The luxury tent on Kapiti Island
Kapiti Island is a bird and nature lovers paradise. And the people that live and breathe it, are the owners and operators of Kapiti Island Nature Tours, whanau (family), John and Susan Barrett, and John’s sister Amo Clark.
John and Amo’s iwi (tribe) and whanau have been living on Kapiti Island since the 1820s. They have gathered generations of knowledge and experience on the island, which over time, has grown to be recognised as a world renowned nature reserve.
Kapiti Nature Lodge, run by John and Amo is the only accommodation on Kapiti Island. As well as the overnight accommodation at the lodge, their operation includes bird and history tours, and other activities like traditional harakeke-flax weaving weekends, seal watching, and seafood gathering.
The safari tent on Kapiti Island is located near the lodge in a peaceful spot, surrounded by nature. The tent shares bathroom facilities with the other lodge guests a short 40 metre walk from the tent. Delicious meals prepared by the lodge's chef are included in the overall package for your stay, as well as all ferry trips, DOC permits, and a fantastic night kiwi-spotting walk with an experienced guide.
Whether you’re a local or visiting from overseas, seeing kiwi in their natural habitat is an experience not to be missed. Kapiti Island is home to around 1,400 little spotted kiwi, making it one of the densest population of kiwi to be found, and one of the easiest places to see them in the wild.
So, just imagine. You're sitting on your tent verandah, cold drink in hand, watching weka wander through the grasses, cheeky kaka eyeing up your chips and dip, and wood pigeons perching in the manuka just metres from your tent. The air around you is filled with the bird-song of rare, native birds... and a delicous meal with great company is waiting for you in the warm and welcoming lodge. Nice.
Maunga Iti, Tutukaka Coast
Maunga Iti, meaning 'little hills' in Maori, is a large bush block just inland from the stunning Tutukaka coastline. At an easy 2 1/4 hour drive from Auckland, this delectable slice of kiwi paradise makes the perfect escape for weary city folk looking to recharge and relax. Perfect for couples, the luxury tent sits on a hill with a dreamy view overlooking bush and ocean.
Highfield Forest Retreat, Kauri Coast
The campsite at Highfield Forest Retreat is set in a dappled glade, in mature native forest on the edge of Highfield Farm. The site features a luxury tent, beautiful kauri hut and an outdoor bath in a rocky grotto, nestled amongst the bush and fern covered ground. Just 2.5 hours from Auckland, it makes a great weekend glamping escape.
Castaways for Couples, Karioitahi Beach
Castaways Resort is a spectacular coastal property in the South Western corner of Auckland, just 50 minutes drive from the CBD. Glamping at Castaways is the perfect couples escape. You'll instantly unwind in this truly restful and romantic spot. With your gourmet dinner and breakfast included in the package, all you need to think about is getting yourself there - the rest is taken care of.
Top Hut, Coromandel
Top Hut is situated on a remote bush block on the Coromandel Peninsula. The luxurious one room tree top hut is a complete escape from everyday life. Relax and soak up the serenity in this tranquil place, with long evenings out on the hut deck, toasting marshmallows on the chiminea under twinkling vintage string lights.
Built into the hillside on a beautifully landscaped corner of the farm, this unique hobbit-style house has been a family secret for 15 years. The ambience of candle-light, the warmth of a coal range fire and hand crafted native timbers, offer guests a rustic, cosy and tranquil escape from the modern world.
Phoenix Valley, Tauranga
Bay of Plenty
Situated just 15 minutes from Tauranga, the luxury campsite at Phoenix Valley is set in a magic location. Nestled into a fir tree forest, it's perfectly positioned to capture views of the towering pumice cliffs, and the crystal clear stream running along the valley floor. Your own private swimming hole and a luxurious outdoor shower and bath set into the trees, complete what is a truly unique outdoor experience.
Chattan Farm, Bay of Plenty
Bay of Plenty
Chattan Farm is a serene and peaceful haven. 300 hectares of native bush with multiple marked and mapped tracks, make this a walkers or riders paradise. (Chattan Farm welcomes riders and their horses too!) Nearly predator-free, bird life thrives and glampers will awake in their luxurious canvas tent - to the sound of a heavenly dawn chorus.
