The underwater scenery within Kapiti Marine Reserve is some of the finest in the greater Wellington region.
Kapiti Marine Reserve boasts clear waters and wonderous marine life, just 50km north of Wellington.
Snorkellers can explore the rocks close to the shore of Kapiti Island. Scuba diving is the most rewarding on the western side and north end of the Island. The boulder bottom, sheltered reef and sandy bottom habitats are home to a rich variety of marine life.
Orange and yellow sponges colour the reefs and luxuriant seaweed beds feed kina and paua. Starfish, corals, anemones, octopus and reef fish such as butterfish, blue cod and red mullet are also residents of these waters. Visitors to Kapiti's exceptionally clear waters include ocean fish like blue moki and kingfish; subtropical fish such as the spotted black groper, drumfish and magpie perch might also be seen.
Some wildlife is best viewed from a boat. Fur seals use Arapawaiti at the northern end of the island as a winter hauling ground. Offshore they feed on squid and schooling fish until they migrate south to breed. Whales and dolphins are also regular visitors to these waters.
Boat services operate licensed trips to and around Kapiti Island and the reserve from Paraparaumu Beach, and make a nice day trip from Wellington.