Fantastic day trip in an area of such natural beauty! All of the staff were most welcoming and helpful! Would recommend to anyone who enjoys nature, walks and especially birdwatching!
Fascinating "close to nature" experience; privileged access to uniquely NZ environment; well organised, well balanced combination of professionalism combined with warm and friendly family welcome and hospitality, generous caterings and comfortable and appropriate accommodation. Flora and fauna easily accessible for both the energetic and the more ponderous with comfortable and flexible balance between guided and free exploration according to preference. Overnight stay definitely worthwhile. Photography paradise for all levels. Magnificent views by day and night. Somewhat weather dependent.
Kapiti Island Nature Tours responds:
Thanks for your kind comments- yes , we are somewhat weather dependent, hopefully our recent transition to a larger and more robust water taxi option will allow more operational days.
This was possibly the number 1 experience of our two week trip to New Zealand from the US. And for me the best aspect was that on the north end during the overnight stay, it felt like I was being welcomed warmly into the home of a real family. Stepping off the ferry on to the stones of the beach, we were met by Manaaki, who explained that his family had owned this land for generations. He showed us their cemetery on the way to the family home, now the main lodge building. Amo, the grandmother or aunt, made a point of talking to me, and I so enjoyed hearing her stories about some of the ancestors pictured on the wall, and her kind attention. Vikki, Matthew, and Minnie in the reservations office could not have been kinder or more attentive. The meals were tasty, with many options and generous quantities. Having meals three times with the other guests that night and morning, most of whom were from NZ, allowed some of us to get acquainted and even form new friendships across the miles. It was inspiring to see the extraordinary efforts being made to conserve the remaining species, by the DOC as well as the family. We had some luck finding those endemics, including one little spotted kiwi and a little blue penguin. I heard more birds than I could spot; many seemed elusive. Other reviewers have detailed what is there. I also enjoyed the north end loop hike and views from the peak to the west and back to the North Island (not as steep a hike as the one in the middle of the island) and learning about the trees and other vegetation. I was sorry when our 30 hours were over and would love to return. Thank you!
Kapiti Island Nature Tours responds:
We appreciate your comments & review.
All the staff were helpful, courteous, and good natured but the young man (Manacki ??) who reviewed history and ecology of the island and presented large photos of the birds was exceptional. He has a charismatic manner that makes him very effective as a presenter. The fact that he is in the lineage of the Maori whanu makes it all the more interesting. The food at the lodge for lunch was very good. Our only point of confusion had to do with finding the coastal trail which we had been warned was not marked as such. A great day!!
Our first booking had to be postponed because of the sea conditions but we were lucky enough to be able to postpone our booking to the following week. We landed on the D.O.C. land and walked part way up the peak - we didn't feel any pressure to make it to the top, especially when people coming down told us it was cloudy at the top; anyhow we were entranced by the stitchbird feeders and the birdlife in the bush. There were stunning views through the trees on the way down and we had our first encounter with a kaka - and a group of year 11 geography students. Some borrowed our binoculars and we enjoyed their enthusiasm. But best of all at this bit of the island was patient scrutiny of the cover and the realisation that there were indeed takahe in the grass scrubland. They were shy, but they were there. Then on by boat to the Northend and the wonderful hospitality of the family running the Nature tour. Birdlife abounded everywhere, there was so much it was almost silly - we didn't have to move from our cabin to see takahe, kereru, weka and kaka and clouds of gold finches. The food was plentiful and excellent, - as the sole veggie I was well catered for. No kiwis were spotted on the the walk that night, but it was still magical, listening to their calls and also the outrageous noise made by those very small blue penguins. A great night in a comfortable bed, a fantastic breakfast and then more walks more birding - kingfishers and then completely by chance a fern bird. More good company over lunch and time for a little amble and some more birding in the sunshine before the boat took us off - this was a memorable trip, one of the highlights of our visit to New Zealand. If you love birds, want to experience great hospitality and can get to Kapiti and stay over - don't miss it.
Unique way to experience wildlife on this stunning island. Small groups taken across and there is a chance to stay overnight and see kiwi in the wild, just behind the lodge! Awaken in the morning to the glorious sound of native bird song - it doesn't get better than this!
We went for the overnight stay. On the first day we walked to the Tuteremoana (Highest peak of the island), that night we stayed in the lodge and went Kiwi sighting, then the next day we walked to the peak at the north end. What a magical experience! Were so lucky to have great weather and see some very rare birds and get some great photos (Kokako, Takahe, Kiwi, Tieke, and many more). It was like arriving in another world as we jumped off the little boat onto shore, seeing and hearing birds running around the ground and soaring above the tree tops. Was very humbling to sit in the bush and at the peaks of the island and be part of what NZ was like once upon a time. The lodge and our cabin was very warm on what was a freezing cold night. The hospitality and food was awesome and I left the table fully satisfied every time. Tea, coffee, juice, water, and fruit was available 24/7. Nga mihi nui ki a Manaaki, Vikki, ratou ki nga kaimahi, kaitiaki hoki o te motu tapu o Kapiti!
Fantastic. Highly recommend. A bucket list item everyone should do and it will exceed all expectations. We did the overnight, kiwi-spotting tour and it was amazing. Our hosts were so hospitable and knowledgable. The food was excellent. Highlights were having a takahe (one of the rarest birds in the worl) wandering around on the lawn by the lodge, happy to come with a metre of us; having a little spotted kiwi fossicking around on the lawn, and later seeing another in the bush; a kaka alighting on my husband's shoulder, and just the lovely peacefulness of the place.
I went to Kapiti Island for a literary event.We had a guided tour,a lunch and two speakers.My tour guide Janine showed us how to make a whistle out of a plant to call birds and she also showed us the location of some kiwi burrows.My group had a coastal walk -we were shown where seabirds nest and we were also shown the lagoon from a vantage point.We were also shown wood pigeons roosting in trees behind the lodge at the north end of the island and we were introduced to some tame takahe around the lodge.
What a wonderful experience. Unspoilt bush and protected NZ wildlife in their natural environment away from 'the madding crowd'. We spent the first part of our experience with a bush walk to the top of the island watching and listening for signs of the profuse birdlife that our guide had so animatedly described to us. After a good walk we then boated to the Northern end of the Island where we spent a most relaxing and educational evening and night with our most welcoming and committed hosts. Yes, we got up close to kiwis in their natural environment thanks to the knowledge and experience of our passionate guides. The whole experience, including the genuine welcome and excellent food is one we will remember for many years. We will most certainly be back.
I was only on the island for about 30 hours, but we packed so much in, it seemed so much longer. I say 'we', but I went alone, however I soon felt part of the 'whanau'.
So many other reviews describe the experience far better than I could. The highlight of my visit will be watching the Kiwi, then looking down to find that a penguin had joined our group. He was looking up at us as if to say, "What you looking at guys?". He then toddled up the path as only penguins can.
Great people, scenery, birdlife, food, people, island, and did I mention the people? A great experience I will never forget.
Thanks John and all your whanau.
A gloriously sunny day provided the perfect weather for a day trip to beautiful Kapiti Island. Our water taxi left Paraparaumu Beach just after 9am and about half an hour later we were dropped off at Waiorua, a private settlement at the northern end of the island. John our guide gave our small group a very informative talk about the history of Kapiti and explained the conservation measures that have been put in place to protect the native bird life there. Then it was time to start our climb to the peak accompanied by bird song, sightings of some rather well fed looking tuis and wekas among other birds and were finally rewarded with a fantastic view overlooking the Tasman Sea when we reached the summit. Upon our return to ground level we were greeted by a delicious lunch prepared by Vicky and her helpers, then feeling well satisfied lazed in the sun until the water taxi came to pick us up at 3pm to take us back to reality. I would have no hesitation in recommending Kapiti Island Nature Tours and enjoyed being part of their whanau for a day and sharing their special place
Our overnight stay felt like a long weekend we packed so much into our time in the bay. We walked through beautiful bush and along the coast and saw so many bird species. A really uplifting experience which expanded our knowledge of the local flora/fauna. Our hosts were welcoming and inclusive, the food plentiful and healthy. A big thank you to Manaaki, Amo and Vicky for a wonderful time and delicious paua. We have since caught up on Manaaki's helicopter filming which just makes us want to return to Kapiti again!
I spent two nights on the Kapiti Island at the Kapiti Island nature tours lodge and had a wonderful time. I was well looked after, the food was great, and I can thoroughly recommend it. The birding around the lodge is excellent with many of the native New Zealand birds common and easily seen and at night we went out and saw Little Spotted Kiwis both nights. An excellent trip.
Short story: Fully recommended!
Long story: Climb up the hill and get to see plenty of birds you don't stumble upon very often on the mainland (saddlebacks, hihi, weka,, kaka ...). Make sure you book the overnight stay, because that is where the fun begins. After being transfered to another bay you're going to get welcomed by the Barrett family. They're lovely hosts who happen to be visited by a takahe family on a daily basis. While that encounter alone is worth the visit you also have a great chance to spot a kiwi at night.
