By Stan Stewart.
The Coromandel Peninsula is a beach bonanza. However, in this bevy of beautiful beaches Tairua is unique. For young families and for grands and anyone caring for young children Tairua is unbeatable as a day outing and/or a holiday destination. When it comes to safe and fun water and sand locations in spectacular settings Tairua stands alone.
Like thousands of others, I have been driving past Tairua for years. It has often been a toilet and coffee stop. The expanse of water and sand below the bridge is eye-catching, but we simply push on to sweeping spectacular surf beaches. It is only when you stop and explore Tairua that you realise there is more, much more.
Tairua shallow waters are a gift to young families and carers with young children. The reason for this is the meandering estuary. The estuary fills and drains with the tides. Shallow water spills out over a large expanse of sand. There are no waves. There are no treacherous currents. There is no need for ‘Swim between the Flags’ markers. The estuary fills and empties covering a large expanse of sand with shallow waters. On a base of golden sands, children can paddle and splash in safety.
Close to the highway, behind the large modern toilet block, there is a well-equipped playground, barbeque, and picnic facilities. When the weather is right the shallow shimmering estuary is a welcoming playground. Parents can sit and watch or join the young fry in the delicious waters.
For something absolute fun, just where the estuary widens, you can go pipi hunting. There is no hunting on earth more fun for small children than pipi hunting, and the Tairua Estuary is a superbly ideal spot to do this.
Pipis are bivalve molluscs, 75 mm long to 40mm wide, with a solid white, elongated symmetrical shell. On the Coromandel it is legal to take 50 per person. They can be steamed, poached, stir-fried - you name it. Eating them is fun but for small children catching them is a blast. Pipis live in the sand just a few centimeters beneath the surface. Children find them like this, place feet firmly on the sand and wiggle, a kind of dance. Pipis don’t bite or scratch so there is no danger of cuts or bites. The kids doing the pipi dances find heaps. Great fun for watchers and the children. Tairua’s wide estuary is the place to do it.
For grandparents and parents, one of the favourite activities with kids is pier fishing. Tairua has the best piers for this activity. The largest one is on the corner of Wharf Road and Tui Crescent. The pier is usually quiet. During the summer, the ferry to Pauanui runs hourly from 10am to 4pm. It is a small ferry and even when running there is plenty of space for fishing. A smaller pier is near the Boat Club. However, significant catches have been made at this location.
If you have small children all the time or occasionally, Tairua is the top spot on the Coromandel. Check it out.
Caption: Tairua Wharf.