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Pauanui is a popular beach settlement located on a narrow stretch of land between the Pacific Ocean and a tranquil inner harbour.

The broad, three-kilometre beach has a gentle gradient making it relatively safe for swimming. Depending on the direction of the wind, Pauanui can also be great for surfing, windsurfing and kite surfing.

On the inland side, the tranquil Tairua Harbour and estuary offer hours of fun for kayakers. You can swim here too, but keep an eye out for boats. Across the harbour mouth, at Tairua, the volcanic cone Paku rises steeply from the sea.

At the southern end of the beach, a trail leads to the summit of forested Pauanui Mountain. Rising to a height of 400 metres above the sea, the track is steep in places but the panoramic views from the top certainly justify the effort.