Welcome to Kapiti Island Eco Experience - ferry, guiding and sea kayaking on Kapiti Island




"Such an amazing experience. We saw hihi, saddlebacks, weka, bellbirds, kokako, kaka and more. The constant bird song was beautiful.... "

Reviewed by a trip advisor traveler Southcoaster22 - October 2019

"Wonderful day spent on Kapiti Island with Coops eco island day trip. Fantastic coffee from back of coffee car at arrival at the boat club, lovely Lucy helping to take payment, Harry the dog excited to see everyone, Dave so professional and expert in his knowledge......"

Reviewed by trip advisor traveler Coaster3 - September 2019

"Fantastic place and fantastic operator. Coops and his team make you feel very welcome, more like a trip with family or friends. Kapiti makes you feel like you are in Jurassic park, so natural and unspoilt ....."

Reviewed on Google Review by Mike - October 2019

"One of the best family days out in Wellington.  Also recommend this company, the boat ride & captain is great and the guide is very knowledgeable about island and birds".

Reviewed on Google Review by Paul - October 2019


What you get in your day trip:

  • Department of Conservation Permit to the Nature Reserve

  • Exciting 20-minute boat ride from Paraparaumu Beach through the Kapiti Marine Sanctuary to Kapiti Island – Launch off the beach in our purpose-built boat (dry feet)

  • 30-minute presentation at the DOC center where you learn about the natural history of  Kapiti Island, ecology of the island stories of the Ngati Toa Rangitira and the story of sustainability

  • See rare and endangered birds in their natural environment, birds found nowhere else in the world, hear their bird song

  • Wander through the tracks up to the bird feeding station, carry on up and summit the trig to see a breath taking 360 Deg views of Kapiti and Tasman sea

  • Picnic on the beach swim in the Bay, Kapiti Marine Sanctuary 

  • Each trip contributes to buying a predator trap to be donated to a predator eradication program to help save our native birds on the mainland

  • Guided walks are also available. Spend the first hour after the Introductory talk with a guide who will help you find and identify the birds and their 
    calls, point out and explain the special bush features on the island and     
    discuss more of the Islands history. Only $20 per person and limited to 10  
    people per guide.

Pricing (Permit is included)

RANGATIRA DAY TRIP: Main landing point in the middle of the island


Child (5-17 years)

Infant (under 5 years)






Includes Pick up/Drop off from Wellington Hotels and a cut lunch


Child (5-17 years)






Contact us to discuss booking - limited  walks due to Royal Spoonbill nesting


Child (5-17 years)

Infant (under 5 years)










ADULTS                        $160.00 PP

13-17  years                  $120.00 PP

  • We will take you over to the island in our purpose built boat
  • Our guide will set you up on our double sea kayaks
  • You will be guided down the inside channel of Kapiti Island and have an amazing sea kayak experience
  • Suitable for the novice paddler or inexperienced
  • Maximum of 8 in your group our paddle is customized to the group
  • Finish your day of with a walk on Kapitii Island on the low tracks 


Terms & Conditions

  • Season runs from 1st September until 5th of June
  • Trips are subject to sea and weather conditions both which we can not control, if cancelled full refund will be given or booked for another day
  • Cancellations by customer within 48 hours of booked trip will result in full payment

Let's make a difference

Kapiti Island Eco Experience core values are that of a sustainable eco friendly business. We will promote sustainability, the environment and showcase the best that Kapiti Island and the Kapiti Island Marine Sanctuary has to offer. 

Your trip will help fund predator eradication programs around the country, we will be involved with restoration planting of native bush on the mainland, beach clean up and education programs.  Come and be part of the conservation story, travel with Kapiti Island Eco Experience and get the most out of this unique and beautiful Island.

Kapiti island is a beacon of hope for endangered and critical ecosystems that are suffering in New Zealand and globally with the will we can make a difference.  Scientists, marine biologists, eco warriors and conservation specialists from all over the world come to Kapiti Island and take the lessons we have learnt over a 100 years of nature conservation trial and error, success and losses.  They take our lessons back to their own projects and continue to fight for critical species.

Meet the team


Born and bred on the West Coast of the South Island in the most beautiful part of the country I grew up as a farm boy and developing a love of all things nature. I came to Kapiti when I joined the New Zealand Police in 2000 and after 16 years as a Detective and Detective Sergeant I have returned to the land immersing myself in native New Zealand and enjoying all Kapiti Island has to offer.  I have a passion for telling the human story of the history of Kapiti Island and delivering a world class experience.  I want our guests to have a awesome day on the island and leave back to the mainland thinking about our eco systems and what we can all do to help live sustainably.


