Queen Elizabeth Park
Queen Elizabeth Park is a popular recreational area, with facilities for swimming, fishing, walking, mountain biking, horse riding, and picnicing. The 650 hectare park encompasses the last remaining area of natural sand dunes on the Kapiti Coast, adjacent to sandy beaches and views of Kapiti Island.
The highest point in the park is at an altitude of only 35m above sea level. Even so, there is a surprising amount of hill climbing - albeit in short bursts - as the tracks weave their way over and around the sand dunes. The tracks generally have a firm surface, but watch out for an occasional sand trap where a section of track has subsided or a dune has drifted onto the track. Also note that there is little shelter from the elements in the park, with the prevailing northwest wind dishing out a good sand blasting - especially on the coastal tracks.
The park has a long history, including Maori pa sites at Whareroa and Wainui beaches. During World War II the largest United States Marine Corps camp in New Zealand was located in and around the park, housing 20,000 people. There is a World War II memorial next to Whareroa Road.
The Kapiti Coast Electric Tramway is located just inside the MacKays Crossing entrance. The tramway runs along a 2km line to Whareroa Beach and return.
There are three main entrance points:
Southern: Turn off SH1 into Paekakariki and turn right and continue to the end of Wellington Road.
Centre: The MacKays Crossing entrance off SH1 leads to Whareroa Road, which gives access to Whareroa Beach, surrounding dunes, picnic areas, walking, cycling and horseriding trails, the Tramway Museum, WWII memorial, a wetland and a kahikatea forest remnant. The Ranger's office is opposite to tramway station, just inside the main gate.
Northern: Turn off SH1 at Poplar Ave and follow the road to its end at The Esplanade. Turn left and drive for about 1km to reach the park entrance.
Opening hours: The park is open daily from 8am to dusk.
See the Greater Wellington Regional Council for further information about the park.
Track type/distance summary
Total number of tracks for Queen Elizabeth Park: 16
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