A UNIQUE experience



Rauoterangi Channel A scenic beauty



Nature up close









On the brink of extinction! But not on Kapiti Island



Welcome to Kapiti Island Eco Experience

You are one click away from booking an Eco experience like no other - a day trip to the stunningly beautiful Kapiti Island. Walk the tracks, picnic on the beach, swim in the bay or just sit in solitude surrounded by rare and endangered birds, flora and fauna.

Remote yet accessible, soak up the beauty, hear the stories of the Ngati Toa Maori people from our world class guides, spot whales in season, watch sea birds and native birds in their natural environment.


Kapiti Island Eco experience is a day trip to Kapiti Island

What you get

  • 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

  • Arrive on the isolated stunningly beautiful Rangatira point or north end

  • 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 8  
    people per guide.

Pricing (Permit is included)



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)






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
  • Cancellations can be on the day no later than 7.00am but normally the day before. Cancellations cannot be avoided as sea conditions can cause safety issues




Ko te Waewae Kapiti o Tara Raua ko Rangitane (KAPITI ISLAND)


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.

"Take Only Memories, Leave Only Footprints" Chief Seattle, 1900

You are about to book a truly unique eco experience, Kapiti island is one of the jewels in the crown of not only the New Zealand conservation program but also on the world stage. From boom to bust in the space of a few short decades Kapiti island is the story of a slash and burn, deforestation and destruction of resources impacting greatly on the eco systems of the island, sea and people.  From the clear felling of large parts of the Island's forest turning it into working cattle stations and introduction of devastating predators, to the exploitation of the Wright Whale hunted from Kapiti Island to near extinction in the 1800's. 

It is also a story of foresight, sustainability, conservation and hope for the future of not only the Island and its Maori culture, but critically endangered native birds from all around New Zealand.

The conservation potential of the Island was seen as early as the 1870's being formally recognised as a bird sanctuary in 1897.  The Department of Conservation took over management of the Island in 1987 and started the long journey to make the Island predator free and a haven for native birds from all around New Zealand.  Today Kapiti Island is the santuary that our forefathers in the 1890's envisaged.

Kapiti island is home to some of our old favorites such as the cheeky weka - the rascal of the bush, look out they would love to steal your lunch that's if Mr Kaka our beautiful parrot has not already flogged it.

Hihi (stitch bird), Korimako (Bellbird), Kakariki, Kereru the fat pigeon, Piwakawaka ( Fantail), Kokako, Takahae Tieke (saddleback) plus many more.

Kapiti island also 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.

Today 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. 

Come on a journey see it for your self  experience Kapiti Island an island like no other, Kapiti Eco Experience!


Kapiti Facts & Tips

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.

Meet the team

Coops (Glen)  -  Operator
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  -  Skipper
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 - Skipper
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 Hawke  -  Guide
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 Rosenberg  - Guide
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 Banks   - Guide
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.