Te Rata, Lake Tarawera
Te Rata is set on Department of Conservation (DOC) land at Hot Water Beach, Lake Tarawera. It's right in the heart of the thermal Rotorua district, just 20 minutes from Rotorua. The lake edge steams with thermally heated water... the perfect place for soaking your worries away...
Maggie the Caravan, Ohiwa Beach
Bay of Plenty
Maggie is our beautifully decorated, roomy and comfortable 1972 Crusader caravan. And she's available to rent at the iconic Ohiwa Beach Holiday Park, 35 minutes from the Bay of Plenty summer hub, Ohope. Just pack like you're going on a beach bach holiday - all the camping gear you need for a comfortable camping holiday is provided.
Tuki Tuki Valley, Hawke's Bay
A stay at Tuki Tuki Valley, in the Hawke's Bay gives you the best of both worlds... You'll feel immersed in the peace of the countryside, while just being a few minutes from vineyards, cafes and the charming town of Havelock North. The campsite is ideal for a couple or family. And, there's no need to leave your furry family member at home - dogs are welcome too!
Birch Hill, Central Hawke's Bay
Birch Hill Station is the quintessential Central Hawkes Bay sheep and beef farm. Accessible to both Auckland and Wellington - it's perfectly situated for groups of families or friends to gather for a country escape. The campsite consists of three luxury tents and a fantastic fully enclosed kitchen and camp lounge.
Ridge Top Farm, Manawatu
Glamping at Ridge Top Farm will give you a chance to experience rural NZ like never before. Try some clay bird shooting, take the kids to feed the chooks, do the marked tramp over farmland with sensational views, and relax around the campfire with a glass of wine at the end of it all.
Kapiti Island is a bird and nature lovers paradise. Whether local or visiting from overseas, seeing native birds and kiwi in their natural habitat, is an experience not to be missed. The luxury tent is located near the Kapiti Island Lodge, surrounded by nature. Delicious meals are included in the overall package for your stay, as well as all ferries, DOC permits, and a fantastic night kiwi-spotting walk with an experienced guide.
River's Edge Retreat, Martinborough
Just 10 minutes from popular Wairarapa holiday town, Martinborough, River's Edge makes the ideal place for a couples escape. The luxury tent is set on the edge of a quiet, tree-lined river that runs through a pretty farm property. The front of the tent has a large glass door frontage, which offers a beautiful river-side view.
Fossickers Hut, Marlborough
Fossickers Hut is situated near small, historic, gold-mining town, Canvastown, on the main route to Nelson from either Picton or Blenhiem. The pioneer-style hut is tucked into native bush, perched on a bluff above the serene Wakamarina River. An old coal range in the lean-to kitchen, and outdoor, fire-heated bath, add to the historic vibe.
Kissing Gate, Nelson
Kissing Gate is nestled on a 7 acre farmlet, set amongst a glade beside a pond, surrounded by peaceful countryside. Based in the beautiful Mapua district, its just 30 minutes from the centre of Nelson and 16 minutes to Motueka. The campsite is made up of two vintage caravans, Ruby and Pearl, and a settlers' cottage style bathroom and kitchen.
Honeywell Hut, Motueka
Honeywell Hut is just 50 minutes from popular Motueka, and just over 1 hour from Nelson. Set on a large and dramatic sheep and beef farm, Honeywell Hut has all the style of a back country musterer's hut. The one room hut has been loving restored over the years by owners, Fiona and Richard, with a ton of creative, rustic charm.
Camp Kekerengu, Kaikoura Coast
Camp Kekerengu is set on the majestic Kaikoura Coast, sheep and beef farm, Ngaio Downs. Situated three hours from Christchurch, half way between Blenheim and Kaikoura, you'll feel a million miles from anywhere as you gaze out to the majestic scenery from your tent. With three large tents, sleeping up to 11, this is the perfect campsite for groups.