Anyway, sorry for posting this review so late It was a pleasure meeting you all and I really enjoyed discussing Kiwi music with Sam and Manaaki ;-)
My son and I recently did a full day tour on the northern part of Kapiti Island with Kapiti Island Nature tours. We thoroughly enjoyed the day and were very well looked after by Minnie, Jeanine and John. We were delighted to see many native birds and really enjoyed the walks around the area and up to the lookout. There was an excellent lunch and everyone we dealt with had a marvellous knowledge of the flora and fauna and also the history of the island. I would have no hesitation in recommending this experience to individuals or families. TjamesH, NZ.
We visited the nature reserve and walked to the top of the island (whew!) before going on to an overnight stay at the lodge where the hospitality is excellent. Amo welcomed us to the island and was a fund of information on its history. Minaki spoke about the local birds in a very knowledgeable and articulate introduction. Vicky cooked us superb meals with fresh produce and was always friendly and helpful. Lots of beautiful birds and walking. And of course, the highlight, a brilliantly successful kiwi spotting walk under the moonlight and the Southern Cross led by Minaki and Janine. Just magic.
What a wonderful experience! Kapiti Island is a special treasure and to stay overnight there is a real treat. The team of John, Amo and Vicki were so friendly and welcoming. The cabin was basic, (as advertised) but clean and warm. The food was fresh, delicious and plentiful. The highlight for us was walking up the private valley which is only an option when staying overnight. We saw ruru, tieke, bellbirds and tui, the birdsong was loud and beautiful - it was quite magical.
We spent last weekend on Kapiti island for our wedding anniversary. It would have to be one of our best weekends away in 35 years. All the staff Minnie, Amo, John & Vicky were amazing, the food was fantastic, our accomodation in the ensuite lodge was great and over the 3 days we were there we met some lovely people. We would definitely recommend Kapiti Island Nature Tours 😃
I took the family on an overnight trip to celebrate my birthday. The bird life was amazing. My mother and I saw a kiwi right next to our bunk-room. Amo and her team were wonderful hosts and the food was delicious. The cheeky Kaka were the highlight of our stay.
We visited overnight including Kiwi spotting in the evening. A visit and overnight stay is highly recommended - the lodge is in a stunning location with several good walks and a good variety of birdlife including Kiwi! The accommodation was basic (as advertised) but of a high standard and with nice quirky touches. The hospitality of the hosts was outstanding - really friendly, genuine and great food. Everything was very well organised. A good option for overnight stays is to visit the main Nature Reserve on Kapiti (Rangitira) on the first morning - that way you can see Hihi and Saddleback amongst other birds - and then head to Kapiti Island Nature Tour Lodge in the afternoon.
Thoroughly enjoyable visit.
Had a wonderful day. Beautiful wildlife, walks and views were matched by the warm hospitality of hosts Minnie, Mum and the team. Thank you so much. We will be back.
had a fantastic overnight stay on the island- on the Saturday walked up to the high point for stunning 360' views... even saw Tapi! Tha north Island was a bit more under cloud... Then transfered to the north of the Island where we stayed- lovely! Fantasic bird life & even saw the kiwi at night! Thank you! :)
A special experience on an island with not only wonderful birdlife but a fascinating history. We felt relaxed and warmly welcomed by our hosts from the moment we met the boat at Paraparaumu Beach. Accommodation and lodge facilities are simple but very clean and comfortable. It is the island, the birdlife and the exceptional family that make this a rich and rewarding experience. Seeing kiwi on the night walk is a bonus but not all that Kapiti Island has to offer!
Enjoyed this experience very much, largely because of the wairua - the birds were great too, Amo and her crew and Lundsay's fab food made it a wonderful experience
I stayed two days on Kapiti Island from 05/01/-06/01/2012. The accommodation was simple considering the quite expensive price, but the food was extraordinary good with fresh Paua and other seafood. The birdwatching was productive with Stitchbird (note: just Rangatira Landing), Takahe, Saddleback, Blue Penguin, Brown Teal, Weka and Kaka. The Kiwi spotting tour was exciting, but we were not lucky to see them. Summarising the experience I can recommend staying overnight on Kapiti with Nature Tours, but it is expensive.
Very expensive, but a chance to see birds, Very good Maori guide - told us about the history of his tribe and the island.
Kapiti Island is great for bird lovers. The Kāpiti Island Nature Tours offers an overnight stay at a lodge at the North End of the Island. At night there is a kiwi spotting tour. This is an adventure with no guarantee for success. Seeing a kiwi is special, but I found it a little bit of an disappointment after seeing a lot of other birds on the island, including the rare takahe. Photographing kiwis is very difficult.
The price of the arrangement is a bit high, as it doesn't include the ferry. But the people of Kāpiti Island Nature Tours are very, very friendly and make you feel at home.
My nephew and I were warmly welcomed and VERY well fed during our overnight stay on the island. There is a timelessness that encourages one to relax and enjoy a more appreciative pace. We wandered for hours in the bush watching the birds and their antics, taking photos and just enjoying being out in nature. Kapiti is truely a taonga!
I initially booked a day trip to Waiorua Bay, but after a nice and interesting introduction and upon arrival at the lodge I decided to extend the trip and stay over night (fortunately this was possible due to some free beds).
It is hard to describe the 1.5 days with just words. John and the family at the lodge were so nice and friendly and open-hearted I immediately felt like home. Combine this with the excitement of watching kiwis and takahe from a few feet distance, and Kaka landing on your shoulder, scenic views all over the place, and great food: You have to have the impression you spent two days in paradise.
I think i have never seen a place as peaceful and welcoming as the Kapiti Island Nature Lodge.
We visited Rangotira before going to the other end to spend the night, and had a wonderful time at both places. The arrangements (made by email) went off without a hitch. Our hosts kindly adapted themselves to our level of interest in and expertise about New Zealand birds (high and low, respectively). To be among so many exuberant native birds was astounding. We were lucky enough to see kiwis, although the walk looking for them was enjoyable it itself. (And, yes, the food was delicious.)
My nephew & I had a fantastic time! The beautiful weather, generous hospitality & laid back atmosphere of this family run venture will make it an experience that will stay with us for a very long time! Thank you, again, for allowing us to experience, for a brief while, what you are so lucky to be surrounded by every day!!
The weather was not kind on our second day so our visit was cut short but the experience was great saw 3 kiwis in the wild, a penquin and numerous birds. Good grub and all staff were helpful in every way. Would recommend to anyone thinking of going. Good operators.
I had an excellent time at the North end of Kapiti. Minnie emailed me right after booking, which gave me confidence in the trip. Everyone was friendly and informative. A day I will never forget.
Our island stay fully met our expectations while the hospitality (John and the rest of the staff) exceeded them. The weather on the first day was superb which made our walk to the top at Rangitira a pleasant experience, and later, the kiwi-spotting a never-to-be forgotten highlight (under the expert guidance of our huntress, we got to see 3 kiwis in the wild!). The midnight spa bath under the stars just topped it all off. We were disappointed that we had to leave early the next day in what appeared to be (then) fine conditions, but within an hour of getting back to our home (overlooking the very same sea) we knew that the right decision had been taken.
We will definitely recommend the experience to our friends.
What a fantastic experience and we will definitely return. A wonderful location to be "At One" with nature or simply get away from the everyday stress of life. The hospitality was superb and we were lucky enough to get up close with a Little Spotted Kiwi. Would definitely recommend it to both NZers and Tourists
I took 13 visitors from overseas to visit the North End of the island. The boat ride was pleasant,friendly boatee,we received a very warm welcome, great scones /tea/coffee. We walked to the top of the point , saw lots of birds,enjoyed the sea scape and the views/took lots of photos.
The lunch which in included products from the sea and the garden was first class. The friendly, informative guided walk helped us to increase our knowledge of the flora and fauna and the history of the Island.
Everything worked perfectly, from the journey across to the island to the departure with all the staff of the lodge lining the shore to wave us goodbye. The guided tour of Rangatira Point was very instructive and gave us insights we would not have worked out for ourselves. The climb through the forest was magical and the sightings of birds enthralling - including the over-attentive kaka and wekas, who nearly robbed us of our food! The lodge at the north end was a delight - friendly and informative staff, who made us most welcome, combined with comfortable accommodation and sustaining food and company. The tours of the north end were different, but amazing -including successful nighttime kiwi hunt that was a high point for all of us. Our group ranged from 7 to 70 and all were accommodated, enthralled and educated with patience, understanding and sensitivity that was a joy. This experience is highly recommended to anyone who wants a reliable, enlightening and uplifting experience that gives a new perspective on the natural world and our relationship to it.
