A real kiwi summer

Enjoy a real kiwi summer: jumping off a wharf, time at the beach and getting up close and personal with nature

Beach day at Days Bay

The Hutt Valley is an outdoor haven full of top walking and cycling trails bursting with family fun. From the Hutt River to bush-clad hills and out to our stunning coast, explore nature escapes, gorgeous seaside villages and recharge in the bustling café culture - just 15 minutes up the road from central Wellington.

Build a sandcastle, pack a picnic or grab a wood-fired pizza from the Days Bay Pavilion and join the locals in the summer tradition of jumping off the wharf at Days Bay. From here take your bikes and cycle out to New Zealand’s first lighthouse and the lakes at Pencarrow Head, or just relax on the water paddling a kayak.

Days Bay people swimming near pontoon with East by West Ferry
matiu somes island aerial view of island in middle of harbour
petone settlers museum exterior view looking south
remutaka forest park orongorongo valley hikers on walking track

Jump on the East by West ferry from Days Bay and cruise across to Matiu Somes Island wildlife reserve, home to tuatara, little blue penguins, Weta and other native species. Retrace the island’s extraordinary and unique history as a quarantine station and prisoner of war camp. You can even spend the night here at the Department of Conservation campsite.

If camping sounds like an ideal weekend away – you can also try spot a kiwi in the Remutaka Forest Park! The park is a popular spot for tramping and camping, with sites from $5 a night it makes for an affordable camping trip. Base yourself here and wander into the Orongorongo Valley for a picnic and a swim in the river. Search for waterfalls and mountain top views to create lasting memories. At night, you might even be lucky enough to hear one of over 120 wild kiwi living in the safe sanctuary of the park, created and maintained by the hard working Remutaka Conservation Trust.

After spending the night where you’ve escaped technology, you’ll be feeling like an early settler emerging from time away from civilization. Hear stories of New Zealand’s first organised European settlement at Petone by stopping into the Petone Settlers Museum. The kids can even climb into a replica cabin and experience the cramped life on board early settler ships.

Start your return to modern society with a visit to Silver Stream Railway, a must see for any Thomas fan or train enthusiast. Take the family for a ride on one of their steam engines, you can ride all day on one entry ticket, and listen to the pounding chug, chug, chug as the steam engine sets off followed by barnyard animal cuddles at Staglands Wildlife Reserve for a fun glimpse at farmyard life.

Fire up the free electric barbeques at Avalon Park for a good ole sausage sizzle with fresh bread from Little Bread Loaf, the classic kiwi summer snack is sure to keep the kids going as they race around the adventure park. Chug along on the miniature train, hit the golf ball at a round of mini-putt, paddle around the pond and do a dinosaur ROAR with Colin the T-Rex and race Dad down the twin flying foxes. There’s even water to splash about in, sandpits with diggers so you can build big castles, climbing walls, slides, swings and everything to keep little and even big legs busy!

silver stream railway train and station

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