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Paraparaumu is the largest town on the Kapiti Coast, and has lots of good shopping and eating options; once primarily a holiday resort, “Paraperam” has become home to residents who commute to Wellington. It doesn’t quite have the charm of some of the other Kapiti Coast towns but it makes a good base for exploring the area.

Paraparaumu Beach lies a little to the west of the main area of development around the train station. It’s a very good swimming beach and has more of a small-town atmosphere. Ferries to Kapiti Island depart from here. Another attraction, though maybe not a big one for backpackers, is the Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, which is considered by many to be New Zealand’s best golf course. Lord of the Rings fans take note: director Peter Jackson attended secondary school at Kapiti College in Paraparaumu.

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