Our group stayed the night at the north end of the island, hosted by kind, friendly and welcoming Minnie, Amo and family/friends. After a welcoming cuppa and a general orientation we spent the day exploring the north end: climbing the hills, enjoying the beautiful (predominantly manuka) forest, the birdlife and coastal walk. We had a wholesome meal at night that included paua fritters and cod caught that afternoon. An enormous bonus to being the only few people staying on the island that night was that we chatted for hours with the family and felt very much at home. We curbed our chatting to go kiwi spotting shortly before midnight. Thanks to Minnie's sharp ear we had the pleasure of the company of two little spotted kiwi for many minutes. The next day we visited the DOC part of the island and climbed to the top, through the most beautiful forest filled with birdsong. We saw many of the birds that live on the island, with Weka being particularly friendly (just after food really). Our group of 3 had a wonderful time on the island and would recommend this visit.
Negatives:There was a strong possibility that we would not be able to visit the DOC part of Kapiti which we had planned on, due to a couple of factors, not least an undercurrent that the relationship between DOC and the North End is somewhat strained and traffic flow between the two is not simplistic. The other point is that lodging at the north end is overpriced in reality and thus would not encourage a return visit. It also precludes many who would otherwise very much appreciate visiting the north end.
If there's one thing you do when you come to Wellington, go and stay the night on Kapiti Island. And if you think you've been to Kapiti Island, you haven't unless you've stayed the night at the north end. It's a nature experience that you can't get anywhere else...I missed it as soon as I got home. We went walking, kiwi spotting, saw three teeny baby weka chicks, ate fish caught the day before, woke to a dawn chorus of birds...and the hospitality is super lovely. It's worth every cent.
A wonderful day that we will never forget - starting and finishing with an exciting boat trip to a place so rich in history and nature. Our guide was highly knowledgeable and very generous with her knowledge. The bird life is unbelievable - total stars who seemed happy to 'pose' for photos that we are very proud of. All of the people we met on the Island were very friendly and the beautiful lunch was greatly appreciated after our walk to the lookout. We are already planning our return trip.
Thank you to everybody from Kapiti Island Nature Tours and to everyone who has worked to make Kapiti such a wonderful sanctuary and place of beauty.
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We had a great time on Kapiti last week. We stayed for 1 day/1 night on the island and loved every minute. Highlight was the overnight kiwi-spotting tour, an absolute must for everybody who visits New Zealand.
Also the maori-hospitality in the lodge is super, it's like visiting family.
A great weekend on a beautiful island with lovely hosts. If you love nature, 3-6 hour walks and see some of the most endangered species of New Zealands birdlife, this is the place to visit.
Our whole family, adults, teenagers and children, thoroughly enjoyed our night over on Kapiti. We saw lots of rare birds, some up very close, including the Kiwi. Great food and friendly service, the cabins were clean and tidy. We walked, picnicked in the sun, fished off the beach (outside the marine reserve) relaxed over a glass of wine.
A little pricey but worth every penny.
Wonderful birds, lovely people, amazing location. Got to see Little Spotted Kiwi. So good, I've moved to New Zealand!
Roman & Esther
Good organisation, a lot of information. Nice people, good guide, good food. We saw a kiwi. Expensive!!
Excellent experience with very knowledgable guides, great food and comfortable and very birdy accommodations/grounds at Lodge. Excellent and friendly and personal management under Minnie. Highly recommended, especially if you want to see a Kiwi (the feathered variety), although perhaps a bit pricey for the average backpacker, not to mention pensioner (like me). It compares very favourably with lodges I rank as the best wildlife/birding lodges in the world.
A visit to Kapiti Island is an amazing experience for anyone who appreciates, or would like to appreciate, NZ ecology in restored balance. The stay at the Lodge is congenial, authentic NZ hospitality at it's most sublime. The hosts are welcoming, interested and interesting and engage with the lodgers to ensure the stay is memorable. The walks and bird life are unique. Time on the Island could equally serve as a theraputic retreat. A slice of heaven on earth.
My husband and I stayed overnight. Waking up to see Takahe grazing outside our cabin and listening to the dawn chorus was just amazing. The night walk to see kiwi, the day walks, the meals, the company of wonderful people who were so welcoming and looked after us so well. I feel privileged to have had such a wonderful experience.
We had a great stay and were very well looked after. The facilities exceeded expectations and we didn't find the restricted electricity a problem. The staff were all really nice and the food was good kiwi tucker. The bird life was amazing even if we did lose our lunch to the kaka's a couple of times. All round a great couple of days.
What a fantastic place, it was the highlight of my vacation to NZ. We spent an overnight on the island. I didn't know what to expect, there were surprises around each turn. The kiwi spotting at night was the most unique experience I have ever had. To see rare birds like the takehe was an absolute thrill. Minnie's knowledge of the birds and the land is great. The food was a 5 star rating. The cabins are basic but very comfortable. We climbed to the top of the island, the view was so worth the climb. The weather was perfect and everyone at the lodge is friendly and accomodating. I highly recommend the island to everyone who visits.
A fantastic but all too brief day trip to this unique and wonderful place has left us wanting more!
As keen bird watchers/ general nature enthusiasts we were in heaven. The intro nature talk by Rochelle on arrival was fun and informative and then we were able to peel off and explore on our own. There were many birding highlights - bellbirds (sooo many!) robins, fantails, whiteheads, kaka and kakariki galore, the Royal Spoonbills and most amazingly the 3 Takahe (incuding baby) that, although wild, were very happy just bimbling around the bush at the main lodge. Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we would encounter something so rare, that close up!
All the staff were lovely, the food was delicious and we were very sad to leave. We will be back for an overnight stay as soon as possible. Highly recommended! :)
Not only was the bird life varied - and after living 60 years in NZ I had never seen kakariki and they are beautiful.
but also we dined like kings in the friendliest atmosphere.
It felt like visiting old friends.
A unique New Zealand experience.
If you love trees, birds, history and nature you will love Kapiti island and if you are lucky enough to stay overnight you may just spot a kiwi.
Comfortable Lodge, good food with great hosts.
Kapiti Island is a must see - the wild cacophony of birdsong gives an insight into what New Zealand used to be like!
Over recent years I have had the pleasure of taking small groups to stay at the lodge at Waiorua Bay on several occasions. The latest (September 2010) lived right up to expectation. Everyone was delighted with the numerous encounters with birds, the gecko, the bush, the gentle walks, and the views from the tracks on the North End. We were warmly welcomed by the Minnie and her staff, and well informed about the history of the island and the impressive ecologic recovery that is taking place. Visitors need to appreciate that sea conditions and weather can dictate what can be achieved in any 2day/overnight visit, but our experience has always been one of delight at all the encounters with nature. The staff at the lodge have an infectious passion for all that they deliver, from informed knowledge to delicious meals. The sleeping quarters and ablution areas are adequate - who wants other luxury when from your bunk you can hear the kiwi, the ruru, and on a fine spring morning, the Kapiti Dawn Chorus.
What a great way to spend a weekend! The four of us in our party were thrilled with the opportunity to see so much bird life right on the door step of our accommodation: Takahe, Pukeko, Kaka, Weka, Wood Pigeon, Tui to mention a few.
On Saturday night we even saw a little Blue Penguin and heard many Kiwi calling.
Our hosts looked after us very very well. They were friendly, kind and attentive.
One of our party waded into the sea on Saturday afternoon and got paua which the Cook made into a delicious Paua Chowder-yummmmm
I recently revisited Kapiti Island, and for the second time stayed over night at the Lodge, in Waiorua Bay at the northern area of the island. I enjoyed my visit just as much on this repeat visit, as I had the first time. The walks and views provided plenty of variety, and the information, displays, and material available were helpful. The bird life to be seen and experienced is great. The family and helpers at the Lodge looked after our party very well indeed, and the meals we were given were very nice indeed. Thanks to all, and perhaps I will get back again one day to enjoy the place again.
We had a relaxing two day break in an impressive bird sanctuary. The accommodation was 'bach like' which for me added to the experience. Flash accommodation would be out of place in my opinion. Plenty of good walks. The staff apply a friendly family atmosphere which we enjoyed. The food was excellent, especially the seafood. My only disappointment was not being able to access the track to the top of Tuteremoana whilst on the island.
Great experience - Aotearoa the way it must have been...very friendly natives; human, avian, reptiles and even the local marine mammal.
This was a really unique and outstanding experience. The accommodation is basic, but you spend very little time in it as there is so much to see on the island. The scenery and bird life are impressive. The family is hospitable and very interesting to talk to. A hot tub under a clear night sky brimming with stars was the perfect way to top it off.
We loved the beauty of this island sanctuary where birds live free of predators in the peaceful natural bush setting. We also loved the relaxed and friendly atmosphere created by our hosts (Minnie, John, Amo and their whanau). We felt warmly included into their home, learned about some of the history of Kapiti and experienced the special delight of a walk under a starlit sky as we 'hunted' for kiwi! Thank you for this very special experience.
An Island where you step into the experience of how it was when there were no imported mammal species. An abundant bird life like you never experienced. The Almost extinct Takahe at your feet. Saw the Little Spotted Kiwi during a night-spot. And the friendliness of the Maori family where you reside is amazing. When I asked them about it they said: For us it it normal to let you feel as you are at home. It is entangled in our system. We do that by nature. So don't tell anybody of this beautiful place.
