Explore the many Attractions of the Kapiti Coast

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The Kapiti Coast is located north of Wellington on the West Coast of the North Island. Additionally, it includes 40 kilometers of unspoilt beaches and many other places to see and visit. Now that the Kapiti Expressway is open, many will drive right past the Kapiti Coast. We chose to follow the old road that stopped at the towns and beaches along the way. Our travels listed below are from South to North.

Explore the many Attractions of the Kapiti Coast
Explore the many Attractions of the Kapiti Coast

Paekakariki Station

The Paekakariki Station Museum was advertised as being opened on Saturdays and Sundays. Unfortunately, when we visited on a Saturday it was closed. It appears to be closed as it’s still undergoing earthquake strengthening though the 1915 South End Signal Box was open. Moreover, the Signal Box is now a gallery so it’s worth the effort to climb the stairs.

South End Signal Box, 1915
South End Signal Box, 1915

The Paekakariki Station had two signal boxes – one at the south end and one at the north end. The signal box system was discontinued in 1985 which was replaced by a remote control system. Fortunately, the South End Signal Box was restored by the community and is now registered a Category I by New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Signal Box Interior, Paekakariki, Kapiti Coast
Signal Box Interior, Paekakariki, Kapiti Coast

Queen Elizabeth Park, Kapiti Coast

It had been many many years since we’d visited the park – probably over 40 years. Today we decided to see what it was now like and we’re pleasantly surprised with the great changes.

Wellington Tramway Museum

As we drove in, we noticed the Wellington Tramway Museum. It was cool to see the trams waiting at the station for passengers. They operated on Saturday and Sunday with trams running every half-hour. They run through the park, down to the beach and back again.

Tram ready to go to Whareroa Beach, along the Kapiti Coast
Tram ready to go to Whareroa Beach, along the Kapiti Coast

The trams date from the 1920’s and 1930’s and were used in Wellington city until closure of the last tram routes in the early and mid 1960’s. Fortunately, they are lovingly cared for and operated by volunteer members of the Wellington Tramway Museum – a not-for-profit incorporated society which built, owns, and maintains the tramway.

Entrance to Wellington Tram Museum
Entrance to Wellington Tram Museum

The museum includes more trams, old trams that need restoring, history of the trams and lots more to look around. They have a video running that explores the history which also includes black and white video footage.

Interior to the Wellington Tram Museum
Interior to the Wellington Tram Museum

United States Marine Corps Memorial

The memorial commemorates the 50th anniversary of the US Marines’ arrival in New Zealand in 1942. Each hut ‘face’ tells the story of the US Marines’ time in New Zealand.

Hut 'Faces' with Information Panels
Hut ‘Faces’ with Information Panels

Unfortunately during a training exercise, 10 sailors lost their lives. The tribute memorial lists the names of the 10 sailors. This memorial was added for the 70th anniversary of the Marines’ arrival to New Zealand.

Tribute to the 10 Sailors from the USS American Legion
Tribute to the 10 Sailors from the USS American Legion

Statue of the Virgin Mary, Paraparaumu

One of the most dramatic landmarks on the Kāpiti Coast is this 14-metre-high statue of the Virgin Mary on the 75-metre-knoll above St Patrick’s Church. The statue was commissioned by Saint Patrick’s parish priest, Father JS Dunn in 1958 to mark the 100th anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary of Lourdes. Located on the top of a hill, it does require a bit of a walk. However, once you get to the top, the view is awesome.

Our Lady of Lourdes Statue
Our Lady of Lourdes Statue

Alongside the hilltop path are located the ‘Stations of the Cross’ – scenes of Christ’s passion in mosaics. Unfortunately, as time goes on, the condition of the ‘crosses’ are not good with only a couple remaining in very good condition.

Stations of the Cross
Stations of the Cross

Paraparaumu Beach, Kapiti Coast

We enjoyed a few days staying near Paraparaumu Beach. Fortunately, with just a few minutes walk, we were down at the beach almost every night to watch the sun go down. Most nights we saw beautiful sunsets with Kapiti Island in the background.

Sunset at Paraparaumu Beach, Kapiti Coast
Sunset at Paraparaumu Beach, Kapiti Coast

Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve

While staying in Paraparaumu, the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve was within walking distance of our Airbnb. There are several entrances to the reserve as well as one from the beach. Additionally, it was a lovely walk which took us to the Waikanae River.

Walkway through Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve
Walkway through Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve

Southwards Car Museum, Kapiti Coast

Located on the Kapiti Coast, the Southward Car Museum houses hundreds of cars as well as planes, motorbikes and other interesting vehicles and machinery.

Southwards Car Museum, Kapiti Coast
Southwards Car Museum, Kapiti Coast

The museum was created by Sir Len Southward and his wife Vera. They started collecting cars in 1956. Additionally, it became the largest private car collection in Australasia. After purchasing the current site in 1976, it was opened to the public. Click here for our Southwards Car Museum blog.

Southwards Car Museum, Kapiti Coast
Southwards Car Museum, Kapiti Coast

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