A short trip along the Expressway or a drive down Te Moana Road in Waikanae – ‘the road to the sea’ – brings you to Waikanae Beach. This wide expanse of uncrowded beach is great for swimming, relaxing, or having a long, leisurely stroll. If you're lucky, you might spy a whale or dolphin swimming through the Rauoterangi Channel.
Tread carefully and quietly on the sandspit by the river mouth during October to late January, and you might spot dotterel chicks or nests in the sand. These endangered birds enjoy the protection the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve offers them – remember to leash your dogs, and enjoy.
If getting your blood pumping is what you are after from your beach experience, there's also a fantastic walking track that connects Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve and Otaihanga as part of the Te Araroa trail.