Was a really awesome exerience. The kiwi spotting was the definite highlight with 3 good sightings but the other wildlife and amazing scenery was just as impressive. Thanks alot to Minnie and Amo for the great hospitality, I will be back for some more of that seafood chowder it is simply one of the best things I've ever tasted.
This was truly a wonderful experience, with welcoming owners and clear guidelines for the experience. Brilliant stay, great trig trek, peace, comfort and ease of stay. Food wonderful (and as well we walked to balance out the tasty offerings!). Friendly folk, great kiwi spotting - a real privilege to visit this unique area. I am hesitant to criticize but felt the cost of $250 was a bit on the high side - however it would not have stopped me having this most wonderful experience. Thankyou Minnie and family.
We were made to feel very much at home from the moment we arrived, great food, and excellent hosts. And best of all we were taken out on a walk at night and saw two kiwi, a unique experience.
My husband and I have spent a memorable (for all the right reasons) weekend on Kapiti - highlight being our time on the North End with the Kapiti Island Alive team. We loved being amongst native wildlfe, getting away from it all and being very well looked after. Worth the investment and seeing kiwi for us in their natural environment is one of those moments in life we will always treasure. All NZers especially should experience this as part of our heritage and all tourists everywhere should come and enjoy a slice of real New Zealand.
I had a very nice stay at Kapiti Island. A very warm welcome, wonderful hosts, lovely scenery, heaps of birdlife, nice food etc..
The guided kiwi walk was great. We walked for hours but did not stop until we saw one. Thanks Minnie. The island is a very nice and "something special" stay while driving along the highway from or to Wellington. Great stuff!
Awesome experience and very overwhelming. The abundence of bird life is just amazing. The weather was brilliant. We visited both ends of the island and stayed overnight in the lodge. The team at the lodge were lovely and worth every cent. The food was great and I tried to take the cook home but she wasn't keen! I saw real live Kiwi in their own habitat and not through glass in the museum or zoo! I thoroughly recomend it. Best way to spend my 40th birthday. But be aware of the Weka - i was done over within 5 minutes of being on the island. The only way to save your belongings is to have a padlock on every zip or hang your bag up high on the hooks. they are so quick and very clever - do not underestimate them.
a wonderful weekend with perfect hosts and great kiwis and other birdlife all in tranquil beautiful island, definitely one of the best experiences we have had in NZ getting to see kiwi on the bush walk in the wild and so close was something to remember
We live on an island, and when ever we pass by the Kapiti coast we look across to Kapiti Island and wonder what it is like out there. Recently we left the mainland to visit the mysterious Island where we were greeted by wekas roaming on the beach, and Takahe foraging in the tussock grass, and in the dark under a maze of stars we were amazed to find Kiwis in their natural environment! The local hospitality is great, the bird life is abundant, and the scenery is awesome... Kapiti Island, an amazing place!
Like most Wellingtonians, I’ve longed to venture over to Kapiti Island as we’ve driven past on SH1. Well now I’ve done it and what a truly amazing and unforgettable experience the Island offers its visitors – from the efficient organisation and local knowledge of all involved, the natural beauty of the Island itself, the amazing birdlife enjoying the freedom of their natural habitat to the welcoming hospitality of John, Sue and Amo, their family and their team that make Kapiti Lodge what it is.
For my first visit to the Island and I know I was lucky on three counts:
1. I was able to share this unique and wonderful NZ experience with my Mum visiting from the UK;
2. We stayed overnight at Kapiti Lodge enjoying the coastal beauty and birdlife of the North End, night-time Kiwi spotting, good company and great food; and
3. The Kapiti weather was superb for early April!
Now that I’ve done it I can’t wait to get back and escape once again to Kapiti Island.
Get over there!
Ive always wanted to spend some time on Kapiti Island and "do the fauna / flora" thing ... for years Ive wanted to !
I was not prepared for having my senses be assaulted by the constant barrage of native bird song, and the birds themselves.
This was an Easter weekend I'll remember for a long time - in as much for the pure exhilaration of enjoying the bush, nature and exercise - but also the generous hospitality shown by the folks at the Kapiti Island Lodge. Nothing was a problem, the accommodation, food and company were most enjoyable.
To John, Sue & Minnie and co - many thanks. Its not often you get your teenage son saying it was a "great weekend" - and posting bird pictures and commentary on facebook within an hour of getting home!
Well done guys - and thanks again.
I highly recommend this trip on the back of our personal experience.
Probably one of the best New Zealand experiences I have had in 30 years. The highlight, aside from the birds, was the interaction with both staff and operators of the resort. There attitude and knowledge of birds and culture were worth the trip alone!.
First rate natural history experience and we were made most welcome
Simply stunning. What a great place to visit. The bird life was everything I had hoped for and the accommodation comfortable. As for the food - couldn't have asked for more. I didn't really need more but it was too nice to leave alone. Thank you all for sharing your magical island home with me and I hope to return one day. Ma te Atua kotuou e manaaki.
We enjoyed our day trip to Kapiti Island (with a delightful lunch and a really interesting guided tour) so much that we are planning to go back and stay overnight so we can see the little spotted kiwi and hear the dawn chorus. Part of the pleasure of the visit was meeting the neatest people - staff, owners and other tourists - and getting to talk to them over lunch.
Jaynie and I visited the northern end this time and stayed at the lodge - what wonderful hosts John, Minnie and Amo are - very knowledgeable and caring. I would highly recommend the kiwi walk at night - to see a spotted kiwi 10 minutes into our walk and then sight others 3-4 times after that was indeed the highlight of our visit. Takahe, kaka and weka walking on our cabin patio, and then doing the gentle walk to Okupe Lookout. Breath taking! We'll always remember our visit to the Kapiti Island Lodge!
My family and I actually live on the Kapiti Coast (or mainland!) literally across the water from Kapiti Island. So it was an incredible (triple birthday) two days/one night visit with all the good things that other reviewers for this site have written, and more besides. In summary, if you can make it to this magical Island, then this is an experience that will bless and enrich the lives of any New Zealander (or visitor to NZ) who is interested in the history of their land, their people, their culture, their place and identity. Before you go, do your homework on NZ flora and fauna (principally birdlife), do some extensive beach/hill walks to get fit, and charge up your camera batteries, so that when you come you can experience the moment. Live and love well for life is precious.
Had a blissful overnight visit to Kapiti Island. Saw a wide variety of birds - many rare or extinct in the wild on the mainland. The constant bird song (including the kiwi calling at night) is a real treat. Make sure you visit both Rangatira Point and the North End. The vegetation at Rangatira is dense rainforest which is alive with birds swooping around you and Robins following you along the track - beware the cheeky Takas who will have your lunch if you let them; at the North End there is more open flax and grass country which allows fabulous views of Takahe and Weka as well as many other birds. The lodge and cabins were basic but comfortable - although you might take slippers for that late night walk to the outside loos (keep eyes out for kiwi); good meals and friendly staff rounded out a great experience - we will be back.
Great experience, fantastic birdlife and thankfully wonderful weather. Staff all really friendly and knowledgeable about the flaura and forna. Walk up to trig station (top of the island) was memorable. Dolphin exerience mid channel a fabulous bonus. Kiwi spotting was successful - well done Minnie and Janine. Food was great especially the apple and rubarb crumble
Gus & I arrived at Kapiti 27/2/10 stayed overnight - we went
on a Kiwi spotting expedition with Minnie, Janine and other visitors. Found one WONDERFUL -Birdlife, sleeping quarters , hospitality, meals - the weather was good but this didn't detract from a truly marvellous experience- went on walks, climed the smaller hill and found it a totally relaxing time
friendly and knowledgeable staff, also met a new friend from Wgton Will visit the Island again.
Kapiti Island Alive. I went on a guided tour with Debbie who taught me about the Maori History of Kapiti, showed me some eatable plants and told me all about how the land rejuvinated itself into the beautiful Island that is there today. I saw kereru, bell bird, fantail, seagulls, oystercatches, robins and wekas. A beautiful magical place. And a very delicious lunch at the Lodge on the Northern End,
Paua shells on the beach. Perfect
Sid & Rod
Thank you for making our visit to Kapiti such a memorable one. We were blown away by the sheer beauty of the island and the abundance of native flora & fauna .... and by the hospitality shown by John, Amo & Minnie !!! The experience has given us an opportunity to reflect on how precious the island is and how important it is to protect it for our future generations.
We will definitely be back next summer, and plan to stay the night.
Awesome boat ride and bird life. DOC Rangers were very knowledgable and friendly.
We stayed on the island one night and it was magical. A bit rustic so don't expect the Shangri-la. We were there for the birds and it was magical! The birds are right there, up close! Take a walk around the grounds in the back or on the trails to the beach and up to the mountain top!
At night we went out at about 9:30p at dark and very quietly walked slowly around listening for stirrings in the bushes and just after 11pm we spotted a Kiwi!!!! It was so great!
