Discover local secrets and everything you need to know about what to do, places to eat and where to stay in Waikanae Beach!
Waikanae Beach is located an hour north from the capitial, Wellington and started as a holiday destination for Wellingtonians in the early 1950’s. While it's still is a holiday destination for many, the area is quickly becoming a permanent home for Wellington commuters who want an affordable, fantasitc beach lifestyle. I'll share some of my local knowledge on all what to do when you visit Wiakanae Beach.
For those that have visited and want a memento or if you're a local, grab yourself a Genuine Original, Waikanae Beach Tee! ($35)
The weather is arguably far superior to that of Wellington (Sorry!). Once you get over the Pukurua Bay it’s like a different place. Temperatures are often 4-5 degrees warmer than that of the capital. If it’s raining in Wellington, it’s often a relatively good day on the Kapiti Coast and a perfect time to visit. Let's take a look at what you can see and do...
The Kapiti Coast which includes Waikanae Beach has Wellington’s best beaches. They are calm, flat and sandy. This is mostly to thank to Kapiti Island which acts as a massive natural breakwater and protects the coast from any pounding westerly swells. In easterlies and southerly it’s pretty well protected with little swell. Very family friendly and perfect for swimming, a bit of frisbee or beach cricket. Rememeber to bring sunscreen and bring some shade! It's also dog friendly too.
There is some great fishing on there coast with Kapiti Island providing shelter and area for all types of species. You’ll often see boat zipping around after launching off the Waikanae Beach infront of the boat club (Details of the boat club below). The main catches tend to be Kingfish, Snapper, Tarakihi, Blue Cod, Trevally and Gurnard. There is a marine reserve between the mainland and island, so be aware of that before dropping or casting you lines!
The Waimea lagoons / Waikanae Estuary are situated at the south end of Waikanae Beach. They are a popular spot for bird watches and there are boards illustrating what you may spot. If you’re lucky you may see a Spoonbill searching for food and many other feathered friends such as shags, ducks, geese and swans, all that make the lagoon and estuary home. You can find out more about bird tours here.
There are various paths for walking or cycling along both sides of the Waikanae River, running from the beach right up to state highway 1. There are two foot bridges along the river so you’re not going to get stuck one side. In the summer months the Waikanae river is a perfect spot for picnics and a refreshing dip. The river can be accessed either by foot or by the various roads off Te Moana road. View more info and map here.
I love this place! A real beauty of a second hand shop specialising in Kiwiana collectables and it has become a bit of a Waikanae Beach institution. You’ll find Tupperware, furniture, games, books, ceramics, glass, pottery, and general bic-a-brac from NZ days gone by. Definitely worth checking out while you’re here!
Yup, we’ve got our own boat club which is situated right on the beach... plus it has some of Waikanae Beach’s best views! If you have a boat and live here I thourouly recommend joining if you’re not a member. You can become a member even if you don’t have a boat so you can make the most of their facilities which include great priced classic brews and ‘pub meals’. It has a great family atmosphere. If you are a member you can also choose to make the most of their tractors for launching a retrieving your boat (extra additional annual fee for club member only). In the weekends when the weather is suitable, the tower at the Waikanae Beach Boat Club is manned. It’s strongly encouraged that you radio in to state your trip destination, number of people and return time.
On windy days when there is the prevailing norwester blowing you’re almost guaranteed to find kite surfer’s doing their thing on the water. That action takes place down the south end of Waikanae Beach with parking at the lagoons. If you’re a kite surfer and want to give it a crack on the Kapiti Coast, here’s your place to do it! You can learn more about it here.
This is a fantastic place to sink a few ales from their extensive collection of brews and grab a reasonable priced bite to eat. It has a bar type atmosphere with friendly staff. They grow most of their vegetables in their own garden right next to them (you can even have a wander around it!) They also brew their own beer, North End, which is available on tap. I recommend the APA.
This place is marvellous… a personal favourite and sometimes overlooked by visitors. While it looks small from the street, there guys have an AMAZING (and large) tropical themed garden bar out the back. It’s perfect for relaxing with a drink in hand (a jug of cold local Tuatara beer perhaps!). They have plenty of large tables so it’s also perfect for bigger groups. Thier food and staff are all fantastic too. Can’t beat this on a hot summers day in Waikanae Beach.
This is situated almost right on the beachfront. It has some stunning views from the upstairs dinning room but is also susceptible to the wind if you’re choosing to sit outside. The service their can sometimes be hit and miss but they do some tasty meals.
This small boutique bakery has a french theme and all the fresh delight you’d expect… pastries, cakes, scones, bread, pies and more! All freshly baked each day. And of course they have coffee for your morning fix. This is owned by the same folks at Long Beach. Food often sells out so get in early to avoid disappointment.
This is the only fish and chippy at Waikanae Beach so I’m glad it’s a good one! Excellent fresh food and the chips are always perfectly cooked. I can thoroughly recommend the burgers! Located just around the corner from Olde Beach Bakery.
I can't forget to mention this! Your classic kiwi Four Square. Fantastic selection and pretty good value on items for it’s size. Perfect place to grab those things you’ve forgotten for your stay (or if you've forgotten something from up at the supermarket on the main road). All the normal things you’d expect such as, fruit, veggies, meat, milk, beer, ice creams, and even a good selection of bait and burley! There is a Lotto available too incase you’re feeling lucky. Friendly and helpful staff.