The Hexagon, West Coast
The Hexagon is an off-the-grid rustic hut, originally built by an astrologer over 30 years ago. Native timber planks line the walls and ceiling and hand-made stained glass windows offer stunning views of the ocean, coastline and bush surrounds. Just 10 minutes from the famous 'Pancake Rocks', The Hexagon is the perfect place to stop and rest on your way up or down the wild West Coast.
Hurunui Jacks, West Coast
Hurunui Jacks is a magical property on the South Island's West Coast. Surrounded by virgin native bush and bordering the pretty Kaniere River, glampers will find plenty to do and see. Go trout fishing on the lake, enjoy some delicious whitebait fritters - and savour absolute peace in an outdoor bath under the stars. Hurunui Jacks is situated right on the West Coast Wilderness cycle trail.
Lavericks Bay, Banks Peninsula
With the luxury campsite a 15 min walk down to a beautiful secluded beach, glamping at Lavericks Bay in the Banks Peninsula is something pretty special. Enjoy long, warm days swimming and playing in the soft sand on the safe beach. Bring your bikes and explore the farm tracks or take your kayak out for an afternoon... all followed up by a hearty camp cook-up at the end of the day.
Check Availability and Book - Kapiti Island
Booking a stay at Kapiti Island works a little differently to our other sites. When you book a stay using the online booking calendar below, you are booking directly with Kapiti Island Nature Tours (your hosts at Kapiti Island). Full payment will be required on booking, and goes directly to Kapiti Island Nature Tours. Booking confirmation and all future correspondence regarding your booking - will come straight from Kapiti Island Nature Tours. If you'd like to get in touch with the team at Kapiti Island Nature Tours regarding your booking please contact them on 0800 527 484.
If you have a Canopy Camping Escapes Gift Voucher that you would like to use at Kapiti Island - please email us with the details prior to booking, so we can ensure it's applied.
Rates and Extras
WHAT YOUR STAY INCLUDES
A stay in the safari tent on Kapiti Island is an all inclusive package charged on a per person basis. This means that the following elements of your stay are also included in the price:
- All your meals (prepared by a chef and taken with your hosts and other guests at the Kapiti Island Nature lodge)
- Return ferry from Paraparaumu to the island, including the detour to Rangatira (the south end of the island)
- Introductory talk by one of the Kapiti Island Nature Tour experienced guides
- Department of Conservation (DOC) permits
- Nightime Kiwi-spotting tour (taken on your first night if staying more than one night)
Once you've made your booking online, Kapiti Island Nature tours will be in touch to confirm and book your tour, your return ferry, obtain the relevant permits, and give you all the information you need to know to have a fantastic visit.
One night stay - all inclusive package - $396 per person ($792 for 2 people)
Two night stay - all inclusive package - $615 per person ($1230 for 2 people)
Please note: Kapiti Island is closed during June, July, August and September.
Hot Tub - $60 per fill
HOW TO BOOK AND PAY
The quickest way to check availability and book is by using the online booking calendar. This is always up to date. Find the date that suits you and click the 'book now' button to move to the next step. You'll be taken through the booking process in a few easy steps. You'll be required to pay in full during the booking process.
Once you've made your booking online, Kapiti Island Nature tours will email you your confirmation. This includes your ferry bookings, DOC permits, and all the information you need to know to have a fantastic visit.
Give the gift of glamping! Gift Vouchers are available for Kapiti Island or any Canopy Camping Escapes glamping site. These are provided in electronic format, for you to print out and pop in a greeting card for the lucky recipient. Read more about our gift vouchers, including how to purchase one, here.
The only way to get to Kapiti Island is by ferry. This cost is included in the cost of your overall package.
Once they have received notification of your booking, Kapiti Island Nature Tours will book your ferry transport for you. Read more about the ferry transport to the island under the 'Getting There' tab.
There are many ways to make the most of your visit. We recommend you ferry to Rangatira, take the walk to the highest point on the island, then re-join the ferry to the Lodge at Waiorua Bay (north end) later in the afternoon. Or you can take the ferry directly to Waiorua Bay and begin your nature experience there.
