The tranquil ringing of birdsong in trees is the only real sound other than the movement of stones under your feet as you walk.
Sunday saw a group of the Kapiti News team and our families visit Kapiti Island for a day's exploring, where we were welcomed by clear seawater, a beach lined with broken pieces of paua shell and the immediate calling of birdlife.
Our trip over on the Kapiti Marine Charter's cosy
saw us arrive around 10am, the morning thankfully lit with warm sun that lasted the day.
Kapiti Island, the coast's longstanding nature reserve and Department of Conservation-monitored getaway spot, is one of few areas unspoiled by busy local life, its flourishing landscape home to an array of many now-uncommon bird species.
Like any off-track bush walk, Kapiti Island's man-made tracks are overlooked by native bush, with the tranquil ringing of birdsong in trees the only real sound other than the movement of stones under your feet as you walk.
Unlike other coastal walks though, the island greets you with a collection of confident and rare birdlife; from the self-assured weka daringly searching for food at your feet to the friendly kaka gracing your shoulder with its sudden presence.
Nestled among bush at the bottom of the island, which at its highest point is 521 metres above sea-level - an uphill walking feat that takes around an hour and a half to complete - is the prominent Whare Tawhito, otherwise known as the historic house.
The oldest building on the island, and the oldest building associated with nature conservation in New Zealand, the whare was built around 1897, when much of the island was purchased by the government in an effort to protect its natural heritage.
Originally home to a range of on-site caretakers, residents of the three room hut included the world's first state sponsored conservation officer, Richard Henry.
Appointed to Kapiti Island in 1908, Mr Henry lived in the whare for three years before moving to retirement, following a career predominantly spent serving on Resolution Island, where he worked on capture techniques and successful species relocation methods.
Since then, the home-style base has been used to host scientists, trappers, students, and numerous visitors; its timber frames and gabled corrugated steel roof a tranquil resting spot beneath the active sounds of birdlife.
Noted for completely eradicating pests including the possum and rat, stemming from vigorous pest management methods between April 1999 and January 2002, conservationists welcomed notable increases in a range of species including the kakariki, also known as the red-crowned parakeet, and the robin, bellbird and saddleback.
Among the island's successes is the prosperity of the spotted kiwi, introduced in the 1990s, which is now extinct on the mainland.
Scattered along the tracks are signs boasting some of the various 70-odd species seen on and around the island, which also accommodates blue penguins at its rocky outer face, and seals that faintly emerged in the distance as we boarded the boat for our 3pm departure.
Between capturing photographs of scenery and birds, including those that weaved their way beneath the picnic tables as we ate, an unexpected highlight was resting our feet in the warm gritty sand, watching on as the children played in the sea.
With the island just a 20 minute boat trip from home, the adventure felt like a home away from home - only a little more relaxing, and a lot more exciting.
SOAKING IT IN: Some of the Kapiti News crew and their families enjoying a quiet resting spot overlooking Kapiti Island's beachfront.