Salami
The Big Salami is where locals come to get super tasty pizza, coffee on the go and sweet slices like you remember from your childhood days.
Bringing a vibrant splash of Pacific colour to Porirua, Panikeke is a lively little gift shop that aims to highlight and celebrate the local Pasifika community.
t bay café
Starting out as a project to bring a much-needed eatery to Porirua’s Titahi Bay, t bay café now serves as a cornerstone of the local community, bringing its residents and visitors together.
The Karaage Kid
A plucky little outfit that packs plenty of punch, The Karaage Kid - brought to you by the team behind Dirty Burger - is out to serve a hearty dose of Asian fusion goodness...
Rising from the ashes of - literally - an abandoned brewery in Lower Hutt, Abandoned Brewery is doing its part to put Porirua on the map as a top beer lover’s destination.