The standard itinerary for the overnight kiwi-spotting tour includes:
8.30am - Check-in and bio-security check at Kapiti Boating Club, followed by a short introductory video presentation.
9am - Ferry from Paraparaumu to 'Rangatira' - the central section of the island. You'll receive a welcome and site briefing by one of the experienced guides at Kapiti Island Nature Tours. You'll then be left to make your way around some of the well marked tracks in the mature bush, seeing an amazing variety of native birds. If you don't want to stop at Rangatira, you can take the ferry directly to the lodge at Waiorua Bay (north end).
2.30pm - Ferry collects you from Rangatira and takes you at the Kapiti Island Lodge on the north end of the island, leaving you to either relax at the lodge or walk around the various tracks on the north end of the island.
6.45pm - Pre-dinner drinks and snacks
7.30pm - Dinner at the lodge
9pm to 10.30pm (approx) - Night Kiwi-spotting tour
Day of departure:
8am - Breakfast
10am (or before) - Check your luggage out of the tent and store in the office for transportation down to the ferry later in the day.
1pm - Lunch
2.30pm - Return to the lodge (if out walking) to identify luggage to be transported down to the ferry, and walk down to the beach to await ferry.
WHAT TO BRING
All you need to bring is a bag with your personal items and clothes and a packed lunch for your first day. All linen is provided.
If you are visiting Rangatira en-route to your overnight stay at Kapiti Nature Lodge make sure you bring a day pack with essential day items, packed lunch and a drink. The remainder of your luggage can either be delivered directly to the lodge to await your arrival later in the day or the skipper will store it in the water taxi secure locker till you re-join the water taxi to the Lodge later in the day.
Kiwi spotting walk – recommended clothing for this walk: a warm fleecy jacket or top & good walking shoes or boots. It is important to be as quiet as possible. “Noisy” clothing (e.g. nylon parker/pants, jandals) can disturb the kiwi.
The only way to get to Kapiti Island is by ferry. This cost is included in the cost of your overall package.
Kapiti Island Nature Tours will book and organise your ferry transport for you. They will also ask you to call on the morning of your departure to check that the ferry is operating. Moderate swells can prevent the ferry service from operating, in which case your stay may be delayed, postponed or refunded.
The ferry departs from the Kapiti Boating Club on the corner of Marine Parade and Kapiti Road, at Paraparaumu Beach, and returns to the same place. Paraparaumu Beach is one hour drive from New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. To get to the Kapiti Boating Club, Turn-off State Highway One at Paraparaumu at the BP gas station. Follow Kapiti Road right to the end to the final traffic Island. There is a public car park available at the Kapiti Boating Club. This car park is directly in front of the boating clubrooms (not the public car park to the left of the Boating Club). Cars can be parked at the Kapiti Boating Club overnight.
The ferry trip takes just 15 minutes each way and leaves at 9am for your overnight stay (subject to numbers and good weather conditions), returning at 3pm on the day of your departure.
Because Kapiti Island is a precious nature reserve, and managed by the Department of Conservation, there are rules and regulations that must be followed in order to help protect the native birds on the Island. This includes having your bags checked for pests before you leave on the ferry.
Being on a bird sanctuary island also means that your visit may be weather dependant. Departure times may vary due to weather and sea conditions. Kapiti Island Nature Tours will contact you the night prior to your visit to advise you of any delays due to weather and sea conditions if known, as mentioned above they also ask that you call on the morning of the visit.
Eating and Drinking
You'll need to bring a packed lunch for day one, all meals after that are cooked for you by the chef at the Kapiti Lodge and enjoyed in the lodge with the other guests and whanau.
Kapiti Island Lodge is BYO for all alcoholic beverages, so if you enjoy a beer or wine with your meal, make sure you bring this. There are chiller facilities at the lodge for your use.
Once you've booked, the team at Kapiti Island Nature Tours will be in touch prior to your arrival to check your dietary requirements.
Things To Do
WALKING AND BIRD-WATCHING
There are three walking tracks on the Island, at two different locations. There is a flat easy walk (1.5 hours) at Waiorua Bay (north end) which includes circling the lovely Okue Lagoon (where you are likely to see Royal Spoonbills!). There are also shorter flat walking options. You can also take the gentle climb to the western lookout (2.5 hours round trip).
