Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Waikanae River & Estuary

Paraparaumu, Wellington

Submitted by Joseph Lindsay

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 9 ?

Gnarl Factor: 8 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run



Totally/mostly flat

Dog Friendly

Native bush




Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +1.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -1.6%


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Estimated Times to Run







A good, easy beginner off-road run. Mostly flat with some undulations, it should be able to be run at close to road running times for its length. For most of its length you could push a pram, but some parts you would have to carry it. The route can be entered at many points from Paraparaumu Beach, Otaihanga, Waikanae Beach, Otaraua, Waikanae township and the expressway bridleways. It can be run in loops from bridge to bridge crossing at Otaihanga Domain, Kapiti Expressway, Jim Cooke Park/Otaraua or old main road. Dogs must be on-lead for some parts, but can be off-lead other parts.

The route follow the corridor from near the beach by Kapiti Island up the river to near the native bush behind Waikanae

On-street parking. Bus stop opposite start point on route 262.

5 km

9 minutes




Navigation is easy and signposted

Perfect throughout.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Potable water at some parks along the route

Very muddy after rain. River can flood over parts of the path any time of year, but forecasts of this are usually accurate.

Flooding any time of year after heavy rain. Flooding also changes footing and can cut holes and expose bigger rock

Trail Legend


Glen Strong

has completed Waikanae River & Estuary 9 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Lots of wildlife and good views make up for what is otherwise a flat and gravelly route

Joe Benbow

October 26, 2020

I did this loop twice as a long trail (ish) run when training and my legs needed something flat after some serious days of climbing. A bit samey samey but some lovely little moments and mostly in the shade and lots of people to say hi to.

Jayne Tankersley

January 26, 2020

It's super flat, good for running with friends and having a chat. Best views are at the end with the beach and Kapiti Island come back into sight. There was quite a bit of work going on involving heavy machinery, but workers were stationed to help us take alternative paths, and check we didn't stray!

Rachel Collingridge

May 22, 2019

The estuary and northern bank were very pretty but the southern bank was a bit too much like road for me. Toxic algae warnings so Sparky wasn't able to swim. Loads of blackberries so take a container if running in Feb.

Richele McKenzie

February 20, 2019

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