Places of interest near Saltwater Lodge

1.                   Paku Summit  (5 minutes drive): Paku is the twin peaked mountain you can see from 

            the front windows of Saltwater Lodge. 

How to get there:  

Drive to Tairua town, turn right into Manaia Road and head for the beach.  Follow the road around 

the base of Paku and up Paku Drive.  Turn into Tirinui Crescent and park at the end of the street.  

The track to the summit is about a 10 minute easy walk plus five minute medium climb. 

What you see:

Spectacular views of Tairua, Pauanui and offshore islands.  Take your camera!



2.         Twin Kauri Reserve (10 minutes drive north)            

How to get there:  

Drive out of Tairua on the main road for about 3 kilometres until you see a roadside parking area on the right.  

What you see: 

Two large kauri trees (right beside the road), which are large native trees of New Zealand.  

You can also walk around a track in the reserve behind the twin kauris (about 20 minutes).  

This contains a number of smaller kauri trees and other native trees.



3.         Pauanui and Pauanui Waterways  (15-20 minutes drive south)  

How to get there:  

Drive out of Tairua and back along the State Highway.  Take the Pauanui turnoff by the garage at Hikuai and drive down the road until you come to Pauanui Waterways and then Paunaui itself.  Alternatively, take the ferry from the jetty at the end of Tui Terrace and walk around Pauanui.

What you see:

Pauanui Waterways – A man-made development where many of the luxury homes have 

their own jetties and moorings.  

Pauanui  A large well laid-out township, mostly of holiday homes, which is populated 

predominantly in the summer.  Built on a sandspit, Pauanui was a forest before 1967.  

There are shops, a golf course and an airstrip.  

Puka Park Lodge – a luxury resort at the southern end of Pauanui, hidden from view among the trees.  

It is open to the public for dining and health treatments such as massage.  



4.         Sailor’s Grave Bay (10 minutes drive north)

How to get there:

Drive north to The Sailor Bay Road (Te Karo) which is a right hand turn off the main road at the summit of the hill, about half a kilometre past the twin kauris.  Drive to the end of the road to the parking area.

What you see:  Walk down the track to the beach and to the left on a small hillock is a marked grave of seaman William Simpson, who was drowned in the surf while loading kauri logs onto the HMS Tortoise in 1842.  British naval ships used to visit the bay to collect spars for their masts.  The NZ Navy maintain the grave site.

The Bay itself is a relatively safe surf and bathing beach with lots of shade.



5.         The Lynch Stream Bush Walk (15 minutes drive north)

How to get there:

Drive out of Tairua on the main road for about 7 kilometres.  There is a large carpark on the 

seaward side of the road, which you can’t miss.

What you see:

The bush walk offers 2 options  

a) a circular track through kauri groves (walking time approx 1½ hours  

b) a more difficult walk for the physically fit taking in part of the circular track before heading north 

towards the ocean over a difficult trail which meets the coast about 1 mile north of Sailors Grave Bay.  

Option (b) will take about 5 – 6 hours at a leisurely pace and you will need a vehicle to meet you, 

but you will be rewarded with a beautiful secret beach close to the end of the trail.


Half-day trips to places of interest

1.         Hot Water Beach.   

How to get there:   Drive approximately 20 minutes north of Tairua, following signs.

From the carpark at Hot Water Beach, walk about 400 metres along the beach to the only 

off-shore outcrop which has a high cliff above the beach.  

What you see:  

At low tide hot water oozes up through the sand on the beach; below the high-tide level.  

Take something to dig with (preferably a scoop or a spade), and dig your own spa!!  

Check when low tide is due at the Visitor’s Centre.



2.         Cathedral Cove  

How to get there:   

a).   Drive 25 minutes north to Hahei following the signs.  

Once in Hahei follow the signs up the hill.  The road ends at a carpark which is the start of a 

public walkway along the coast to the Cove.  (This walkway is very steep in parts and takes 

about 20 minutes energetic climbing and walking).

b)       by Hahei Explorer – a charter boat service departing from Hahei beach.

During the summer this is run as a shuttle service so you can stay at the cove as long as you wish.  

Bookings can be made at the Tairua Visitor’s Centre.

What you see:  A beautiful secluded beach and cove with natural rock arch at one end and a fresh-water 

waterfall at the other.

3.         Opoutere Beach Walk Reserve and Bird Sanctuary

How to get there:  Drive 20 minutes south of Tairua to the small coastal village of Opoutere.  

Drive through the beach cottages alongside the Opoutere estuary to the green council toilet block.  

The path slips over the edge behind the toilets to a carpark and footbridge.  Take the track through 

the pines (about 15 minutes) out onto the beautiful ocean beach.  Turn to the right (south) and 

follow the beach along to the harbour mouth.

What you see:  The dunes in this area are home to several species of seabirds.  Avoid any area which 

the Conservation Department has fenced off.  This 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.



4.         Valley - Old Goldmining Area

How to get there:   Drive south on State Highway as far as the garage at Hikuai.  Turn right onto the 

Puketui Valley Road (opposite the Pauanui turnoff).  Follow the gravel road for about 4-5 kilometres to its end.  

What you see:  An information map on the left just before a big wooden bridge crossing the Tairua River. 

It is an easy walk to the old battery and mining site.



Other Options:

Boat charters to the Alderman Islands (12 miles out on the horizon from Tairua) or Slipper Island 

or the volcanic Crater Bay for cruising, diving or fishing – contact the Dive Shop

Mini van tours with an experienced guide – book at the Visitor’s Centre in Tairua Village

Bush walks with an experienced guide – book at the Visitor’s Centre in Tairua Village.

Last updated: Thursday, 14 September 2000