1. Paekakariki Escarpment Track
Not for the fainthearted, the recently opened Paekakariki escarpment track is a great challenge for those who love heights, a beautiful view and getting the heart beat going. With views of the amazing Kapiti Coast and the jewel of Kapiti Island itself, the escarpment walk is well worth a stop if you’re in Wellington, even if just for a very short time. As part of the Te Araroa walkway it’s easy to access either from the Pukerua Bay or Paekakariki train stations. The walk is doable in a little over two hours if you’re moving at a good clip, but I’d suggest leaving plenty of time to enjoy the view. After the walk you can also enjoy yourself at my next suggestion.
2. Tuatara Brewery
Of course you'll need a sober driver, but the Tuatara Brewery is a great stop for a travellers keen on a beer and food experience. Nestled in the industrial area of Paraparaumu in Kapiti the tasting experience really gives you a sense of where the brewery has come from and become.
The food matches really challenge the norms but are a taste sensation. Who knew that beer and chocolate cake could work so well and why didn’t I know about this earlier! The sessions are held on the weekend so it's perfect for the weekend getaway, and after your tasting everything is available on tap so you can take a flagon and fill up yourself, old school. Kiwis are becoming much more refined beer consumers and the Tuatara Brewery is as lovely a place as any to have a wee taster.
3. Titahi Bay
My final gem is just a one minute walk from my home. Titahi Bay is the best place to experience everything that Wellington’s unique climate offers all year around. At Christmas time it harks back to times where crowds flocked and spent long sunny days with family picnicking from car boots. It truly is idyllic and lazy.
Counter that with the best the Wellington wind has to offer in the depths of winter, gusts give gravity defying powers, salt spray lashes the brave the committed dog owners who are severely outnumbered by committed surfers.
All in all though it is great place to feel alive. It’s an amazing escape from city of suits, a playground for policymakers who want their heads out of graphs. It’s one of the few beaches you can still take your car on. Park up and come a say g’day because with all of great things about Titahi Bay, it’s the locals that make it. So if you’re close, grab some fish and chips, drive down and say g’day.
4. Te Ara Piko Walkway
If a 200 metre climb on the escarpment track walk is not your thing then the Te Ara Piko track at the northern end of the Pauatahanui inlet might be a good alternative. Park close to the lovely Pauatahanui village and head west on the pathway. It's a 40 minute walk one way that's suitable for baby buggies. Some of it hugs the road closely so be careful with kids but once you’re done you can grab an ice cream from the petrol station or even better pop in for a movie at the lovely boutique Lighthouse cinema in Pauatahanui village where the coffee is excellent.
Pataka Art+Museum is a must-see if you’re visiting Porirua. It’s a place where the community meets and enjoys cutting edge local and international art. It’s a museum and art gallery so you’ll be able to learn more about our local history but under the same roof enjoy the latest community group’s works of art and also visiting international collections. To make things easier there is a great café called Kaizen on site as well. Lance and his team at Kaizen are great and make an amazing carrot cake.