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Vehicles on the beach
Kāpiti beaches are shared spaces – as a community, we want everyone to be able to enjoy them safely together.
Exempted vehicles are:
- vehicles launching or retrieving boats in an authorised boat launching area
- land yachts/blocarts in the authorised area
- emergency and law enforcement vehicles
- lifesaving vehicles
- Council vehicles on official business.
Read more in our Beach Bylaw.
Vehicles may only be parked in boat launching areas if they:
- are launching or retrieving boats
- display a valid mobility sticker (Kāpiti and Waikanae Boating Club launch areas only).
Other vehicles (except two-wheeled and off-road motorbikes, which are not permitted on any beach area as outlined above), may only park in beach areas where driving is allowed.
Other vehicles (other than two-wheeled and off-road motorbikes) may drive or park:
official beach access point at Olliver Grove, North Waikanae
official beach access at the southern end of Rodney Avenue, Te Horo.
shingle track through the reserve beside the foreshore
northern bank of the Ōtaki River mouth
official beach access opposite 100 Marine Parade, Ōtaki Beach.
official beach access point opposite 8 Marine Parade, Ōtaki Beach
northern boundary of the Kāpiti District.
Note: the Waitohu Reserve area is outside the limits of the foreshore and is off limits to all vehicles.
Vehicles on the beach must keep to the permitted driving areas, and:
- use an authorised vehicle accessway, at no more than 10km/h (this speed limit also applies to boat launching areas)
- drive in a safe and careful manner in permitted driving areas, at no more than 20km/h, and with consideration for all other beach users
- give way to pedestrians, bathers, horses and dogs at all times
- not block access for other beach users
- keep out of all dune areas, as they are fragile and contain breeding birds and erosion-control plants.
Note: Council can issue a parking fine of $40 to anyone not following these parking restrictions; Police can issue a fine of $150 to anyone driving in an area where vehicles are prohibited.
See Looking after our beaches for how you can help protect Kāpiti's significant and sensitive flora and fauna.
Council officers and local Police actively patrol beach areas, but can’t be everywhere at once. You can always call the Kāpiti Coast District Council, and the following agencies also need to be advised. If an incident is happening now, or someone is in danger, call 111 immediately.
|If a vehicle or motorbike is...
|driving in a no-driving beach area, or beach reserve (dunes etc)
|Police (105) immediately
|driving in the Waikanae Scientific Reserve
|below the high tide mark
People riding offroad motorbikes and quad bikes are an ongoing issue on the Kāpiti Coast beaches and dune systems.
Our Beach Bylaw is clear that two-wheeled motorbikes and dirtbikes are not allowed on our beaches. No vehicles of any kind are allowed in the dunes, except for emergency vehicles.
This is because our dune ecosystems are home to many vulnerable species of native birds, plants, lizards, and insects. The tūturiwhatu (New Zealand dotterel) is one of our most endangered birds and is particularly at risk. The Department of Conservation estimates there are only about 2500 left in the whole country. The dotterels nest in the sand and their eggs and chicks are also sand-coloured, so they are incredibly vulnerable to predators and people, dogs, horses, and motorbikes.
Dunes protect our coast from flooding
The dunes are important for other reasons. They protect the land, houses, and public assets behind them from the sea, especially during king tides and storms.
They’re also critical for protecting our coastline from rising sea levels due to climate change. Protecting our dunes is a key adaptation measure being looked at by the Takutai Kāpiti coastal adaptation project.
Dunes have a natural erosion and accretion (building) process they follow, but that doesn’t mean it's okay for erosion to be made worse by human activity like offroad motorbikes.
Local voluntary dune care and restoration groups plant natives like kōwhangatara (spinifex), pīngao and wiwi to help trap sand and help the dunes build back up after being eroded by the sea. Motorbikes and quads wreck this vegetation and interfere with dune reformation.
What you can do about motorbikes on the beach
Council enforces rules for vehicles parked on beaches, and police enforce rules for moving vehicles. Both Council and police advise you should not take matters into your own hands. If you can, take a photo or get a plate number and report it to police by either calling 105 or reporting the incident on their website.
If you have friends or family who ride offroad, remind them why the dunes and beaches are not suitable and talk to them about other places to go.
Where motorbikes can go
Joining a club is a great place to start. Motorbike enthusiasts don’t want their sport to get a bad rap, so they make every effort to put on events and set up trails that don’t cause problems for non-fans. They also teach riding skills and etiquette to keep riders safe and well-behaved. Look for a club online or ask at your motorbike repair shop.
Greater Wellington Regional Council has an extensive network of roads and old logging tracks through the regenerating bush and pine trees of the Akatarawa Forest. Some of these tracks are open to the public for quad and trail biking, and there is a trail bike zone through the forest. Riders must have a permit which you can get instantly online.
Find out about trail riding in the Akatarawa Forest.
Beaches are technically considered roads under the Land Transport Act so they can be controlled, and rules enforced by police. This also means councils can set speed limits and other rules, including where motor vehicles can and can't go.
The aim is to keep our coastal environment a safe place for fragile habitats and people. We’re looking at other ways of keeping vehicles off beaches where they’re not permitted to go.