Food was fantastic and the staff were so friendly! We were so sad to leave!
The birding was amazing, the people genuine and lovely in their gracious hospitality. The traditional food and Maori presentation very nice. Plus the Kiwi spotting absolutely fantastic- what an endearing bird.
We stayed for one night on this amazing island. It's wonderful to see our native birdlife in this beautiful setting. Amo, Deb and Janine are such delightful hosts and willing to share their knowledge. The accommodation is good and the food divine. This place has a special feel about it, and we didn't want to leave. If you value life the simpler way, in the company of inspiring and devoted people, this is the place to be. We will go back for longer next time. There really is nothing negative to say about this experience - do it, you won't regret it,
Hospitable hosts. We enjoyed meeting John especially as he was very knowledgeable. Basic accommodation and food. Evening kiwi hunt with Rodney and Janine a highlight, even if we only saw one. They didn't give up easily. Bird life on North end is different to the eastern tracks. Kaka plentiful and easy to spot Takahe. It is pricey, but you are on an island.
I felt very welcome and relaxed at the Lodge, and I hope to return. I was impressed with the way the grounds were maintained so we could tred confidently and quietly during the night-bird spotting walk. The DOC tracks & facilities were also excellent. I really appreciated that the accommodation was basic and in keeping with eco-living values, as I aspire in this direction myself. Staff were sincere, friendly & helpful. Delicious vegetarian options were provided for the vegos in our group and, for optional afters, a guitar, ukulele & songbook! Tino pai rawa! Kei to mihi ki a koutou.
I went with 3 generations of the family and we all enjoyed it. Staying at the lodge adds to the unique experience of visiting Kapiti Island, a nature reserve within an hour of Wellington. The lodge is comfortable and the Barrrett family welcoming and knowledgible. We saw lots of birds up close and went on the kiwi spotting walk, one group seeing a kiwi claerly and the other only a glimpse. The food was delicious - fresh, well presented and adapted to dietary needs. Will return.
Staying at the Kapiti Island Lodge was the most wonderful experience!
Having lived in Wellington for three years, me and my partner had never made it to Kapiti. We decided to stay on the Island for two nights with his parents while they were visiting us from Germany. They are both in their sixties and well-travelled, but said the hospitality at the Lodge was one of the most amazing experiences they have encountered. The Lodge is a family business and we instantly felt very welcome.
The basic cabins are friendly, clean and warm and the meals were excellent! We even got a large cake with candles for my father-in-law's birthday! Our kiwi-spotting-tours with Rod were especially memorable and we saw four kiwis, one of them right next to our cabin.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I would recommend to everyone interested in nature and New Zealand's history.
I have lived and worked in Wellington my whole life and this is the first (but by no means the last) time that I have been to Kapiti. I found the whole experience humbling and overwhelming (in a good way), the birds and widelife are simply extraordinary. The lodge exceeded my expectations in terms of hospitality, excellent food and the knowledge of the whanau members. In short, a highly recommended woderful experience and I and my whanau will return. Mihi aroha te whanau, tena koutou
Had a great time. My daughter was desperate to see a kiwi in the wild and minnie and janine would i think stayed out all night for us! As it was a mere 2hrs did the trick! (in the pouring rain) The walks at both ends of the island were very enjoyable. The food was home cooked and fresh. The beds comfortable and we were made to feel very welcome. As to the previous comments i think they are harsh and perhaps the writer should visit a luxury african game reserve to see what expensive really is!
Having read the other reviews of Kapiti Island Alive, I'm sorry to rain on the parade a little. I had much higher expectations of this operation given the publicity and the price paid. There are a number of things that could be improved, e.g. the information given before landing regarding what you could and couldn't bring, and the tracks that are closed during certain times of the year. Also, it should be mentioned that weather conditions could mean the boat will pick you up early and you may miss out on one of the long walks. The 'lodge' is a family bach. The food is filling but ordinary for the price. While the wildlife is around and quite visible, I couldn't call the guides 'highly trained' or 'expert' based on the talk given before the night tour.
The island is a beautiful place and the lodge is a great idea but it needs to work harder to live up to its pricing and publicity.
Addition 29/1: Perhaps janets (who refers to my review) could rethink her assumptions that I have not been to more expensive places than this and bear in mind that people are entitled to their opinion and may have had a different experience to the one she had. Perhaps an ego reduction is in order for her.
There is nothing not to like about this place. The hosts are delightfully down-to-earth and know every inch of their land and what walks and flies around it. My husband and I enjoyed every moment; the wonderful meals, the comfy cabins, the night-time search (successful) for the kiwi, the morning swim, the walk up to the western lookout, the wekas, fantails, pigeons, pukekas etc.This is definitely an experience of a liftime!
Wonderful spot and great hospitality from the folks at Waiorua Bay. John, Minnie and all were a mine of information. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend to others.
Thirteen of us thoroughly enjoyed an overnight stay earlier this week. All our expectations were well met- including plentiful bird experience, generous and tasty food, and a calm, restful and unhurried environment. All up, this is quite an expensive activity per person, but one that is well worth saving up for! Highly recommend it to fellow New Zealanders. Amo, Minnie and Rodney were wonderful hosts of the various activities,- including continuing Kiwi spotting for as long as we wanted to keep going - and were ably backed up by Nga Ringawera in the kitchen. Kia ora Te Whanau. Am saving already for my return trip!
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thanks so much to the team at Kapiti Island Alive for an amazing experience. The lodge at north end is great, as is the hospitality and kai - the competition for the latter from the local kaka just adds to the whole experience.
A big thanks to Amo who gave me a guided tour of the area around north end and told me about the history and showed me plants and areas I would not have found myself. The weather was great and there were still some clematis flowers out and smelt fantastic. Thanks for showing me these Amo
I highly recommend this experience particularly to fellow kiwis - this is a truly unique opportunity to spend time up close and personal with some of our amazing native birds in their natural habitat
A most wonderful experience. A walk to the summit from Rangatira Point is worth every bit of the effort involved. A MUST for any nature lover or bird-watcher - the whole experience of being surrounded by the forest filled with birds singing and the sighting of some of the most amazing, beautiful and rare species.
To complete the whole experience of this stunning island is the welcome, hospitality and wonderful food you will receive in the lodge at the North end. The evening Kiwi walk in my case was a wet one with the rain pelting down but it was still a privilege to be there.
My thanks to the whole team involved in making my stay such a memorable one
First time for me to the island (even though I live on the coast!!). An absolutely enjoyable day. Visited the north end and the lodge etc. Really well organised and thought out day/experience. So much bird life everywhere. Our hosts were very welcoming and provided us with heaps of history about the island. A great tour around the lodge and surrounds. Would recommend the walk to the top of the hill ... have never seen so many kereru! Thank you to our hosts for not only an enjoyable day but also for letting the place available. Will be back for kiwi spotting soon!
Our scheduled day to travel to Kapiti was delayed by weather, but we adjusted our schedule on the chance that we would be able to go the following day. Fortunately, we were able to do so. Kapiti is a very special place and the operation at Kapiti Island Alive is one that we will always remember as being outstanding. Birding was great, food was great, and the friendly nature of everyone was exceptional. Our only regret was the weather which required an early departure on the second day. We had hoped to have time to do a long hike before the boat returned in the afternoon of the second day, but the weather demanded an early departure. Still, the experience that we had was one that will be long remembered.
What an awsome day three of my family had on Kapiti, it was a glorious sunny day to visit the North End of Kapiti. It started with the inportance of the function of Kapiti being made clear by the search for any rodents in our baggage before the boat trip!! We had a very informative briefing on arrival and then off to the lodge for coffee and cakes and hospitality. We had a guided climb and got a feel for how the island was evolving over time when we looked down on the lagoon area. We returned to the lodge for lunch with some of the folk who worked there and gained so much from their enthusiasm for the work they undertake. The birds were wonderful and the peace and tranquility have to be experienced to be understood. It was a day we shall always treasure.
What a wonderful experience AND the weather thankfully was great. Firstly a great introduction to the island from the ranger who told us everything we needed to know before we took off on the 521 metre climb to the trig. A bit of an effort but truely well worth it. We saw and heard all the birds we expected but sadly missed out on seeing or hearing the kokako - next time maybe. Then to the north of the island and The Lodge. Thank you Amo and Minnie for an amazing experience. information shared, great knowledge and history, two kiwi spotted on our night walk, FLOCKS of Kereru WOW. Very cheeky Kaka, even a blue penguin nesting under the doormat, Tahahe AND the food was superb. Not cheap but worth every cent.
