Walking tracks to enjoy whilst staying at Pauanui Pines Motor Lodge.
From our property it is a short distance to the harbour with the backdrop of the Coromandel Ranges. The harbour side is well grassed and well maintained. Walk to the harbour entrance, checking the activity at the wharf and boat ramp and the houses perched on Paku Hill. Continue to walk around to the ocean beach either on the beach or the wide grass area above the beach. Walk the length of the beach and admire the surf, the beach, bush clad hills and the islands. Return to our property via Pauanui Beach Road and Vista Paku. It's all easy walking and allow 1.5 hours. While you are walking you will see very few people but you will see and hear a wide variety of native birds. These include Tui, Bellbirds, Fantails, Kaka, and seabirds including Heron, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Dotterel and an assortment of gulls. They all thrive here in Pauanui.
Drive 20 minutes north of Tairua and walk about 400 metres from your car along Hot Water Beach to the only off shore rock out crop with a high cliff above the beach. There the hot water oozes up through the sand just above the low tide mark. Be sure you check the tide time at reception before you leave. It is best to be there about one hour either side of low tide time.
Drive to Hahei (25 minutes north of Tairua). There are two ways to walk to the cove. One is via a public walkway along the coast with is very steep in parts. This will take about 40 minutes one way and is only accessible around low tide time. The other is to take the walkway from the car park at the top of the hill above Hahei. Alternatively you can use the Hahei Explorer boat trip. Other more extensive marine reserve trips are also available with the Hahei Explorer.
The track up to the Pauanui Mountain starts from the south end of Pauanui Beach. The climb to the summit can take up to 2 hours and a reasonable level of fitness is required. Your camera is essential as the views from the summit are spectacular. For a short walk with ocean views take the ocean view circuit track which is off the summit track some 300 metres from the start. There is also a track around the foot of Mount Pauanui just above the coastline. This track is just past the start of the Mount Pauanui track.
Paku is the twin peaked mountain at the head of Tairua Harbour where the estuary flows to the sea. Drive within 200 metres of the summit by going up Paku Drive and then into Tirinui Crescent. Park at the end of this street from where you will find the start of the track to the summit. Take your camera as the view of Tairua, the harbour, Pauanui and the offshore islands is beautiful.
From Pauanui head out of town to the main road juction (11klms). Cross over the state highway onto Puketui Valley Road. Drive along this gravel road for 4-5klms to the old battery and mining site on the left just before a big wooden bridge crossing the Tairua River. There is a lot to see but it is not easily recognized from the road or the tracks.
Drive 20 minutes south of Pauanui to the small coastal village of Opoutere. Drive through the beach cottages alongside the Opoutere estuary to the green council toilet building. The path slips over the edge behind the toilets to a carpark and footbridge. Take the track through the pines (15 minutes) out onto the beautiful ocean beach. Turn to the right (south) and follow the beach along to the harbour mouth. The dunes in this area are home to several species of sea birds. Avoid any areas which the Conservation Department has fenced off. The ocean beach is a great place for shell collectors. The scenery is spectacular around the estuary entrance. Allow for at least 2 hours on the beach.
Enjoy biking around Pauanui and further afield to the Puketui Valley and some bush tracks which can take you to Opoutere Beach and beyond.