Katikati is known as ‘New Zealand’s Mural Town’ and is home to our country’s largest outdoor art gallery. Here you will find at least 60 pieces of art depicting the history of this bustling rural town. Dozens of colourful murals are painted on walls and commercial buildings, while impressive sculptures, carvings, mosaics and tapestries are also on display right across town.
Guided mural tours are available for $10 every weekend between October and March departing at 11am from the information centre in Katikati’s main street.
Nearby you can take a seat next to ‘Barry’ (a typical Kiwi bloke reclining on a park bench with a newspaper). This copper and fiberglass sculpture is hard to miss and makes a great holiday snap.
Or stroll down the acclaimed Haiku Pathway which weaves alongside the Uretara Stream in the heart of Katikati. This pathway is the only one of its kind outside Japan and features over 40 haiku poems which are carved onto river boulders. Each short poem has been chosen to reflect its location and provides a novel way to reflect on your peaceful surroundings.
This pathway also links up with the popular Yeoman Walkway. Explore the Uretara estuary and wetlands just on the outskirts of town – home to lots of native birds and several more interesting sculptures.
There are many cycleways and walkways around the Katikati peninsula, offering stunning views of Tauranga harbour and a great opportunity for you to stretch your legs.
There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants and riverside picnic spots to refuel afterwards. Browse the local shops and admire the gorgeous hanging flower baskets which line the town’s main street.
Katikati is a 30 minute drive north of Tauranga and is surrounded by orchards and rolling green farmland. Lots of kiwifruit and avocados grow here. Keep an eye out for roadside fruit stalls or drive the Katikati Cuisine Trail where you can meet local artisan food producers and sample their amazing products right on the spot – mouth-watering smoked seafood, salami, cheeses, breads, chutneys, jams, nuts, liqueurs, olive oil and more.
Stay in one of the well-equipped local motels or treat yourself to luxurious accommodation at Matahui Lodge. Sample a glass of New Zealand’s best wines from their wine cellar or relax in their manicured grounds overlooking Tauranga’s inner Harbour.
Katikati’s Sapphire Springs Holiday Park is a great place to camp or park your motorhome. Enjoy a swim in their natural thermal pools while native birds like tui sing out in the bush around you. A warm spring runs through the middle of this park and is a perfect place to skip stones across the riverbed or swing off a rope into a deep watering hole.
If you’re a keen gardener, don’t miss the tranquil Katikati Bird Gardens. Admire camellias, magnolias, azaleas, lilies and more grow as you walk around this sprawling property and see many species of native birds wandering free or living in aviaries.
Enjoy a round of golf at the Fairview Golf & Country Club or take in one of Katikati’s outdoor twilight music concerts held on summer evenings. The Western Bay Museum will be open in the town’s old fire station building from February 2016 onwards and will house local exhibitions and provide insights into Katikati’s early years.
There is plenty to do in this peaceful country town so come and experience its charms for yourself.