Barb, Ken and Mel
having read all the reviews to date i agree with all the enthusiasm for this unique place and kindly informative hosts and great food. i will add a few comments mostly of a different nature.
for our stay the weather became perfect after 9 days of mostly rain in wellington and we felt we were in some kind of paradise. my husband of 82 climbed up the trigg track for five sixths of it's length. it is quite steep and relentless but we took it very steadily and had about a dozen rests!! it would have been awful to try and descend the same way and on the way down the easier zig-zag path i found myself thinking, "God bless Mr and Mrs Wilkinson". strange to tell, near the bottom, we were inclined to stumble and amo told me the same thing happened to her the last time she did it. perhaps one loses concentration or looks more towards the beach as it appears through the bush.
the birdsong at the feeding station was strikingly different from anything one had ever heard before. i'm not a big birdwatcher and can't tell you all the birds we saw but there were a lot of stitch birds feeding and the music they made was truly orchestral.
there was something quite magical about the kiwi-spotting which had to do with listening in a very dark and quiet environment. the effect was so peaceful and all the more precious because it was so rare. i only saw a kiwi well disguised in the grass but the search created a special experience which was somehow exciting and calming at the same time.
thankyou to the family for all the work they do in maintaining and sharing this precious corner of creation.
An overnight stay on Kapiti Island is expensive, but well worth the money and planning involved. We had wonderful stay and were so well looked after by our hosts. The night time kiwi spotting tour was a high light, but add to this the fabulous food, close encounters with kaka, weka and takahe and it will add up to an unforgetable and very special experience.
It was amazing! Great hospitallity - it felt like visiting relatives (the good kind ;)) and not like a tourist attraction, and surroundings were incredibly beautiful. It was a really good experience!
Nature and hospitality in an fantastic combo.Spotted Kiwi we looked for and found. On top the takahe at close look. Our best experience in our 3 week tour of nz.Claes and Anna from Sweden.
We had an amazing experience on Kapiti Island. We always see it from Otaki but we never immagined it could be this awesome. We fully recommend it to everyone - William aged 13yrs
Our hosts, Amo and Minnie, did everything in their power to share their knowledge of their taonga (treasure). We are indebted to them for providing our family with a unique experience and superb hospitality - Barbara and Ken
I overnighted on the island with some friends. I was shocked that such a resource could be so close, yet so amazing! I got within a metre of some of the rarest birds on the planet, and was lucky enough to see a kiwi in the wild at night. Fantastic experience! I'd recommend it to anyone!
What a marvelous experience! We recommend it to everyone, both bird-lovers and non-birders. A very special place in a land of many special places.
Mary and Michael, Chicago
If you're looking for a great location, fantastic hosts and awesome food - look no further. We were lucky enough to be on Kapiti Island for 2.5 days for an annual planning session and found our participants interactive and enthused by virtue of the surroundings and hospitality. At the end of our time, although sad to leave, our group was revitalised by their stay.
Nga mihi ki a koutou John, Minnie, Amo me te whanau katoa.
Kapiti Island is a real treasure! We stayed one night in the lodge, and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Our hosts, Amo and Rodney, gave us a very warm welcome and were more than happy to share their knowledge of the island and its history. The kiwi-spotting walk was a highlight – Rodney was a terrific guide, and we were lucky enough to see three little spotted kiwis. Food was excellent – and there was plenty to go around – and the accommodation was quiet and comfortable. Our only disappointment was in having to leave the following morning (rather than stay on until the afternoon) due to poor weather conditions that would have prevented the ferry from making the afternoon trip. We hope to return for a longer stay soon.
I stayed overnight on Kapiti the last weekend in March and had a wonderful time. I recommend the walk with ranger when you arrive on the island in the morning - I don't know much at all about New Zealand birds or plant life but what I learned made the experience on Kapiti much richer. The great benefit to staying overnight is that you have the North End to yourself in the morning - I was lucky to have perfect weather and it was a real privilege to explore with nobody else in sight. Minnie and Amu of Kapiti Island Alive were excellent hosts, with plenty of good home cooking and a very warm welcome. And of course we had a nocturnal walk where we spotted a kiwi and very cute little penguin!
For my wife and I the Kapiti overnight visit, staying at The Lodge, was well worth while. Travelling to the island was made more interesting by the beach launched ferry.
The accommodation was basic but comfortable and the home cooked food excellent.
The bird count was good and the highlight was seeing a Little Spotted Kiwi on a night walk.
The staff looked after us very well and nothing was too much trouble. Amo, Jeanine and Rod fleshed out both the temporal and natural histories of the Island and seemed to possess an inexhaustible fount of knowledge.
All in all, one of the highlights of our visit to New Zealand. Highly recommended.
A fantastic weekend escape for us from Wellington, easy to organise everything on-line, and the lodge provides a haven for both the native birds and visitors. Our children aged 6 and 4 loved it all including the novelty of the ferry trip starting with a tractor tow. A "must do".
A unique experience.The overnight stay was fun. Genuine kiwi hospitality and live kiwis to spot!
I spent 5 weeks in NZ. and this island sanctuary was easily one of the highlights. This Noah's Ark of native birdlife and the opportunity to overnight made it a unique experience. Finding the Spotted Kiwi on a midnight ramble after surprising the nocturnal flightless ducks along the way was unforgetable. Unpretentious hospitality in a comfortable lodge, affable staff and a marvelous setting made departure hugs the final touch.
No hype necessary. Pack your hikers and go!
We had a wonderfull overnight stay on Kapiti Island. Everybody were so welcoming to us that we at once felt home. We had very instructive talks about the work for saving the wildlife and about the birdlife on the island. We had fantastic walks in the nature seeing and hearing the birds, and a great kiwi-spotting walk. We enjoyed too the peace and silence -- and the great food! Hope to come back some day.
What a great trip - an experience we want to repeat. We enjoyed getting close to all the birds, wandering through regenerating and older NZ bush that is not thinned out by possums, and found the hosts and accomodation welcoming and a perfect fit for the location. Thanks for the great food John and Sue, and for the fun kiwi spotting Minnie and Janine.
During our trip through NZ we visited Kapiti Island and booked an overnight stay in the Lodge. The warm and friendly welcome and the very interesting talks with our guide Minnie and especially with her mother we never will forget. There is the creature and the real nature in the middle of interest and more important that the little problems of people..
The KIWI spotting tour was more than successful for us. We have seen 9 different KIWIS. Once more a big “Thank You” for MINNIE. The stay on Kapiti was the highlight of our holiday.
I have been to Kapiti Island several times for bird watching, but on this occasion I wanted to stay overnight to go Kiwi spotting. The lodge is simple but comfortable and reflects the relaxed lifestyle on the island. The food is very good and the guides are very knowledgeable about the area. Had success seeing Little Spotted Kiwi in the bush at night. The island is a haven for rare native birds, which can be seen at close quarter. There are nice walks on the island, and it is also very pleasant sitting on the beach in the sunshine. Highly recommended to all.
This overnight experience made my holiday. The hospitality, welcoming family atmosphere, delicious meals and enthusiasm for the island and its wildlife combined to create an experience that I've already been recommending to friends!
We have been on kapiti island on the 15 of april to see the birds and have an overnight stay. We had a great time!!!! Nice people great food!!!! They take the time for you and also to take us on the kiwi trip. Try to search as long as possible and we found one!!!!! Super and very nice!!!!!!!!!!!!
We took the 7am train up from Wellington to Paraparaumu then a taxi to the boat club - all very easy. Absolute peach of a day weatherwise and the island looked so inviting from the beach. We booked the 1 day tour to the North End with our 8 year old son who is a nature nut.
Our guide, Janine, had a lovely balance of history and nature in her introductory talk. The walk itself was full of wonderful sights - lots of kakariki, kereru (never seen them so large) and takahe and kaka down near the lodge.
We enjoyed a very welcome lunch with John after our walks - must get John's recipe for Macaroni Cheese - and he was great company. He told us a bit more about his family's role on the island. Anyway as a day out from Wellington, this is purely belter ! I must get back one day to do the night time kiwi spotting
For a genuine "off the grid" nature experience very close to the Capital city, it doesn't get much better than this. If you want an ensuite,can't do without your Ipod for half an hour and must wear make-up and posh jewels every day, then maybe this is not your sort of thing.
We found very hospitable hosts welcoming us into their home. They made sure they did everything they could to show us a wild kiwi. (It happened on the second night). You will find real conservationists who are genuine and intelligent.
The bird life on the Island is worth the trip. Just let yourself be fully present and you will see and hear at least a dozen species of birds, some of them not found on the mainland.
The seafood chowder offered when we were there is second to none - anywhere in the world (and we have had a few). The food is healthy and tasty. (Lots of it).
We must have liked it - we have been there twice now and are looking forward to going back.
Very delightful hosts. Good food. Accomodations good. Trails around to see the birds were wonderful. I think thatthey might give a little more information about things you might need during your stay. For example, you need to take towels. Lunch was provided for the overnight. They do tell you to bring a lunch for a day trip. The Kiwi walk at night was super. All in all, a very good experience.
For anyone interested in our NZ forest and birds, this is a wonderful place to go - whatever the weather (provided the ferry boat can dock!) We were very well looked after, a good firm bunk bed, good meals and friendly informative guides. We'd love to return before long.
