Much maligned, unfairly in my experience as this post will attempt to convince you, Porirua is one of four cities that make up the Greater Wellington region (along with Wellington, Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt), and is home to ~60,000 people. This photo below shows the Pāuatahanui Arm of Porirua Harbour.
A good place to start is the stunning Whitireia Park at the mouth of Porirua Harbour. It’s ~180 hectares includes native bush, beautiful bays and beaches, a 104m summit to climb, the location of the Kaitawa Pa, and the enjoyable Te Onepoto Loop Track. A great place to hike / cycle / swim.
The nearby Titāhi Bay Beach is known for surfing, but I hadn’t expected cars all over the beach when I visited, which rather spoiled the experience.
Two and half kilometre offshore is Mana Island, which I’ve yet to visit but have seen from various angles from the mainland and flew over at sunset returning from Christchurch to Wellington. The 217 hectare island has signs of human occupation dating back to the 14th century. It is predator-free island which is gradually being replanted to it’s former state by volunteers.
At the far end of the Pāuatahanui Arm of Porirua Harbour is Pāuatahanui Wildlife Reserve, the largest relatively unmodified estuarine area in the southern North Island, opened in 1989. The bird hides are handy places to enjoy the wildlife up close.
Further around the harbour is the lovely Camborne Walkway, home to iconic boat sheds built from 1949 onwards. They used to be worth $10ks, but latest sold for $350k! You’re not able to live in them but they’d make good places to escape to at the weekends, and I love their character.
There are lovely views all around the harbour, including at Ivey Bay and other spots.
The sheltered harbour can be still and reflective, but the most commonly reflective place is Aotea Lagoon. It is unfortunately also often smelly as stormwater drains into the lagoon.
Behind the lagoon is the Royal New Zealand Police College, established in 1908 as the main training centre for the Police. On campus is the informative and free New Zealand Police Museum, well worth a visit.
Porirua town centre is manly big box stores and a shopping mall only really worth visiting if you’re interested in retail. The sole exception, which is well worth making an exception for, is Pataka Art + Museum. Opened in 1998 it is home to an art gallery, shop, library, Japanese Garden, and an exceptional cafe.
To finish with the 468m high Rangituhi / Colonial Knob behind Porirua town centre, which offers expansive views.