What is Katikati known for? Murals, birds and a side of guac

October 8

Katikati in the Bay of Plenty district is more than the avocado capital of New Zealand. (Although being the avocado capital of New Zealand is pretty impressive.)

Here are five things that make Katikati ‘k’ for kool.

1. Avocados!

Katikati is avocado central. It’s where commercial avocado farming started, and the biggest avocado tree in the Bay of Plenty district, and the country of New Zealand, is in Katikati.

Look for the big avocado in the centre of town. It’s bound to be a top selfie spot when New Zealand hosts the 2023 World Avocado Congress.

Yes, the World Avocado Congress is a thing.

2. Public art!

As well as holding the avocado title, Katikati is also known as New Zealand’s Mural Town.

Mural painting was started in the 1990s as a way to attract visitors to Katikati, and now there are more than 70 public artworks in Katikati, including murals painted on walls, sculptures and mosaics.

Highlights include ‘Te Wao Tapu Nui o Tane Mahuta’, which tells the story of the Kauri tree, the incredible 3D-ish ‘Lost in a Cuboid’, and the realistic sculpture ‘Barry’ depicting “a dinkum Kiwi bloke, but a bit of a New Age man too” sitting on a park bench.

Look twice to make sure he’s not one of the town’s real locals.

In 2005, this public art was part of the reason Katikati was given Aotearoa New Zealand’s ‘Most Beautiful Small Town’ award by the folk at Keep New Zealand Beautiful.

3. Katikati’s Haiku Pathway

Remember the syllables? Five, seven, five makes a haiku.

Count them up as you wander along this pathway alongside the Uretara Stream to check out the more than 40 Haiku poems written by poets from all over the world. They are engraved into boulders and tiles along the way.

The only Haiku walk outside of Japan, it’s a free visitor experience that brings together the healthy and the literary.

Pickup the guidebook with a map of the poems from the Katikati Information Centre situated in The Arts Junction.

4. The Katikati Bird Walk

Another of Katikati’s notable tracks is the Katikati Bird Walk, which offers a wilderness experience right on the edge of town that’s complemented by more outdoor art.

The Bird Walk heads along another section of the Uretara Stream though a tidal wetland that is home to water birds like shags and herons.

Walkers also encounter several large bird sculptures, another addition to Katikati’s public art scene.

5. Location, location, location

You can’t beat the Bay of Plenty in summer. From bush walks, to surfing, to markets, to art, it’s all there, and Katikati is perched right on its edge.

There are some amazing spots that are easy to get to from Katikati.

The legendary Mount Maunganui, or “the Mount” is nearby. Pop on over to mix it up with the crowds on the beach, take a walk up the hill, then head back to Katikati for some quiet time.

Rural Te Puna, set between Katikati and Tauranga, is home to the Minden Lookout, which offers forever views along the Bay of Plenty coast and out across the sea.

Or hit Waihī Beach, an old school Kiwi coastal community made for ice creams, fish and chips and racing across the hot sand into the cool water. The beach is nine kilometres long – all the better to enjoy that sweet Bay of Plenty summer climate.

And you don’t need to stay of a long time to enjoy what Katikati has to offer. Katikati is off the beaten track, but close enough to Tauranga (it’s just a 30-minute drive) and Rotorua (less than two hours away) to make it the perfect spot for a day trip or a weekend on the coast.

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