Island Bay is a breezy coastal neighbourhood fringed by an arc of golden sand. Sunbathe on the beach, relax in the waterfront park and explore the thriving marine reserve just offshore. There are beautiful coastal hiking trails in both directions, plus easy access to the Wellington city centre.
Things to do in Island Bay
Swim, sunbathe and build sandcastles on Island Bay Beach. Tapu Te Ranga Island sits just offshore and acts as a natural breakwater. Even on windy days, the water is calm. On clear days, you can spot the snow-capped Southern Alps in the distance.
Strap on scuba gear and explore Taputeranga Marine Reserve. Dive schools offer trips to HMNZS Wellington, a Royal New Zealand Navy warship reimagined as a vibrant artificial reef. The marked snorkel trail at the eastern end of the bay takes you through emerald-green kelp forests. Look for octopuses hiding in the rocks.
Enjoy a picnic in Shorland Park, where you’ll find covered tables, public barbecues and a pirate-themed playground. Plaques surround the War Memorial Band Rotunda and honour New Zealand soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and World War II. Older kids love to swim out to the floating pontoon in the summer.
Follow the City to Sea Walkway from Island Bay to the Parliament Buildings in Wellington’s city centre. The trail stretches for 12 kilometres and passes through the lush Botanic Gardens. Varied scenery is the main attraction on the Southern Walkway from Shorland Park to Oriental Bay. From dramatic views over Wellington Harbour to tranquil sections in the tree-filled Town Belt, the trail takes in some of the city’s best vistas.
Getting around Island Bay
Island Bay is compact and easy to get around on foot. The neighbourhood is a 25-minute drive from Wellington’s city centre and 40 minutes by bus. Rental cars offer the freedom to visit Island Bay and explore Wellington at your own pace. Wellington International Airport is a 15-minute drive away.