Cruisy Kapiti has a warm climate and beautiful beaches. Off the coast is Kapiti Island Nature Reserve, a haven for rare native birds, including kiwi (permit needed to visit). There’s heli-biking, remote tracks in the rugged Akatarawa Ranges, single track and some insane downhill at Kohitere Forest Levin, and easier rides at Whareroa Farm. Each year the gruelling 50km Karapoti Classic race is on in Akatarawa Valley (and the easier version, the 20km Karapoti Challenge).
Kapiti Coast Dirt Features
Akatarawa Ranges Close In by Andrew Waddel
Local Trail Guide - Kapiti CoastRaumati South
Queen Elizabeth Park
The main entrance to MacKays Crossing is on SH1, 3.5km north of Paekäkäriki or 7km south of Paraparaumu. There are two alternative entrances: the northern entrance at the southern end of The Esplanade (Raumati South), and the southern entrance at the end of Wellington Road, Paekäkäriki.
Alternatively, catch a train to Paekäkäriki and ride five minutes to the northern end of Queen Elizabeth Park.
The central place to start is Whareroa Beach. Drive past the Ranger’s office at the MacKays Crossing entrance and follow the tramline to the beach.
The coastal track north to Raumati South is undulating terrain, and loops back on the inland track. For the southern end of the park it is best to keep following the inland track south. There are plenty of tracks connecting through to the coastal track which add loads of fun and variety. The Yankee Trail is one of these that leads you past the scenic wetlands and through to the US Marine Memorial. The track is 95% gravel single track and 5% mowed grass. There are map boards and toilets at all entrances. The park is well used by walkers and horse riders, with plenty of picnic areas and a great beach.
Whareroa Farm is also at the MacKays Crossing Interchange. At the main entrance there is a DOC information shelter and toilets. Ride up the farm race to The Hub, and there are more toilets on the left. Carry straight on through to the start of the Link Track (two-way). This is an easy gradient for 4km up to Campbell’s Mill Road. In the bush to the right just before Campbell’s Mill Road there is a new 2.7km descending trail that will take you back to The Hub. For a longer ride carry on up Campbell’s Mill Road for 6km to the entrance of Whakatiki Forest. There is a map board of the forest here. Jump the fence and on into the Akatarawas. All of the 4x4 roads are signposted and there are several loops to do in regenerating native bush.
Loop 1: Titi Road — Perhams Road — Maungakotukutuku Valley
Loop 1 is 7km of (mostly) downhill. Once at the bottom ride past the Kapiti Four x 4 Adventures on the sealed road, and approximately 1km on the left is the start of Campbell’s Mill Road, returning to the top of the Link Track.
Loop 2: Whakatiki Road — Norm’s Crossing — Hydro Valley Road
Whakatiki Road, or Big Ring Boulevard as it is known in the Karapoti Classic, is a fast 5km downhill. Take a sharp right about 1km after crossing the stream at the bottom. This is Norm’s Crossing and leads into Hydro Valley. Ride this for approximately 30 minutes back to the top, and descend back to The Hub via a choice of downhills.
Loop 3: Titi Road — Devil’s Staircase
Allow a good 45 minutes to Devil’s Staircase for this ‘up and back’ ride. From the top of Titi on the way back from Devil’s you are rewarded for all that climbing with a 25 minute downhill all the way back to The Hub.