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Porirua is a city in the Wellington urban area at the south end of the North Island of New Zealand. The central business district is about 20km north of Wellington. Population about 50,000, the central business district is near the southern boundary, south-west of the less picturesque of the two landlocked arms of the Porirua Harbour.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

  • From Wellington or Petone, take State Highway 1 up the Ngauranga Gorge and glide down the motorway to the Porirua offramp. The alternative route (compulsory for cyclists) from Johnsonville follows Middleton Road then goes through Tawa.
  • From Wairarapa and most of the Hutt Valley, take State Highway 58 over the Haywards Hill to Pauatahanui; then
    • go straight ahead at the roundabout to go to most parts of the city (or turn right for the most northerly suburbs).
      • The quick way to the CBD is to follow the State highway along the south shore of the Pauatahanui Inlet to State Highway 1 at the occasionally congested Paremata Roundabout and turn left to drive south-west to the Porirua offramp;
      • To take a little longer but see more housing and lakes close up, turn left just past the roundabout to go through Whitby and eastern suburbs.
  • From Manawatu or Kapiti Coast, follow the signs that say "Porirua" and/or "Wellington" and you will be in Porirua's northern suburbs 10-15 minutes after leaving Paekakariki: first is Pukerua Bay, where Peter Jackson first made movies and where poets Alistair and Meg Campbell live; next is Plimmerton, about which Denis Glover wrote a poem.

By train[edit]

Catch a suburban unit on the Kapiti (formerly Paraparaumu) line from Wellington railway station: about $6 to Porirua, $7.50 to Paremata or Plimmerton (but discounts from 9AM to 3PM). Units leave about every half hour. There are express units at peak times, so check the stations that the unit stops at before boarding. All stop at Porirua, but not all go further, and for some the next stop is Plimmerton.

Or from Waikanae, Paraparaumu or Paekakariki stations in the north, not quite as frequent.

At Porirua the main shopping centre is just across the stream from the main railway station, and buses depart for numerous suburbs. Other stations are Kenepuru in the south (within walking distance of the Kenepuru Hospital and parts of Linden), then north from the city centre in order Paremata (where buses leave for Whitby), Mana, Plimmerton, Pukerua Bay, and Muri.

Suburban trains carry bicycles for an extra adult fare. On the blue "Ganz" units, bicycles are stored in the compartment at the south end of each pair of units. On the silver "Matangi" units, bicycles are stored in the low floor area in the south car of each pair of units - enter the train through the lime green doors (not the navy blue ones). Note you can't carry your bicycle on Matangi trains during peak times. Wheelchair travel is OK, with train crew happy to get the ramp in place and help you in and out (also at the south end of each pair of Ganz units or the lime green doors on Matangi units).

By bus[edit]

Interprovincial buses generally stop at Plimmerton, Paremata, and central Porirua. Regular services link Porirua with Wellington's northern suburbs from Johnsonville (a suburban train terminus) to Tawa/Linden. There are no direct local buses to Wellington, however service N6 runs to Porirua and Plimmerton from central Wellington on Friday and Saturday nights at 1AM, 2AM and 3AM. The one-way fare is $10

Get around[edit]

Mana Transport operate numerous services which mostly operate out of the rail station's forecourt to Porirua's suburbs as well as towards surrounding towns. Fares are based on distance - a typical city-suburb journey will cost about $3. Wellington's Snapper Card is accepted.


  • Colonial Knob, to the west, may get snow in winter but at other times is a rewarding few hours' walk for great views of Cook Strait and beyond.
  • Pauatahanui Inlet, with its eastern end a wildlife sanctuary having one of the highest densities of copepods in the world.
  • Battle Hill Farm Park is a regional park combining farming with public recreation. See the site of one of the "Hutt Valley Campaign" skirmishes of 1846.
  • New Zealand Police Museum, The Royal New Zealand Police College, Papakowhai Road, Papakowhai, Porirua. (Take the Aotea Lagoon/Papakowhai (Whitford Brown) highway exit from State Highway 1, about 2 km north of Porirua (on the right travelling north) or 1 km south of the Paremata roundabout (on the left travelling south). Turn left at the foot of the hill into Papakowhai Road and look out for the signs.), +64 4 238-3141. Daily 10:00AM - 5:00PM. free.


  • Visit Pataka, the museum and art gallery that shares an entrance with the Public Library. See the Japanese Garden (contributed by sister city Nishio). Check one of the North Island's best genealogical collections at the library.
  • Takapuwahia Marae is the headquarters of the Ngati Toa tribe, who immigrated from the Waikato in the 1820s under Te Rauparaha; across the harbour, see the small historic reserve in Plimmerton where the Government captured him in 1846, and which seems to be in better condition than the ruins of the stone fort that was built in the same year at "Parramatta" (now the Ngatitoa Domain) but dismembered by an earthquake very soon after.
  • Enjoy Plimmerton Beach (one minute from the railway station) and maybe watch yet another future world champion windsurfer or boardsailor beating the breezes. One of the city's oldest settlements, dating from the nineteenth century when Plimmer and others pushed the Wellington and Manawatu Railway through.
  • Admire Gear Homestead in Okowai, originally built for a meat magnate, now the home of a pottery group and highly sought after for wedding receptions.


Fast-growing tertiary institution, Whitireia Polytechnic, has headquarters just north of central business district and several campuses in other cities.


A major attraction of central Porirua is its shops and mall, with the 12-storey Wrightson Building (linking with New Zealand's earliest pastoral service companies) overlooking most. Saturday morning early-birds may pick up fresh cheap produce at the central city open-air market.


The usual bakeries, fast-food restaurants (Porirua was home to the first McDonald's restaurant in New Zealand, opening in June 1976), dairies (convenience stores), fish & chip shops and Chinese takeaways can be found scattered around the city. The North City Mall (opposite Porirua train station) has a large foodcourt with the usual Asian and fast-food.

There are 3 major supermarkets - New World is a little pricey but has the highest quality products - located at North City Mall opposite the train statoin. There are cheaper Countdown and Pak'n'Save supermarkets about 5 minutes walk to the north.

The only 24-hour stores to pick up late night snacks/pies/cigarettes etc are the small convenience stores attached to gas stations around the city. Note that these stores do not sell alcohol although nearby liquor stores will also open late.


Nightlife and bars in Porirua are almost non-existent - most Poriruaites will head to downtown Wellington on Friday and Saturday nights - if you stay out late enough it's possible to return to Porirua at around 5AM when the first trains start running in the morning, alternatively a night-bus (N6) runs hourly between midnight and 4AM from Courtney Place to Porirua (continuing to Plimmerton) - one way $10. There are a handful of small bars (known as 'Taverns') close to the North City shopping mall however they lack atmosphere and can become very rowdy so therefore should be avoided.


You cannot taste all the city's delights in one day, so a motel or the beachfront Moana Lodge World Traveller Accommodation (20 min walk from Plimmerton railway station) may appeal, or one of several bed-and-breakfast establishments.

Stay safe[edit]

Porirua has a reputation amongst many Wellingtonians as being unsafe because it is one of the Wellington regions 'lower' socio-economic zones. Though that much may be exaggerated by locals, it does have a higher crime rate than the rest of the Wellington region.

Apply usual safety rules when you are not in controlled areas: no flashing valuables or wearing expensive clothing. A tourist's biggest risk is having personal belongings stolen, by use of some form of violence.

Special precautions should also be taken in Porirua's eastern suburbs (Cannons Creak, Elsdon and Ascot Park).

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