Mark loves the "Kiwi Express" your vessel for the day and all thing maritime if its a boat big or small he can drive it. He started exploring the coastal waters off Kapiti Island as a teenager and his recreational diving and fishing experience led him into a career as a commercial fisherman, a charter boat operator and from 2009 a skipper and business owner in local waters.  He is a master skipper with a 100% safety record and all round good kiwi bloke.


John is a seasoned skipper who has previously run commercial operations out to Mare Island; he has a love of the ocean and people.  His background is in policing, small business and he moon-lights as a health and safety consultant. John enjoys a joke and a bit of banter but never at the expense of safety.


Robert began his working career with the Forest Service and worked  as a Forest Ranger in both  exotic  forests and the native beech and podocarp forests of the West Coast. Over 10 years with DOC in the Wellington Visitor Centre provided the springboard to complete the Great Walks and explore remote bush areas and inspired his love and knowledge of the NZ outdoors. Robert also worked as a relief ranger on both  Matiu Sommes  and Kapiti Island. He is a member of the Forest and Bird Society and the Parawai Tramping Club.


Brenda has a  BSc (Zoology/ Psychology) & Post Grad Dip (Primary Teaching).  Brenda has been guiding on Kapiti Island for over 5 years. Her early career has seen time with the Department of Conservation Youth Corp group, stints on the off shore Islands of Cod Fish and Stewart Island as a volunteer for the Kakapo program. 


Dave has a BSc in Zoology from Victoria University and his early career focused on marine biology with Fisheries Research, NIWA and work in the Fishing Industry.  Other roles have included Field Operations Manager at QE11 National Trust and manager at Nga Manu Nature Reserve. Dave sees the role of guide on Kapiti Island as the perfect blend of work and interests and looks forward to sharing the experiences on Kapiti Island with visitors. 


Kapiti Facts & Tips

Kapiti Island has a fascinating Maori history, the ancestral home of Ngati Toa Rangitira, settlement, conquest, occupation, resettlement and finally depopulation due to colonisation and lack of resources. 

Ngati Toa Rangitira  have recently been recognised by the crown as Tangata Whenua and Kiatiakitanga of Kapiti Island.  For decades Ngati Toa had been on a journey to reconcile the breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and injustices inflicted on them during the 1800 and 1900's  They fought to protect their mana and articulate their claims so that the injustices and wrongs that were inflicted on their people could be brought out into the open and properly acknowledged.  Rightfully so in 2009 Ngati Toa Rangitira counter signed a letter of agreement with the crown providing the basis for full and final settlement and a formal acknowledgement from the Crown of the impact on the Iwi of the breaches and injustices inflicted on their people.  Part of this settlement was the return of Kapiti Island to Ngati Toa Rangitane.

The waters between Kapiti Island and the mainland were once traveled by the waka of the Rangitane people, the Muaupoko and later those of Te Rauparaha of Ngati Toa who gained dominance over Kapiti by 1823.

This stretch of sea is called Rauoterangi Channel to commemorate the swimming feat of Kahe Te Rauoterangi, daughter of a Ngati Toa chief. Persuaded by a dream, she set out from Kapiti with her daughter strapped to her back, to warn allies on the mainland of a threatened attack. Kahe Te Rauoterangi was carried by the current to Te Uruhi, south of the Waikanae River and about 11 km from the starting point. The child survived the crossing but died not long afterwards.

Known as “motu rongonui” or “famous island” to pre-European Māori, a succession of tribes have used Kapiti. Settlements occurred on much of the eastern side, including Rangatira Point. Kapiti was the stronghold of the famous Te Rauparaha and a strategic location for Māori military activity as late as the 1830s. By this time, however, the island was shared with European whalers.

Vessels began calling in 1827 and, by the time the trade peaked in the mid-1830s, there were five whaling stations on the island: Waiorua, Rangatira, Taepiro, Wharekohu and Te Kahe Te Rau O Te Rangi.

Experience how New Zealand must have been over 100 years ago. En route to Kapiti Island, pass through the Kapiti Marine Reserve and watch for passing whales and dolphins.  Lookout for the sea birds that frequent the coastal waters - gulls, gannets, penguins, terns, shags,  shearwaters and albatross.

In the visitor shelter our guide will talk about the birds you are likely to see and share the status of the endangered species and new arrivals. Your guide will explain the walking options; whether you are walking to the summit (521 metres) or are meandering on the lowland tracks and what you will likely see. 

Most birds and the impressive forest are to be found below the 250 metre level. You can walk Kapiti Island and watch the birds at your own pace or just relax for a wonderful day.

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