At Rangatira Point (central part of the island) you can climb to Tuteremoana Trig - the highest point on the Island. This is a three hour return walk (medium difficulty). Allow for time to have a picnic lunch at the top.
The views and birdlife from all these walks are spectacular and each has their own unique landscape.
There are kayaks available for guests to use, and you can snorkel (bring your gear), swim, rent the hot tub for a relaxing soak, or just laze around … Anything you want to do to unwind and get away from it all, you can do it here.
The owners and operators of Kapiti Island Nature Tours are the whanau (family) – John and Susan Barrett, and John’s sister Amo Clark, who lives at Waiorua Bay at the north end of Kapiti Island.
Kapiti Island Nature Tours run the only commercial operation at Waiorua Bay which includes; the overnight accommodation at Kapiti Nature Lodge, bird and history tours, and other activities like traditional harakeke-flax weaving weekends, seal watching, and seafood gathering.
The team work closely with the Department of Conservation to nurture and protect New Zealand’s most precious native birds, including Little Spotted Kiwi, Takahe, Kākā, Weka, Tīeke (Saddleback), Kereru, Kokako, Hihi, Toutouwai (Robin).
John and Amo’s iwi (tribe) and whanau (family) have been living on Kapiti Island since the 1820s. The family have gathered generations of knowledge and experiences on the island. Kapiti Nature Lodge, was inspired by the homestead of John and Amo’s grandmother who opened her farm homestead to visitors.
1. Booking and payments
1.1 The dates of your booking will be held upon full payment. Payment is to be made via Visa or Mastercard only. On completion of the online booking request an email will be sent to you immediately advising the amount due and secure online payment link for Visa and Mastercard payment.
1.2 On receipt of the full payment, an email will be sent to you within 24 hours confirming both the payment and your booking details.
2. Cancellation and severe weather warnings
2.1 Ferry sailings are subject to favorable weather conditions, and it is essential that you telephone or text Kapiti Island Nature Tours ferry on 0800 KAPITI (0800 527 484) between 7.00am and 7.30am on the day of your travel to check sailing conditions and confirm the trip. If your sailing is cancelled, you can choose whether to defer your holiday to a later date subject to availability or receive a full refund.
2.2 Cancellation by you within 14 days of arrival date will result in 25% forfeit of the total booking price. Cancellation within 1 day of arrival date: 100% forfeit of the total booking price. No show will incur full booking charge as penalty.
GST of 15% is included in the daily per night cost. A GST invoice will be supplied if requested.
4. Important rules and procedures for visiting Kapiti Island
Kapiti Island is one of Aotearoa’s premier conservation and flora/fauna treasures. Consequently, visitors to the island must be mindful of protecting the delicate balance that exists between protection of our endangered species, and visitor enjoyment and education.
Management of visitors in a manner that assists in the protection of the special nature that is Kapiti Island’s environment is one of the guiding principles of our operation. Accordingly, we have developed a number of special operational policies and protocols that all visitors must adhere to. Many of these rules are legally enforceable conditions of our operating license.
* Smoking is not permitted, except at one specified and sign-posted location at the water’s edge, directly in front of the Lodge.
* Visitors may not operate any fire, or cooking appliance, gas cooker, bbq, candles, or other open flame devices
* Visitors are not permitted to bring bulk foodstuffs to the Lodge to enable control of predator risk.
* Our facility provides accommodation on an all meals provided basis.
* Visitors are required to use only the marked and approved walking tracks, and observe the sign-posted boundary instructions demarcating private and Crown Land. (This will be explained during your introductory talk & briefing)
* You must be in possession of your KCDC permit at all times when on the Kapiti Crown Land (these are subject to inspection by local authority staff)
* Visitors are not permitted to enter the DOC managed Kapiti Nature Reserve, other than by accredited ferry, at Rangatira Point. Access to the Nature Reserve is not permitted by land from our facility.
* No fauna/flora shall be introduced to, or removed from Kapiti by visitors.
