DOC Boosts Kapiti

1. Kapiti IslandIsland visitors getting more for their money

 By Alan Tristram

Visitors to the Wellington region will soon be able to enjoy a wider range of walking experiences and other improvements on Kapiti Island.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has completed a new wetland boardwalk track that allows visitors to explore and view up close rare species, such as takahe, kākā, kākāriki or saddleback (tīeke), whilst wandering amongst a picturesque backdrop of nikau palms and coastal forest.

A new lowland Rangatira loop track that is shorter and ideal for families will also be completed by next spring.

“Most visitors walk to the summit of Kapiti Island but we want to offer a range of alternatives. The new wetland boardwalkboard walk and Rangatira loop track link up with the coastal track and will allow visitors to discover the contrasting landscapes and wildlife of this spectacular place,” said DOC’s Matt Barnett, Community Relations.

In addition to the new tracks, upgrades to the visitor shelter and the historic Whare are also on DOC’s winter work schedule.

“The visitor shelter at Rangatira will receive a facelift, including tiered seating, new information panels, and improved weather proofing,” said Barnett.

Further restoration work is also planned for the island’s historic Whare, a colonial homestead. It is hoped that once this project is completed there will be greater the whareaccess to the Whare, where visitors will get a closer look and idea of what this little farmstead was like in the late 19th century.

“All these improvements are part of DOC’s aim to increase the quality of experience on the island.  We will continue to work with iwi, tour operators and other stakeholders to offer a world-class tourism experience,” he said.

Kapiti Island is the region’s largest and most diverse island sanctuary. It is pest-free and home to many rare species; a place where visitors may see a takahe or a stitchbird (hihi), for example. They can also learn about the cultural significance of the island, enjoying the native bush, and even become a volunteer.