Kapiti – NZ's bird cap­i­tal

There's plenty to do in Kapiti, writes Jen­nie Gutry.

Go Travel New Zealand - - Wellington -

W ith 40km of un­spoilt beaches shel­tered from pre­vail­ing west­erly winds by Kapiti Is­land, to the mag­nif­i­cent, wild land­scape of the Tararua Range and For­est Park, Kapiti’s nat­u­ral beauty is breath-tak­ing. Easily ac­cessed by car, train or air, and just 35 min­utes’ drive from Welling­ton, it is the per­fect place for a re­lax­ing break. I first found Kapiti 10 years ago when I was re­search­ing on­line where to live, hav­ing been granted New Zealand res­i­dency, along with my young fam­ily. For a Lon­doner, be­ing able to live on the coast and get a train to the cap­i­tal city in less than an hour seemed like par­adise. And it re­ally is. Kapiti is so close yet could be a mil­lion miles away from the hus­tle and bus­tle of the cap­i­tal city. With it’s own air­port, it’s only a one hour flight from Auck­land, too. Here you will find some of the best tramps, cy­cle trails and walks in the North Is­land, bou­tique shop­ping, glo­ri­ous gar­dens to visit, artists’ stu­dios and places to eat that ri­val the big city restau­rants. Add in the largest car mu­seum in the south­ern hemi­sphere, steam trains, trams and aero­planes, world-renown golf course and ad­ven­ture sports from land sail­ing to quad bik­ing, and you will have some idea why Kapiti is such a pop­u­lar place to visit. For me though, the high­light has to be the birds and there are three spe­cial places in

Kapiti you can get up close and per­sonal with them. Just 5km from the main­land, Kapiti Is­land is New Zealand’s old­est na­ture re­serve (1897) and home to some of our rarest and most en­dan­gered birds which you can see in their nat­u­ral habi­tat. Here you can ex­pe­ri­ence the beauty of New Zealand as it was, be­fore man came, when the birds ruled the land. The is­land was de­clared preda­tor-free in 1998 and to­day, the is­land is one of the most im­por­tant sites for bird re­cov­ery. Over 60 species of birds can be spot­ted here in­clud­ing kaka, hihi (stitch­bird), kokako, takehe, pateke (brown teal), weka and tieke (sad­dle­back).

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