Location: Southwest coast
Getting there: Drive from Wellington via Karori, or Johnsonville via Ohariu Valley
Suitable for: Walking, fishing and diving
Brief description: The stony beach has a large car park with a small boat ramp near the mouth of Makara Stream. The 6km Makara Walkway (managed by the Department of Conservation) starts at the beach and follows the coast before a gradual climb to the cliff tops, where there are spectacular views of Mana, Kapiti and the South Island. Further along the cliffs are WW II gun emplacements at Fort Opau. The return walk follows the coast from Opau Bay. A 2-hour coastal walk to Boom Rock can be made after crossing Makara Stream.
Parking: Large car park behind beach
Toilets and changing facilities: Toilets beside car park
Accessibility: Coastal walk can be uneven, track to gun emplacements steep in places
Dogs: The beach is an off-lead dog exercise area
Features: The stream estuary is an important native ecosystem and is gradually being restored by the Makaracarpas, a local environmental group. The tiny Makara Foreshore Reserve behind the beach was an area of sand dunes until 1942, when they were bulldozed after fears invading Japanese could hide in them. This destroyed an ecosystem now extremely uncommon in the Wellington region, but rare plants are gradually re-establishing themselves.
Friends groups: Makaracarpas