Let’s start with an easy stroll on the Pepe Walk (20 mins)
Take a walk down the Sunlover stairs and you’ll find yourself on the main road. From there it is two minute walk to find yourself at the beginning of the Pepe Walk. A gentle stroll that follows the estuary in a lazy circle. Guiding you through some suburban streets (keep an eye out for the Banded Rail – kinda like a weka but smaller) and on to the picturesque Tairua Golf Course.
If you want to deviate a bit and have your swimming gear on, remind Donna to let you know where the secret water fall is.
The track will take you right back to where you started with the option of stopping at a Taiura Café for a coffee. You may choose to walk or ride … both easily done.
Another easy stroll to Tairua Ocean Beach (30 mins)
Once again, get down those Sunlover Stairs and cross over our one lane bridge. If its high tide, you’ll see the kids and adults alike jumping off the bridge .. doing their bombs or as we say here .. manu’s (bird in Maori).
Turn right and stroll along the estuary. A beautiful, wide public track, which when following your nose will lead you right up to the ocean beach. There is a plethora of native coastal and wading birds to look out for. Including the godwits which makes it way to Tairua from Alaska each year.
Tairua Ocean Beach can be accessed by a few points but I recommend walking on up to the surf club which you will see on your left as you head towards Mt Paku.
Once again, swimming gear is recommended as this is a pristine surf beach.
Add another 15 mins ….
If you want to take your walk further, carry on round to the base of Paku, past the marina and on to the cul de sac. From here you will be able to see Pauanui Beach and the boats as they leave and enter the harbour.
There are a couple of cafes to choose from at the base of Paku. I just feel every walk deserves a reward!
This route is fully doable on your bike!
The hike up Paku Mountain (from 15 mins to 2 hours)
OK, so I’m going to give you a choice here. You can drive to within 15 minutes of the walk to the summit or commit to a walk from Sunlover … approximately a 2 hour round trip (but worth it!).
The 15 minute option is to drive up Paku until you come to a children’s playground. This is where you will park. Signage will lead you up the mountain path. Paku mountain was a place favoured by the Maori to set up their Pa (fortifications) as the views of the sea and the valleys is amazing! You’ll soon see why.
If you decide to walk from Sunlover … follow the easy stroll to Tairua Ocean Beach. Get on to the beach and take the coastal path up the outside of Paku. We’ll give you a map to navigate this a bit more easily as it not only takes you through gorgeous ocean tracks but also over private land (with owners permission of course)
This route is not so easy on bike for obvious reasons! You’ll need to leave your bike at the children’s playground before you hike up.
Ferry ride and bike or walk in Pauanui (up to 2 hours)
The local ferry that crosses the harbour takes bikes and there is a beautiful track on the estuary on Pauanui side of the harbour. Just a word of warning … you know that song … don’t pay the ferryman … well, just double check what times he will be returning … you don’t want to be caught short!
The Pauanui Trail is best done on your bike. It is a 6km ride along the river and is not a round trip … yet … The undulating track will lead you past beautiful native bush, regenerating land and native birds and animals.
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