Holidays: Best places to visit in Western Bay

Waihī Beach.

It’s not always about the destination, it’s the journey.

The July school holidays are just around the corner and plenty of visitors will be descending upon sunny Western Bay of Plenty and Tauranga for some quality family time - often via busy State Highway 2.

So when kids have hungry tummies, or the adults need to stretch their legs or just break up the long journey - there’s loads for ramblers to experience just a few klicks off the main highway.

Katikati Advertiser has compiled a list of great attractions and free things to do in the Western Bay of Plenty, just in time for the school holidays.

These activities listed are just a few of the many options in our vast Katikati Advertiser area from Waihī Beach to Te Puna.

Te Puna Quarry Park.

1. Te Puna Quarry Park: Art and the outdoors combine

The always-open nature walk offers some arty scenes along the way.

Many head to the quarry for a pleasant walk through picturesque gardens featuring native bush and varieties — but there’s an abundance of outdoor art, recycled work and sculpture/stonework to be enjoyed as well. The works include Māori designs, animals, insects and there are some giant artworks such as the dragon.

Te Puna Quarry Park officially opened in 2000. The circular walk takes approximately 45 minutes.

The Cider Factorie

2. The Cider Factorie Restaurant: Fitness, food and cider

The Cider Factorie Restaurant is a must-visit for those who love cider, amazing food and dining with a view.

It’s also a favourite stop for many cyclists who combine their love of fitness and food along the Ōmokoroa-Tauranga cycleway onto Oikimoke Rd, Te Puna.

The restaurant opened in 2017 and the cidery produces 8-12 different cider flavours per year onsite.

The Ōmokoroa to Tauranga cycleway heads across Wairoa Bridge into Tauranga.

3. Ōmokoroa to Tauranga cycle trail: Bike riding bliss

The scenic route is 19 kilometres of blissful biking from Ōmokoroa into Te Puna heading to Tauranga and is a link to the urban cycleway network.

The well-used paths are used mostly by recreational cyclists and include new and old gravel pathways and boardwalks. The idea is to keep fit, connect the communities and to provide another option to get to Tauranga.

At Ōmokoroa, families spend an afternoon at the Domain - a sheltered, cosy and calm place for young families to swim, picnic, play, eat or take the boat/jet ski out.

Lorraine Morten and Liz Dentice at Athenree Homestead.

4. Athenree Homestead: A step back in time

Athenree Homestead was built by Irish settlers Hugh and Adela Stewart in 1879 and is now a beautifully restored homestead which will take you back in time to early settler days.

The site is managed by a trust which tends to the property. At this time of year the house and site are available for tours on the first Sunday of the month.

Katikati Bird Gardens.

5. Katikati Bird Gardens: Peace, tranquillity and birdsong

If you’d love a peaceful day out with a young family in tow, the Katikati Bird Gardens offers the best of both worlds — charming surroundings for the adults, and birds to enthrall the kids.

There are all varieties and some of which roam free while others are in aviaries.

The garden has 1.5km of paths, a series of ponds, with all kinds of trees, flowers and plants over 10 acres of land.

The bird garden is at 263 Walker Rd East, Aongatete.

The Forta Leza, south of Katikati on SH2.

6. Forta Leza Restaurant: Time warp eatery

Forta Leza Restaurant is an old 1902-era former dairy factory with personality-plus on State Highway 2 in Aongatete.

It’s a great lunch or dinner break for families travelling the busy highway and wanting a place to eat and take in the decor.

There’s more than gourmet pizza here. There’s a display of Jan McLean dolls which the restaurant owner has been collecting for years. There’s also talk of a friendly ghost at the eatery.

Waitekohekohe Recreational Park. Photo / Katch Katikati.

7. Waitekohekohe Recreational Park: Fitness for all

A scenic, vast park offers options for fitness buffs through to casual walkers. Thompsons Track has hour-long mountain bike trails catering for all abilities. There’s also horse trails, walking tracks and swimming holes.

Waitekohekohe Park is just 15 minutes out of Katikati.

Curator Rosemary Deane from Western Bay Museum.

8. Western Bay Museum: The little museum with big aspirations

The Western Bay Museum along Katikati’s Main Rd aspires to be “the best small museum in Aotearoa’'.

They specialise in preserving and showcasing items of relevance from our local past. The curated collections change regularly to tell stories of local history, people and places.

The distinctive little red building used to be the town fire station.

This mural at Katikati Primary School pays tribute to the life of Dave Gallaher, the first All Blacks captain who spent his childhood in Katikati.

9. Katikati Open Air Art’s Mural Town: Colourful murals showcase history

Katikati is famous for being the avocado capital as well as “New Zealand’s mural town’'.

The mural artworks are peppered throughout the town. There are more than 78 works of art including sculptures, carvings and weaving. Each mural has a story to tell which often captures a snapshot of history specific to Katikati’s unique past.

The most recent one is the Guardians of the Game rugby mural along Middlebrook Rd.

 Anzac Bay/Waipaopao, Waihī Beach.

10. Waihī Beach: All the holiday feels

Entering the coastal town itself will make you feel like you’re on holiday ... with its cosy shopping area of boutique shops and eateries, walkways to stroll, and nine kilometres of gorgeous beach which is a destination in itself.

There are amazing closeby walks such as Orokawa Bay walk, Homunga Bay, William Wright Falls and Bowentown.

Waihī Beach also has its own mountain, the Trig Walk (three kilometres) which takes walkers up to breath-taking panoramic view over Waihī Beach, along the coast to Mauao and towards Coromandel.

-NZ Herald.

You may also like....


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment.