Kapiti Island is a small island just 5km off the coast of Wellington. It is roughly rectangular being 8km long and 2km wide.
The island is home to a number of native birds, mostly re-introduced. These include takahe, North Island kōkako, brown teal, stitchbird(hihi), North Island saddleback (tieke), tomtit (miromiro), fantail (piwakawaka), morepork (ruru), weka and North Island robin (toutouwai). The brown kiwi and little spotted kiwi were released on the island between 1890 and 1910, and the island is now the stronghold for the latter species. Rat eradication has led to increases in red-fronted parakeets, North Island robin, bellbirds, and saddlebacks, and the island is considered one of New Zealand‘s most important sites for bird recovery, as well as a major breeding site for sea birds. In April 2005, the critically endangered short-tailed bat was introduced to the island from a threatened population in the Tararuas, providing them with a separate, safer habitat. – Wikipedia
The highest point is 521m above sea level and there are two tracks which take you up to the view point at the summit. The Wilkinson track is the easier of the two tracks with well-formed natural paths on a steady 3.8km uphill climb, parts are fairly steep and there are man made stairs on the steepest parts. It took us about 2 hours to reach the summit and a much quicker hour (they suggest 1.5 hrs) to return. The Trig track is a much steeper and is only 2km in length. The DOC recommends 2hrs to climb up and 1.5hrs to return, the guide told anyone doing this track to only go up the Trig track and return on the Wilkinson as many people have hurt themselves coming down it. The summit, Tuteremoana summit, is an easy 20 minutes from the junction of the Wilkinson and Trig tracks leading to a picnic area and lookout tower. If it is a clear day you will be able to see the south island in the distance.
On both walking tracks there are picnic areas and hihi feeding stations which encourage the birds to these areas. This has made some of the birds very bold and they will snatch your food out of your hands and land on your head or shoulders.
When you land on the island you arrive in the Rangatira flats area. This area has a number of short, low-level walks through the forest where you can also see bird life and the historic whare (Maori hut). There are also toilets and the Rangatira shelter which has information on the area and birds living here. There is also a board walk around the Rangatira wetland.
We went over with Kapiti Island Nature Tours who run a day trip over to the island. They send a guide over with you who gives you lots of information about the birds you will see and suggestions on what to do. We took the ferry only option at $75. We even got a lift to the beach as we mis-judged the distance and were running late so they kindly came and picked us up.
I’m not labelling the pictures of the birds as i, honestly, have no idea what they are but we did see a fair few on our walk up the wilkinson track. We were also not allowed to take anything home 😦 so i took lots of pictures of all the awesome shells i found on the beach.
Are you visiting Wellington?
Check out my series on our recent trip there in my