Pauanui sits on the southern side of the Taira Harbour, directly opposite the town of Tairua and the volcanic cones of Paku. Access to Pauanui is off State Highway 25 along Hikuai Settlement Road.

The town feels slightly odd as a NZ town. Purpose built as an upmarket beachside town in the 1970s. It has a carefully planned feel and is one of the few places which is ideal for cycling. There is a track to follow on the south side of the harbour, but a visit is really about the beach. It is one of the best on the Coromandel.

The beach has some amount of freedom camping at either end, and a large reserve that separates it from the nearest houses. It is pretty safe to swim anywhere, being somewhat sheltered by offshore islands. But there is surf patrol towards the southern end.

Walk to the southern end to find the Pauanui Trig Track. it is a hike of 90 minutes up Pauanui Hill, then down to the coast south of the beach then walk back around the stony shoreline. There are shorter walks to a viewpoint and an ancient volcanic rock platform.

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