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Within Papaitonga Scenic Reserve is Lake Waiwiri, a dune lake that provides an important sanctuary for recovering wetlands birds. The reserve gets its name (Papaitonga) from one of the lake islands.

Place overview


  • Bird and wildlife watching
  • Picnicking
  • Walking and tramping


  • Information panels
  • Picnic tables

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      About this place

      Nature and conservation

      Papaitonga Scenic Reserve is an important refuge for birds that depend on wetlands or lowland forests for their survival. It is home to waterfowl and wading birds, as well as forest species on the lake's margins.

      Lake Waiwiri and its surrounds make up 135 ha of scenic reserve. Wetland and lush coastal forest surround the lake.

      Within the reserve is the only intact sequence from wetland to mature dry terrace forest in Wellington and Horowhenua.

      The wetland forest associations of kahikatea/pukatea, tawa and pukatea-tawa-swamp maire are now rare.

      The manuka growing on the forested side is habitat for the rare leafless mistletoe Korthalsella salicornioides.

      Getting there

      The entrance to the reserve is at the end of Buller Road, off State Highway 1 approximately 5 km southwest of Levin.

      Know before you go

      Papaitonga Scenic Reserve contains rare plants and wildlife, and fragile habitats.

      Dogs, fires and other activities that may cause damage, such as hunting, mountain biking and trail bike riding, are not permitted.

      Visitors should stay on formed tracks and defined lookout areas at all times. Access to the islands on the lake is not permitted.

      Remove your rubbish. Recycle paper, glass, cans and plastic.

      Pest control operation

      DOC is carrying out possum and rat control in Papaitonga Scenic Reserve. Find out more about the operation.


      Te Papaioea / Palmerston North Office
      Phone:      +64 6 350 9700
      Full office details
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