Aside from all the wonderful things to do at Sapphire Springs Holiday Park and Thermal Pools, such as swimming in the warm thermal pools, exploring the many bush walks, or cooling down in the fresh clean river, there are numerous other local attractions that make Katikati a wonderful place to visit.
KATIKATI (5 mins north)
The town of Katikati is nestled between the foot of the Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park and the northern end of the Tauranga Harbour in the stunning Bay of Plenty. The town bustles with history and culture and has a bit of something for everyone. In summer, visitors are able to enjoy the twilight concert and food festivals.
Things to do:
- Katikati Murals – Take a walk around the town to see some local history portrayed in the murals. The early 1990’s saw the town facing an economic downturn, which led to a friendly group of volunteers who endeavoured to raise local spirits and attract visitors to the area and joined together to create some unique history on the walls of the town.
- Katikati Bird Gardens – A bird sanctuary located in a stunning park, amongst lily ponds, wetlands, mature trees and secret paths. There is also a gift shop and café on site.
- The Haiku Pathway and Uretara Walkway – The Haiku Pathway has the largest collection of Haiku “Stones” outside of Japan. Both walks allow you to explore the Uretara River and estuary where pioneers first landed in Katikati.
- Fairview Golf Club – Situated 5 mins drive from the Katikati township, set amongst 60 hectares of lush pastures with views to the stunning Kaimai Ranges. This 18-hole golf course also provides a full length driving range, putting green, golf shop and changing facilities. Café Nineteen is open every day for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.
WAIHI BEACH (20 mins north)
A visit to glorious Waihi Beach will never disappoint, offering 10km of beautiful white sands and one of New Zealand’s safest swimming and surf beaches. Relax and enjoy the water, go for a pristine bush walk, explore the harbour in a kayak, learn to surf or simply unwind with a picnic. Orokawa Bay at the northern end, and Anzac Bay at the southern end, are popular picnic spots with big shady native pohutukawa trees to keep you cool.
WAIHI (20 mins north)
Once known as one of the great gold mining districts of the world, Waihi has plenty to explore.
- Gold Mining - Take a walk around the Martha Mine Pit Rim in the centre of Waihi, or view the pit from the Cornish Pump House. Waihi Gold Mine Tours are also available to learn about modern day mining which explores the open cast and underground mines.
- Goldfields Railway - Head north and you will find the Goldfields Historic Railway, operating between Waihi and Waikino. Rich in history you will experience a section of track, originally part of the East Coast Main Trunk Railway.
- Water Lily Gardens – Covering 15 acres, the Waihi Water Lily Gardens is a stunning spot to visit. You will find mature trees, expansive lawns, a lake and lily ponds fed by a gentle stream.
KARANGAHAKE GORGE & WAIKINO (30 mins north)
Between Waihi and Paeroa lies the Karangahake Gorge, rich in pioneering history. There are a number of walks networking you through some old gold mining relics including:
- Karangahake Windows Walk – This spectacular walk passes through the relics of the Talisman and Crown mining operations.
- Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway - This walkway features historic railway remains in a stunning natural gorge setting, including two steel truss bridges and a 1km rail tunnel, and provides access to the relics of historic gold mining.
- Hauraki Rail Trail - The Hauraki Rail Trail is the easiest riding Trail in New Zealand. The 82km trail has the longest tunnel 1.1km and showcases some of the best scenery New Zealand has to offer, from the pohutukawa trees on the Thames Coast, through lush green Waikato farm lands to areas rich in pioneering history. A major highlight includes riding through the stunning Karangahake Gorge, one of the “14 wonders of New Zealand”. The trail follows the path of two historic railway lines, running from Thames to Paeroa and Waikino to Te Aroha, while a new path will link Waikino to Waihi.
OMOKOROA, TE PUNA & WAIMARINO (15 to 20 mins south)
Omokoroa is a situated on the edge of the Tauranga Harbour and was originally farmed by early settlers. The peninsula has now grown into a friendly coastal settlement. Omokoroa offers great fishing from the boat ramp and wharf and safe and calm waters for swimming and kayaking.
Nearby is Te Puna Quarry Park, developed by a dedicated band of volunteers from a disused quarry into a world-class park. Featured throughout the park are stunning views, art, sculptures, ponds, tree ferns, native tree plantings and exotics. The walking tracks are easy for the moderately fit.
Head a little further south towards Tauranga and you will find Waimarino, Tauranga’s adventure park, focused around the sport of kayaking and located on the edge of the Wairoa River. On offer is a number of glowworm kayak tours, corporate team-building options, conference and function facilities, and after school and holiday care for children.
KAIMAI MAMAKU BUSH WALKS
The Kaimai Ranges span 70km from the Karangahake Gorge, through Tauranga to Rotorua and form a natural barrier between the Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions. There are 300km of tracks to explore with huts, shelters and picnic areas spread throughout. Numerous access roads run directly into the park to connect with the well-marked hiking tracks. On the tracks you will find many native New Zealand trees including the majestic kauri.
Located at the end of Hot Springs Road (2 mins drive from Sapphire Springs Holiday Park and Thermal Pools) is the Tuahu Track which crosses the Kaimais to Te Aroha. This track also links into the North – South Track and many others. Also at the end of Hot Springs Road, you will find the Tuahu Kauri and Kauri Grove walks.