Queen Elizabeth Park, New Zealand
|Queen Elizabeth Park|
Queen Elizabeth Park, looking towards State Highway One
|Type||Wellington Regional park|
|Location||Kapiti Coast, New Zealand|
|Operated by||Wellington Regional Council|
|Status||Open daily from 8am to dusk|
Queen Elizabeth Park is a Wellington Regional Park located on the Kapiti Coast in New Zealand. The park contains the last area of natural dunes on the Kapiti Coast. The park is steeped in history including pa sites at Whareroa Beach and Wainui Beach.
During World War II, the park was the location of two United States Army and Marines bases, Camp MacKay and Camp Russell. U.S. troops were stationed at the camps in 1942-1944 prior to being sent into combat in the Pacific Ocean theatre. Today, little evidence of the 20,000 strong US military camps remains.
The park was named for Queen Elizabeth II before her coronation and was opened during the 1953 Royal Visit. Many recreation facilities were developed in the 1950s-1960s, including the campground and Wellington Tramway Museum.
The park is bordered by Paekakariki, Raumati South, State Highway One, and the North Island Main Trunk Railway. Entrances are near the bridge of State Highway One over the railway (MacKay's crossing, main entrance) and in Raumati South and Paekakariki. The tangata whenua of the park are Ngati Haumia, a hapu of the Ngāti Toa iwi and Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai.
Several expansive lawn areas near Whareroa Beach and the southern entrance at Paekakariki provide plenty of space for picnics and recreational activities. Public toilets are located at the car parks at the end of the road to Whareroa Beach, and near the playground and car parks at the Paekakariki entrance. A coastal walkway and an inland walkway run the length of Queen Elizabeth Park from Raumati South to Paekakariki. Near the main entrance, a loop walkway leads through a wetland area and bush remnant with mature kahikatea.