* Any sighting of rodents by visitors shall be reported to Lodge staff immediately.
* The introduction of seeds and or plant residue to the Island is a risk to the regenerating environment. It is a requirement for all of our visitors to check footwear and clothing for seeds or plant residue to ensure such material is not introduced to the island. Please ensure this is undertaken prior to boarding your vessel to Kapiti Island.
* All fruit stones/pips must be deposited in designated containers located in main building.
* At critical times during the year, certain areas of the island will be closed to public access. e.g. nesting season/high fire risk.
* Alcoholic drinks may be consumed only within the immediate vicinity of the main Lodge building. (BYO)
* No independent walks are permitted between midnight and 5.00am.
* Special conditions apply to guided Kiwi Spotting tours. These specific protocols will be explained and demonstrated during briefing immediately prior to the Kiwi watch tours.
* Rubbish disposal…please ensure that you place all rubbish in the designated containers situated in the main Lodge building, and in the cabins.
* Water supply and usage…..because our water supply is rain storage, we ask that visitors carefully manage water use. Hot showers are available, but please exercise minimal use of the precious water supply.
Comments from our guests
"Do it. Nothing was nicer than lying on the bed looking out at the hills and listening to the birds.
The addition of the toilet with stable door meant you never missed anything. Great to see the lizards."
Leonie Etheridge (5 February 2016)
"A wonderful experience with excellent hosts that allows you the freedom to enjoy the island and its amazing bird life in a relaxed and enjoyable manner."
Robyn Brown (25 January 2016)
"Lodges are everywhere. Camping above the ground with a queen bed is luxury. Birdwatchers would love the morning chorus. A big thanks to Amo, john, Manaaki and all the workers. Kaiti Island is truely magical."
Uenuku and Aroha Fairhall (27 December 2015)
"Fantastic location. Fantastic hosts."
Matthew (8 December 2015)
"Informed, relaxed and fun staff. Stunning scenery and bird life. Wouldn't it be wonderful if this slice of paradise was how all New Zealand bush could be."
Heather Thorne (13 May 2015)
"Kapiti Island and Glamping go hand in hand - a fabulous experience."
Mary-Claire Lindsay (22 April 2015)
"Wonderful hospitality and informative guides. All the staff were friendly. The accommodation was simple and stylish with locally made bedding. I would stay again and would recommend it to others without hesitation."
(27 January 2015)
"We just loved the whole overnight experience of that part of Kapiti. The owners and staff also made it extra special. The bird life just gives a glimpse of NZ before predators."
Alan McGray (14 December 2015)
"Amazing experience in one of the most sacred and special places N.Z has to offer."
(3 December 2015)
"For us, we wanted a special experience and this was it."
Mike Stringer (14 November 2015)
"Kapiti Island was a wonderful relaxing and informative experience, a perfect antidote to anyone working and wanting a weekend trip, or for any bird enthusiast there are heaps of things to see and do."
(4 November 2015)
"Recommended - comfy bed & sturdy, roomy tent. kept the rain out! Extra blankets available but we felt very cosy under good quality bedding. A lovely deck to watch birds swooping past - right on the edge of the forest. Only a short walk to bathrooms but definitely need a torch."
Marion Sephton (20 October 2015)
“We could have our solitude in the bush setting as well as enjoying the company of others in the main building when we wanted. It made the experience of being in the wild more real. A group of young tuis graced the trees near us and the kereru were regular visitors also.”
“We were blown away by our experience at the north end of Kapiti Island. The luxury tent accommodation was fantastic. We had privacy, close views of the bush and the sound of a great variety of birds to enjoy, and so we left the tent flaps open all night to enjoy the environment. The whole experience was fun, and magic. Thank you.”
Chris & Richard
“We thought that the tent accommodation on Kapiti Island was fantastic. We would most definitely do it again! Peaceful and relaxing, wish we had more time just to actually stay there. One of our highlights was sitting at the table and chairs out front of the tent with a tui sitting on a branch above us singing his birdsong. Early in the morning we unzipped the windows and watched the birds in the trees while still in bed.”
Shona & Ray