At one end of Pilot Bay, rises the majestic 232-metre peak of Mauao – with its hugely popular base track. And although you won’t find them in the guide books, two fine beaches can be found off the side of this track.
Walking around the harbour side of Mauao past the wharf, you’ll come to a white sandy beach that is a perfect spot to view Tangaroa, the bronze statue that marks the harbour entrance. A few minutes further on is a second small but delightful beach that faces out towards Matakana Island, on the other side of the harbour entrance. You can swim at both beaches but be wary of fast outgoing tides.