Excellent visit to see native birds,including a Kiwi.Warm & hospitable owners & guides.Comfortable accomodation,& delicious meals.Would recommend highly.
Welcoming and very relaxing, a great place for family groups of all ages to meet and enjoy the environment. Plenty of native birds, amazing to see then in flight. I enjoyed the walks and fine views.
Very well run, relaxed place to visit.
A fantastic place. Wonderful setting and great hospitality. Had a really nice stay there. Highly recommended and will definitely go back.
Very enjoyable, laid back yet hospitital approach. We stayed overnight for a corporate retreat & every one sang the lodge's praises.
Best experience ever! Great to have a special birthday with friends in such a special place. The hosts (John and Amo) were friendly and knowledgable, and great cooks! The organisation by Minnie...suburb! I would recommend this to anyone that wants abundant bird life, NZ bush, a relaxing time and a total fun experience...even in drizzle!
Kapiti is definitely alive. And the experience is something at will create memories for a lifetime. If we could change one aspect of our weeks in New Zealand, it would be to spend more time at Kapiti Island Alive. You will be made to feel at home and almost as important as the wildlife that has come to define the island and its ways. Enjoy it and remember, Kiwis are not extinct on Kapiti Island.
A great experience - Kapiti Island is just 5km from Paraparaumu on the Kapiti coast but feels like a world away. Seeing all the native birds, the thick bush that hasn't been eaten by possums, pigs, goats or deer is just awesome. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any kiwis but Minnie tried really hard to locate them for us and in the end it didn't detract from the overall experience. John, Minnie, Amo and the others are all really welcoming and make you feel totally at home. The accomodation is basic but quite comfortable and just right for the location. The meals John cooks are great and the happy '15 minutes' (which stretched to an hour!) lead to some great evening conversation and conviviality. Minnie's organising is brilliant - she has everything sorted and is very flexible and obliging. We will definitely be going back for another visit in the future.
A stellar experience ... peaceful, awe inspiring scenery, learnt heaps - the guide really knew her stuff her knowledge of the history and the bird life was inspiring. Welcoming and caring staff - felt like a home away from home. A special memory (especially meeting my first kiwi). I cant wait to return!
We just returned from a magical experience on Kapiti Island. A highlight of our year in NZ. We were cancelled once because of the weather but thanks to Minnie and her patience, planning and perseverance, we were able to reschedule. And we are very glad we did. From the moment we stepped off the boat, Amo, Janine and Rodney made us feel at home - it was like we were visiting with family. Our children, ages 12 and 10, were welcomed and included. (They were particularly captivated by the evening kiwi hike!) We had plenty of time to explore the beauty of the island on our own but communal meals gave us an opportunity to share stories, experiences and a few laughs with fellow travelers and with our hosts. Amo, Janine and Rodney also shared their knowledge, wisdom and their deep love of Kapiti Island which had a huge impact on all of us. "It's hard to believe we were actually there," sighed our son , looking wistfully at the island from the mainland upon our return.
We stayed at the Lodge for 2 nights and found it such a hard act to follow, changed our plans and headed back home to Nelson instead of visiting other sanctuaries on the N. Island.
John, Janine and Oma were simply wonderful (with their passion and love for the island and it's wildlife) and made the whole experience even more special (also seeing a kiwi!). Tony, the ferry skipper was very helpful, courteous and experienced. We will be back and will be telling everyone we know. It is truly an experience for the soul, a privilege to visit and wonderful to know that such a place exists.
Third time for me with Kapiti Island Alive, and it was as good as the previous two times. Introduced my sister and brother-in-law from Europe to the island. Minnie sorted out changes to plans and transfer of permits due to DOC closing Rangatira on the first day. We were well looked after by Amo and Rodney – saw everything we wanted to see, and enjoyed the wonderful hospitality.
My day and half on Kapiti Island was my absolute favorite part of my whole time spent in New Zealand traveling from Auckland to Milford Sound. The hosts were wonderful, the kiwi hunt was a blast, and the overall environment was very blissful and relaxing. I would love to go back someday!
My 10 year old son and I had a wonderful 2 days on the island. The walks and the bird life are fantastic. John, Sue, Minnie and the team were welcoming, very hospitable and a pleasure to deal with. DOC should be congratulated for the work it does to ensure people can sample a real NZ native bush experience. I would thoroughly recommend the trip to anyone, and hope NZ continues its commitment to sanctuaries such as this.
My husband and I recently spent the night on Kapiti Island. It was a fantastic experience, great company and well organised Kiwi watching tour where we saw 4 kiwis. John and Sue were great hosts. Minnie was so easy to deal with organising this and would really recommend this to all to do.
Kapiti Island is a wonderous place that everyone should visit. It is like nowhere on the mainland of New Zealand and you get some sense of what the wildlife would have been like hundreds of years ago. Takahe are one of the rarest birds in the world, yet they roam free on this island and seem common here. The hosts of Kapiti Island Alive are warm and welcoming.
If I could give Kapiti Island Alive a greater than 10 rating, I would.What a unique cultural experience. The native bird life is amazing, the walks exhilerating, the views spectacular and the hospitality second to none. I truly recommend Kapiti Island Alive to anyone who would like to share lunch with Kaka, watch weka chasing each other and stingrays floating lazily in the sea. It was a very relaxing and enriching experience and my only regret is that I couldn't have stayed longer.
I would like to highly recommend Kapiti Alive and Kapiti Nature Lodge to anyone who is interested in experiencing true Kiwi hospitality and also wants to experience a piece of untouched New Zealand bush. The bush walk and views were spectacular the variety of birdlife was awesome and to have the added bonus of a nighttime Kiwi Spotting nature walk with Minnie was something that I will remember for a long time. My only complaint was that it was all over too quickly. Thank you all for sharing your little piece of paradise with us.
Kapiti Island is a special and unique place. We were made to feel welcomed immediately by the people there and the atmosphere is so calming. It was wonderful to see many birds in a pest-free environment truly thriving as the numbers were awesome and i feel so grateful for having visited that particular island. Thanks Minnie and Jenine for the kiwi walk and also to John and Sue for your wonderful food and hospitality which you do so well! Expect a visit from Emile and Teresa again! Rangitira point here we come! Thanks again! :)
What a fantasic day we had! To see native birds in their natural environment was a wonderful sight. We saw many different varities and were able to get some fantasic photographs. We went on the guided walk, the guide was very knowledgable on the subject of birds and plants found on the island, plus Maori history too.
Lunch was great and we found the hosts very friendly and would reccomend this as an essential part of any trip to NZ!!!
The Kapiti Island Alive experience was fantastic. Kapiti Island is a unique location dedicated to conservation and enjoying a reputation of being one of the finest bird sanctuaries in the world. Our overnight stay was peaceful and beautiful. We took three long walks and saw many the lovely native flora and fauna as well as many native New Zealand birds.
Our hosts at Kapiti Island Alive gave informative discussions about the history of the island and its long term commitment to conservation. The children found the discussions really interesting and have been repeating all sorts of facts to us about how and why we should look after our environment. The message was shared in a special and meaningful way. The culinary experience, conversation and the night kiwi walk were also excellent. Well done Kapiti Island Alive and thank you for sharing your special corner of the world with us.
Staying on Kapiti Island was a unique experience. The bird life was great, our last experience before the boat came to take us back to Paraparaumu was to see a pair of Takahe with two chicks. Minnie took us out at night to look for the little spotted kiwi but unfortunately we caught only a glimpse. Minnie would have been happy to stay out as long as we wanted, but 1am was late enough for us. The highlight was a face to face with a ruru on a branch just above our heads. The little owl just sat there posing. We could easily see its beak moving as it called 'morepork'. Very special. There's not too many places where you get that kind of treat! We did a lot of walking over the two days including hiking to the top of the Island, but next time I intend to relax more and enjoy the comfort and hospitality of the lodge. We felt very much at home and very well looked after the whole time. Sharing experiences around the table was fun, and the food was great especially as we were getting so much exercise. Sleeping quarters were basic but comfortable - perfect for the adventure.
My third time to Kapiti Island and second sleepover at the North End. Staying on Kapiti still ranks as one of my top experiences in the world. It's an indescribable privilege and pleasure to be able to experience the sights and sounds of New Zealand by day and by night as they once were. To see and hear little spotted kiwi rustling in the grass, kereru so fat and so close, kaka and weka mischievously wanting to share lunch, tui by the masses and other endangered birds so obviously enjoying their sanctuary is a unique and special experience. Added to this, the warm, relaxed and generous hospitality of John, Minnie and the whanau, a wonderful library, and simple but delightful accommodation and it's a perfect experience. Thanks again.
Fantastic experience on the island. Highlights included great hospitality, relaxation, amazing food and of course the beautiful scenery and wildlife.
Very friendly and helpful service in getting trip prepared. On trip gave excellent and interesting tour information and were allocated a guide who was genuinely enthusiastic and very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna. Really satisfied my father who is birding mad and also fussy, so must be good!
