Tairua

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Climb a volcanic peak, kayak around the harbour, surf at the beach and explore the surrounding forest. This picturesque holiday town has it all.

The volcanic headland Paku and offshore views of the jagged Aldermen Islands make the Tairua area scenically memorable. Inside the headland, the harbour offers calm waters for sailing, kayaking and windsurfing. The ocean beach is ideal for body boarding, surfing and beach fishing - or you can simply relax on the sand.

There are several interesting walks within the Tairua township, including a climb to the summit of Paku. To the north of the town, the 10-minute Twin Kauri Walk leads into a reserve of tree ferns and kauri trees. Another track, along Te Karo Bay, takes you to the memorial for a sailor who drowned in the surf in 1842.

Inland along the Puketui Valley, the Broken Hills Recreation Area offers fishing, kayaking, swimming and camping opportunities. The beautiful scenery in this area includes some impressive rocky outcrops. Walking tracks range from an easy 10 minute stroll to a three-hour hike through a mine (bring a torch). You'll discover fascinating relics from the gold mining and kauri logging days, including a jail set into a cliff. Look and listen for tui, fantail, kereru, bellbirds, shining cuckoos, kingfishers, fernbirds and grey warblers.

For a small settlement, Tairua has an excellent range of restaurants and cafés. Accommodation is also plentiful, although it pays to book ahead, particularly from December to February. Pauanui is across the harbour from Tairua, 10 minutes by ferry or 25 minutes by road. 

Functional facts: Combined resident population (Tairua and Pauanui) approx 1280, shopping centre, supermarket and service station.

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