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Going offshore in New Zealand

January 29, 2009

Don’t think for one moment that the only thing you can do in New Zealand is to stick to its two main islands. Or even its third island – Steward Island. In New Zealand’s archipelago there are several offshore islands close to the mainland that can be accessed relatively easily with a permit. And these are well worth obtaining the permit.

Kapiti Island is one of these islands. Located off the North Island’s west coast, it’s a 50 minute drive north from Wellington city, then a short boat trip across from the mainland. Kapiti is a significant island, not in size but in reputation. It has some of the best bird and marine life reserves in the country. Conservation is a priority here and land access is restricted. On Kapiti only fifty people can be at one with nature each day.

If you are picturing golden beaches, lagoons and tropical palms, wipe it.  Instead picture steep bush-clad terrain, melodic calls of rare native birds, waves crashing against rocks and surging with tides; and driftwood laden shores. Here the surroundings are natural, nothing is artificial, not even the guides.

Depending on your fitness and adventure levels, you can explore this sanctuary or just lay back and soak in the sounds of nature. Story has it that from the top of the island’s highest point, on a clear day, you can see Australia. Stories are often told here, that’s what keeps this place magical. The idea of possibility. One thing is certain, on a clear day from the top, you will feel free.

Being on the west coast, finding that clear day depends on natures mood.  Gale force winds frequently howl around the island. On a rough day you cannot hide from the angry side of nature. Instead it’s best to shoot it – with your camera.

Taking the bad weather out of the equation, off-shore islands like Kapiti have a richness seldom seen on the mainland. Perhaps it’s because of its reserve status, flora and fauna are free to express themselves the way nature had planned.Not forgetting marine life.

Divers frequent the island’s waters exploring what lays hidden from above.  While on dry land artists paint what cannot be expressed in words.

Kapiti by Alfred Memelink

Kapiti by Alfred Memelink

Consider going off-shore when you visit New Zealand. These places, unoften unheard of or experienced by the regular tourist, will open your mind to New Zealand’s untouched natural treasure – 100%  Pure.

Operators and details

You will need a permit to set foot on the island.  Kapiti Tours organises the finer details you just need to pay and show up. If you like to do all the work yourself Kapiti Marine Charter runs a boat service to the island . You will also need a permit from DOC.

Divers should check out this website for up to date information: Kapiti Island Alive

Once you have organised your trip, sit back and enjoy the experience. I don’t know what the coffees like on the island so if you can let me know…..

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. January 29, 2009 3:56 pm

    This has all the right “adventure vacation” elements; thanks for sharing! Sounds spectacular!

  2. Jas permalink
    January 29, 2009 6:01 pm

    I’ve been thinking about New Zealand for more than 13 years. I keep making mental notes, hoping to get there one of these days. And this is something that I don’t want to miss when I do. Great blog! Thanks.

  3. Bear permalink
    January 29, 2009 11:17 pm

    Great destinations and what an island get away!

  4. January 30, 2009 11:06 am

    Heather – it does, doesn’t it. Something to dream about or plan for in the future. The good thing about reserves like these is knowing that these places will always remain pristine. 10 or 20 years from now Kapiti will be the same as it is today. No resorts, tour buses and casinos.

    Jas -13 years then 14 then 15 years…that’s too long, I think you should stop thinking about it and go there this year. It could be your place. And the coffee is very good there.

    Bear – too bad you didn’t get a chance to visit Kapiti on your trip to NZ. I heard you enjoyed Kapiti Cheese though 🙂

  5. January 30, 2009 2:48 pm

    That was really great to be there and enjoy all the locations after reading your post I am really inspired from that, Nice post on New Zealand.

  6. January 30, 2009 4:13 pm

    I thought I was pretty well versed on my NZ travel, but I have never heard about these smaller islands you mentioned. Will certainly check out Kapiti on my next trip to the greater Wellington area.

  7. Bear permalink
    January 31, 2009 5:18 am

    And when it comes time to rent a car I’d suggest Ace Car Rental … almost new cars and a third the rate of a new one. They were very good to me.

  8. January 31, 2009 1:43 pm

    Airline? – Thanks for your comments I am happy to inspire you. Hopefully you can get an opportunity to visit NZ soon.

    SCS – if I have informed you about something you didn’t no NZ had, then I have done my job. Kapiti is a really good trip if you are into doing and seeing something different – and I think you are like that.

    Bear-I have heard of Ace Rentals and yes from what people say, this rental company is very good, reliable and very reasonably priced. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  9. February 21, 2009 3:04 am

    Great Barrier island located about 50 kms from Auckland would be my pick of NZ’s smaller islands. It can be seen on a clear day from Auckland but it could not be more remote. “The Barrier” as locals call it, has two tiny settlements and is a well known summer escape for Aucklanders but rarely frequented by international tourists.

    • February 21, 2009 4:42 am

      That’s another great place to go. There are so many out of the way places in and around NZ, great discoveries.

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