The name Waikanae is a Māori word translated, "the waters of the yellow eyed mullet".
It is a popular destination for swimming, kite surfing, sand sailing, kayaking, fishing and whitebaiting.
Waikanae Beach is a short walk from El Rancho along the Waikanae River track, and past the Waikanae Estuary which is home to 63 species of birds throughout the year.
Stroll along the riverbank and enjoy the magnificent scenery while observing the current feathered residents. Tours can also be organised through Waikanae Estuary Bird Tours with Mik Peryer.
The shallow depth of Waikanae Beach produces a higher water temperature than the steeper coastlines of Wellington harbour to the south and a safe place for swimming.
Popular activities for kids are beach art and building sandcastles and drift wood huts, which provide great opportunities to work as a team on their own unique creation.