Tairua and its twin town Pauanui sit either side of a river estuary that’s perfect for windsurfing or for little kids to splash about in. Both have excellent surf beaches (Pauanui’s is probably a shade better), but that’s where the similarity stops. Where Tairua is a functioning residential town (with shops, ATMs and a choice of eateries), Pauanui is an upmarket refuge for over-wealthy Aucklanders – the kind who jet in and park their private planes by their grandiose beach houses before knocking out a round of golf. Friendly Tairua knows how to keep it real. Both are ridiculously popular in the summertime.