48 Hours Kāpiti Coast

A view inside of an art gallery.

Panoramic views across the ocean, endless sandy beaches, delightful small villages dotted with art galleries, boutiques and cafes, plenty of outdoor activities and world-class accommodation options – it's no wonder Kāpiti Coast is turning into a holiday destination for lots of folks well beyond the capital region.

Day One

Start your journey into all that Kāpiti Coast offers at the southern end of the stretch of oceanside townships. Paekākāriki is easily reached from the capital by train or car in under an hour. As soon as you arrive at this picturesque village, you'll feel a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city

Beach Road Deli & St Peter's Hall

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5 Beach Road, Paekākāriki, Kāpiti Coast

Walk down the main street and head to Beach Road Deli for a coffee and something from the bagel menu or cabinet. Take note of the striking historical building this cafe is located within; it is one of the oldest buildings in the village. Back in the day, the top floor housed billiard rooms, while the street front was dotted with shops as it is today.

Once you've charged up, wander down the main street and take in the vibe of this creative seaside town. Take a pit stop outside St Peter's Hall, an iconic Paekākāriki community venue, where noteworthy gigs and all types of gatherings are held from time to time. Head towards the beach and descend onto the sand for an ideal beach walk with conditions with sea breeze and the view across Kāpiti Island.

A little caravan selling Dutch pancakes.

The Sheffield Street Collective

When satisfied with all that Paekākāriki has to offer, head north towards Paraparaumu. Make your first stop the Sheffield Street collective and take a mini taste tour with the innovative businesses here: Dark Horse Coffee, Montfoort and Duncan's Brewery. Set up much like a street food hub, this is where you can enjoy another hit of excellent coffee (we recommend also grabbing some beans to take home for later) accompanied by the tastiest Dutch sweet treats you've ever dug your teeth into thanks to the sweet little Montfoort caravan. Behind these guys, you'll see the colourful outdoor space of Duncan's Brewery, where you can experience their outrageously exciting beer flavours.

Paraparaumu Beach

Next stop, Paraparaumu Beach. Wander the streets and pop into the local boutiques, of which there are plenty. Even if you're not after any florals while on holiday, poke your nose into The Wilderness – a stunning florist dedicated to creating bunches and gifts, unlike others. Next door, you'll find Wylder, a designer clothing store that is dangerously well-curated. Another spot not to be missed is The Power Plant on the main drag. It's houseplant heaven, like a greenhouse where everything is for sale.

After wandering, rest your legs and recharge at The Lockup, just a few steps back from the beachfront. If you've had enough caffeine for one day already, fear not; there are plenty of cold and caffeine-free drinks to choose from here. In-house-made food is honest and delicious, so filling that puku now is a good idea. Afterwards, cross the road for another beachside walk, because why not?

Dreamscape Glamping

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Waikanae, Kāpiti Coast

Now might be a good time to check in to your accommodation, but the risk is that you won't want to leave once you get there. Dreamscape Glamping is your destination for the night, which is a quick drive inland and up the hill. Take in the view, crack open a drink and wind down for a moment before ditching the bags and heading back down to Paraparaumu Beach.

A female chef posing to camera.

Pre Drinks and Dinner

Now you're getting hungry, head to Salty's Diner for a pre-dinner drink and a game of pool. It's a fun, out-of-the-ordinary destination and a great spot to enjoy a chinwag with friendly locals. Gather your wins and losses, and head over the corner for an absolute stunner of a dinner at 50/50. This gem of a restaurant, owned and operated by chef Helen Turnbull, will have your tastebuds dancing for joy. Expect on-point hospitality and exceptional dishes with flavour combinations you can't imagine.

At the end of the evening, there really is no better place to retreat to than your fabulous accommodation, where you can take in the stars and the distant lights of the township.

Day 2

The exterior of Long Beach Tavern cafe.

Breakfast at Long Beach Tavern

Start the day bright and early to make the most of the daylight hours. Head north towards Waikanae Beach and grab breakfast at the iconic Long Beach Tavern, where most of the greenery on your plate comes from the restaurant's garden out back. Talk about the garden – make sure to stroll around to appreciate all that goes on behind the scenes here.

Shopping at Hendrix Lifestyle Store

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48 Rauparaha Street, Waikanae Beach, Kāpiti Coast

Next, stop up the road at Hendrix Lifestyle Store for some retail therapy. This beautifully curated store is a joy to encounter. Whether you're in need of a gift for someone special or feel like treating yourself to a souvenir from the coast, there's nowhere better to find something that can be treasured for years to come.

The exterior of Toi Mahara gallery on Kapiti Coast.

Toi MAHARA gallery and Ngā Manu Nature Reserve

Another must-stop before leaving town is Toi MAHARA gallery, right in Waikanae township. This is where artists with a connection to Kāpiti Coast are celebrated, including the Field collection, which holds a number of paintings by world-famous local artist Frances Hodgkins.

En route further north, stop at the Ngā Manu Nature Reserve to take in the wonders of the natural world of the Kāpiti Coast. Stroll along the tracks through lush bush and encounter some of Aotearoa's native birds in real life.

Bus Stop Café

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55 Sims Road, Te Horo Beach, Kāpiti Coast

Time for a refreshment, surely? Make your way towards Ōtaki, but not quite, and take a lunch break at the Bus Stop Cafe. This uniquely quirky bus-come-cafe is best enjoyed on a sunny day, yet when the weather is not playing ball, there are also snug little corners to take shelter in.

Toi Matarau and Māoriland Hub

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68 Main Street, Ōtaki, Kāpiti Coast

Once back on the road, make Ōtaki town your next destination. Here, you'll find Toi Matarau and Māoriland Hub, where you can appreciate and purchase māori art in all its forms. The knowledgeable people behind the counter here are more than happy to share stories of the artists whose works are exhibited. Upon exiting, stroll along the main street of Ōtaki before heading on your way again.

Finish off the day right

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1199 State Highway 1, South, Ōtaki, Kāpiti Coast

It's undoubtedly getting to that time of day again when the puku begins to rumble, so make your next stop at Penray Gardens. Depending on the season, you can pick your own strawberries, fruit or vegetables or stock up on all you need from the Penray store.

End the day back in Waikanae village at Salt & Wood Collective. Sip a brew from the neighbouring North End Brewery, dig into some slow-cooked meat and enjoy the atmosphere of one of the most popular Kāpiti Coast spots.