Kapiti Island is truly a sacred place, a real jewel of New Zealand and of the World. Each moment of the day, I heard birdsong of species generally much harder to see on the mainland. The reforestation of Kapiti after the difficult eradication of introduced predators is an amazing sight to behold, and the thriving endemic bird populations are astounding. Jeanine, an interpreter/naturalist on Kapiti, gave visitors an excellent welcome and summary of the history and ecology of Kapiti, and showed everyone pictures of the bird species they could expect to encounter. Mr. John Barrett, host of the accommodations on Kapiti, was similarly informative and engaging. His family has a long history on Kapiti. I recommend staying at least one night on Kapiti. This ongoing project is really something all Kiwis and visitors to New Zealand should experience firsthand. How proud New Zealand must be of all the achievements on Kapiti. I hope to return in the near future. -Kenneth Archambault, Birmingham, Alabama USA
It took 5 attempts before the weather and the transport conditions allowed a successful crossing. My goal was to take photographs of native birds in flight and it was a very successful trip from that point of view. The friendly and relaxed hospitality, great meals, the regenerating natural environment combined with a close encounter with a kiwi to leave me on a lasting high symbolized by
the helicopter ride (my first) back to the real world. Ferries could not operate again. A selection of my photographs will be uploaded to a gallery called "Kapiti Island" on my web site www.paulknightphotography.com
It was damned hard to get there but a magnificent experience when I made it.
Very simple and basic accommodation and facilities but excellent food and very, very welcoming people. To visit Kapiti and then not to stay overnight is to miss the best part. Minnie's persistence in finding us a Little Spotted Kiwi on a lovely clear night when the Kiwis did not wish to be found, was much appreciated. The fact that after walking for over two hours she found one just outside the sleeping accommodation shows how chance works! The lodge operates well alongside the excellent DOC facilities and makes a brilliant destination even better. Kapiti should be a compulsory visit for every New Zealander, bird watchers or not, just to show them what is important about their fragile environment that has to be protected. I bet most of those living opposite the island on the Kapiti coast have no idea of what is over there. From the shore Kapiti looks close. From the Island the shore looks like it is on another planet - which it is! (Visit made December 2008)
I recently spent two nights at the Kapiti Island Alive Lodge, and it was a very nice experience. My hosts, Amo, Minnie, and Rodney seemed to go out of their way to make my stay enjoyable. I am a bird watcher, and they provided lots of good information about where I should look for several different species. With their expert guidance I got to see not one, but several Little Spotted Kiwis.
The accommodation was clean and comfortable, the meals were excellent, and most of all, the people who run the place were very friendly and helpful. In particular, I want to thank Amo for giving me a brief review of the history of her family on the island. I found it quite interesting. I think that the family is now doing an excellent job of protecting the environment of their part of the island, while making it available to the public.
I will recommend Kapiti Island Alive Lodge to my birdwatching friends in the US and elsewhere.
I was on Kapiti Island for the 2nd time now.
The intro talk was great and my group learned a lot about the Island and how important it is to preserve the nature (not just on the island!).
It was fantastic to spend the night at the Lodge again. The family is so friendly and the food was great! I felt almost at home.
The ferry ride is not the most comfortable one but the rest of the weekend trip pid of for it!
Always again - I will be back soon!
As promised, I was back in January 09
Kapiti Island Alive is every time like the first time - and never the same!
We where very lucky and saw 4 Kiwi birds at night thanks to Minnie.
A mystic experience…
Great, and again not my last time :-)
We chose to go to Kapiti Island for our recent team building event, and we are very happy with our decision. We really enjoyed the guided walk in the morning, which showed off our guide's great knowledge and passion for Kapiti Island's history and its inhabitants (both past and present). After enjoying our delicious lunch at the lodge we were able to take advantage of the sunny deck to do our activities together. The staff were available if we needed them, but we enjoyed having our own space to do our own thing too.
My partner and I recently spent weekend on Kapiti Island. My mother shouted us this little holiday as a birthday present for me and so far it rates as one of the best presents I've ever been given.
Kapiti Island is a very special and important place. All New Zealanders should take the opportunity to visit Kapiti Island sometime. To see a living, breathing version of what Aotearoa must’ve once looked like is a real privilege. The fact that so many of the birds and plants on Kapiti seemed so exotic really brought home to me just how much damage has been done to Aotearoa’s native flora and fauna in a relatively short space of time.
Staying at the lodge made our visit extra special. The hosts were friendly, helpful, and approachable and went out of their way to make us feel at home. Accommodation was simple but very comfortable. Mealtimes were great and very much reminded me of times when I’ve stayed on marae, the difference being I didn’t have to help do the dishes afterwards! All of this added up to make the lodge a very relaxing place to stay.
The night time kiwi-spotting tour was definitely a highlight. To be honest I didn’t expect to see any kiwi at all but saw about four that night which was really special. Minnie, who helps run the lodge was our guide for that tour. It was wonderful to see even someone who spends as much time on Kapiti Island as Minnie still gets a genuine thrill out of getting close to the native birds (which you don’t really get much choice about anyway since weka run about almost everywhere on the island)
Overall I highly recommend the Kapiti Island Alive experience. Booking the trip was really easy. I did it all through emails to Minnie she was really helpful and made sure I had all the information I needed. It does require a bit of advance planning in terms of securing DoC permits and bad weather will mean that the ferry won’t go to Kapiti Island. But it’s very easy to re-book everything and it is well worth the wait!
Hi There, Scott and I booked 5 times to get to Kapiti Island - the weather kept letting us down. Finally we got a good weekend of weather and made it to Kapiti Island. We landed on the North End at Kapiti Lodge on the Saturday. We spent the day walking up to the look out point. Had a close encounter with a Weka who liked the look of Scotts lunch. That evening we were spoilt with nibbles and wine and another close encounted with wildlife when a Kaka decided to swoop down to try and get some nibbles as well. We then had a lovely meal with great company and great conversation with the whanau and other visitors. That evening we went kiwi spotting with Minnie. The first Kiwi we saw was burrowing in some long grass. Later on during the walk a kiwi followed Scott over the bridge. We looked down and there was this little kiwi at his feet. The kiwi scrambled off into the bush and across the path. We caught up with Minnie and the others and said come back to the bridge theres a kiwi there. There turned out to be 2 kiwis there and we spent some time listening and watching them. It was fantastic. The next day after a great breakfast we caught the ferry to Rangitira and took the walk to the look out at the top. After two action packed and exhausting days we made it home and have recovered happy that we did the trip. Throughly recommend it to anyone - be prepared for the walks though!
Fantastic experience! Great hospitality, and the opportunity to experience NZ flora and fauna as it hopefully will one day be on the mainland. Plus!!! the opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of a family with 900 years' continuous presence on the same piece of real estate. This is not flashy tourism - it's an authentic encounter with the land and its people. Highly recommended. (But you will have to put the diet on hold).
We visited in Oct 2008 and loved the day (even enjoyed the whole boat experience - boarding a boat whilst it's high and dry on the beach!). Everyone associated with our day made us feel welcome and the scenary/bird life was wonderful (the weather was kind too). We opted for the full buffet lunch and 1hr tour - money well spent. Hats off to Minnie.
I spent 2 nights at Kapiti Island Alive, on 18th and 19th September 2008. I was the only guest there and enjoyed the experience immensely. The accommodation was a bunk, basic but comfortable, the water in the bathroom was hot, and the food, prepared by Amo, was really nice. Rod, who was my guide for my reason for being there, an opportunity to see Little Spotted Kiwi, was really helpful and persisted long into the night, trying to get a glimpse of the elusive birds. Both Amo and Rod were really enthusiastic about , and strongly connected to, the island, and knew the birds and plants well, so I learned a lot in my time there. After a whole lot of searching we saw a kiwi really well, so it was worth the effort.
The island is a very special nature reserve and it was my wish to see as many of the rare translocated species as possible. Most of these were fairly easy to see around the lodge, the exceptions being Hihi and Kokako, which can be seen near the middle of the island.
Minnie and John, the people who organise the trips to the island from the mainland, were also really helpful. It appeared that the boat operator who takes people to the island didn't want to take only one passenger (or at least wasn't able to take me out on the day I had booked), so I had a problem with getting to the island from Paraparaumu. Minnie managed to organise a helicopter that was coming from Wellington to divert with me and some supplies for the island, at relatively low cost to me, so I wasn't badly put out, and the experience was even more interesting. I hope the situation can be sorted out, as the situation of the operators subsidising clients' air fares to the island cannnot be sustainable.
I would recommend the island as a great nature experience, somewhere to get away from crowds and to observe New Zealand nature as it could have been before people did so much damage. It is not 5 star luxury, but I didn't want that at all. Truly one of the nicest holidays I have had.
Excellent Island ecosystem with loads of very rare native birds and a marine reserve close by. Very friendly relaxed hosts full of information, would recommend to travelers, families and for corporate getaways.
Saw lots of rare birds.
Amazing reserve. The plant and animal life was awesome and I got to see a Kiwi bird.