Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Pauanui Summit Loop

Tairua, Waikato

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 13 ?

Gnarl Factor: 80 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Very hilly

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest



Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +19.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -18.7%


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Estimated Times to Run







From the carpark head across the grass to where you should be able to see the trail signs. Start climbing - early on there is a trail split, the sign is missing from the posts at the intersection, but take the right branch up the hill onto the more technical trail. Then you just follow this trail to the top. There are quite a few 'options' on the way up where you can save distance and go up more steeply. I was not trying to save distance, so this route is the longer version. There are lots of rocks and I would imagine it gets pretty muddy in winter.

Once you reach the top signs, head right to the trig, then have a seat, take some pics of the fabulous views. Make sure you check out the trail behind the seats - this is short and leads to tha actual trig. Then retrace your steps to the top sign, then head right - not back the way you came - and head down the trail. This is more of a forestry trail down with tree roots, quite a few rocks and lots of turns - still very technical. Eventually the trail will spit you out onto a rocky beach. Rock-hop along the beach to your left until you see the orange triangle sign and follow the trail back to the start.

This trail includes the peak Pauanui.

Fantastic views over Pauanui and inland as well as the coast both ways.

Plenty of parks and even a loo!

24 km

25 minutes





Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

No water (other than sea-water) anywhere after the toilets at the start.

This would be a beast in wet muddy winter conditions both uphill and down... not recommended!

Lots of technical, rocks, roots, drop-offs... lots of places where you need to take lots of care.

Trail Legend


Croyd Zeier

has completed Pauanui Summit Loop 3 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Was a good workout. Gnarly and beautiful. Came out on a pebble/rock beach for a short while which added to the interest factor.

Karen Koch

November 22, 2022

Great trail - steep and technical, but those views! Pick a good day though

Rob Holm

August 31, 2022

Raining when I went up so wasn't able to see the magnitude of the views but enjoyable all the same. Plenty of walking in this one but good fun.

Anthony Sowerby

October 19, 2020

Great trail with a lot of variety. Good tough workout up the steep hill. Amazing views from the top. The downhill was a bit more gentle. Neat fossils on the rocks on the rocky beach.

Kirstine Collins

August 29, 2020

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