Most people drive past on their way through NZ. From the motorway it actually doesn’t even look nice.
Far from it! Going for one of the multiple runs, or a loop, through the park takes you through all types of views and landscapes. Through dry, dusty hills, you suddenly arrive in dense bush with typical NZ palms on the side of a little lake with wetlands, through hourse riding and training terrain, up a dune, and end up being surprised by the most breathtaking view over the beaches, the Kapiti coastline and Kapiti Island ever.
In fact, Queen Elizabeth Park, located between Paekakariki and Paraparaumu (or how the locals say, „Paekok“ and „Pram“), has picnic areas, swimming, walking, fishing, cycling and horseriding trails, kite-surfing, the Tramway Museum, WWII Marines displays, several wetlands and the kahikatea forest remnant – not to forget Whareroa Beach and
Queen Elizabeth Park is the last area of natural dunes on Kapiti’s coastline. Once part of a swathe of duneland stretching from Paekakariki to Foxton, the park reminds us how the coastline appeared before large-scale human settlement.
The park is steeped in history including pa sites at Whareroa and Wainui beaches and evidence of the 20,000 strong US marine camps from World War II.
The Tramway Museum is situated near the MacKays Crossing entrance, with historic trams running on the 2km line to Whareroa Beach. Old time magic on a vintage tram-car – a blast for kids as well.
In neighbouring Paekakariki, there is a little beach cafe. Take a seat and enjoy the ocean, or grab the SUP board (for hire) and go explore the waves. Or check out the centre of the village with its little shops, cafes, the cinema and pub.
In Paraparaumu, get some pipis at the river mouth for dinner and call it a day. 🙂