Pauanui is a place that hums. It’s partly due to the influx of summertime visitors that boost the local resident population from 1,200 to 12,000; and the golden sand beach that’s 4 kilometres long; and the town that packs in fine dining restaurant and casual cafes to just about every sporting and outdoor activity imaginable.
But what makes Pauanui really hum is the sound of private planes buzzing in and out of the airport as Pauanui is a playground for the rich. The Pauanui waterways were the first in NZ; a purpose built community with marinas, apartments, residential homes, private berths and its own private beach.
But Pauanui is more than just a holiday spot for the rich and famous. This is a place where everyday people have been coming to for years to enjoy the sea, surf, sun and lifestyle. That’s the great thing about Pauanui; the lifestyle, as Pauanui caters for everyone whether you arrive by plane or combi van. Park up your car and jump on your bike (or hire one) as the compact size of Pauanui means cycling is the perfect mode of transport to get around this beachside resort.
The first place to start is the beach. 4 kilometres of golden sand that’s not only safe for swimming but has some great surf spots. This is also an excellent beach for walking, running and biking and at the southern end of the beach, there’s also wheelchair access. Stretching the length of the beach is a wide grass area with lots of trees, ideal for picnics or for getting some shade from sun.
The Pauanui community love visiting families and have pulled out all the stops to make Pauanui a fun place for kids. The skate park is a favourite hangout for skateboarders and roller bladders to pull tricks with nearby outdoor basketball courts to shoot some hoops. There are 16 tennis courts around Pauanui, all accessed by a placing a token in a honesty box. Kite flying, kids cricket and touch rugby are favourite activities at Kennedy Park. Pauanui’s Mini Golf course was opened in 1975 and is as popular as ever with families. Head to Tairua Harbour (which lies between Pauanui and Pauanui’s twin resort Tairua) and there’s boating, fishing, windsurfing, jet skiing and kayaking. You can also take the kids on a ferry trip across the harbour to visit Tairua, a picturesque village and beach resort with a laid back, relaxed ambience.
However, Pauanui doesn’t forget the adults. There’s two 9 hole golf courses and the magnificent Lakes Resort 18 hole golf course. The climb to the top of Mt Pauanui is not for the faint hearted but worth it for the incredible 360o views. Then treat yourself (after that climb you know you’ve earned it) with a visit to the Grand Mecure Puka Park Resort. Miha Restaurant is highly recommended by the locals and renowned for its fine cuisine. Surrounded by lush plants and trees, dine alfresco on the large outdoor deck and really feel like you’re on holiday. Or indulge yourself at Puka Park’s spa complex. Soak in the spa pool, relax in the sauna or spoil yourself with a nature’s touch facial or treatment.
For something that’ll really get your heart racing, head to the airport and go tandem ski diving. This is an incredible way to see Pauanui and one you’ll never forget. If staying inside a plane is more to your liking, then take one of the regular scenic flights and get a bird’s eye view on Pauanui and the Coromandel. Back on the ground, head to Johnasen’s Adventures for clay shooting and try your hand (you’ll probably need both) at the confidence course.
Like everything else, food is also something that Pauanui does really well. Head straight for the Pauanui shopping centre as it’s all here; from great shopping to fabulous dining.
For the coffee hounds, your first stop is Chocolate Pretzel as it has the best coffee in town. Like its name, this place is a real delight with indoor/outdoor seating and a lovely casual dining atmosphere. If you’re feeling hungry, then look no further than the melt in your mouth salmon frittata.
For something cheap and cheerful, a visit to the 19th hole is a must. Popular for its light meals and pizzas, the 19th Hole sparks up at night with big screen TVs for watching live sport, poker nights and live music.
Styles Restaurant and Bar is the place for evening dining. With an a la carte menu and outdoor BBQ and garden bar, locals recommend Styles for its fish, lamb and chicken dishes.
There’s so much to do in Pauanui, it’s easy to see why people come back here year after year and never go anywhere else. So come and visit Pauanui and see what makes this such a great place.