Mt Paku in Tairua is a volcanic peak rising up between the southern end of Tairua Beach and the Tairua harbour mouth. 7-8 million years ago, Paku’s origins as an island volcano commenced with an eruption of ash and pumice. About 6,500 years ago, sea levels rose and allowed the sandspit north of Paku to develop and establish a land bridge, connecting the island volcano to what we now know as Tairua.
Now you can walk to the summit of Mt Paku though a beautiful trail lined with native trees such as Karaka, Kawakawa, Mahoe and Pohutukawa. Moss-covered rocks, wooden steps and the sound of birdsong from quails, bellbirds and tuis enhance the experience.
To access the short walk to Mt Paku summit, drive up to park at the Memorial Reserve car park on Paku Drive. From there a trail leads across the park and up stairs to the strat of the hill climb proper. Well-constructed handrails and steps etched into rocks make the climb a safe and reassuring one for people of most fitness levels, ages and abilities. Informative sign boards reveal the history and geology of the area along the walk. There are also several spots to pause, sit and enjoy the outlook.
The final climb to the top is short and steep, with a scramble up big boulders just before the summit. From the top of Mt Paku, you will experience scenic views of Tairua and Pauanui, the Tairua River, the Coromandel Ranges, and out at sea; the Aldermen Islands, Mercury Islands and Slipper and Shoe Islands. Fantails are often flitting about at the top of Mt Paku and Pohutukawa cling precariously to the edge of the mountain.
Walking Mt Paku is an ideal family excursion. Children will view it as a an exciting adventure scrambling up big boulders enroute to a mountain-top outlook. For those who prefer a longer walk, begin by climbing the stairs at Oceana Track at the south end of Tairua Beach and follow the walkway signs all the way to the top. There are also walkway access points at the base of Paku. These are located at the end of The Esplanade and part-way up Paku Drive.