We’ve found the best parks in Auckland to offer something quirky and fun for the whole family. They’re not your typical parks, so make sure you read the finer details to know exactly what’s on the cards here. Whether they offer you a delicious bite to eat or introduce you to the culture of the city, you’ll be sure to find a park fit for the whole family to enjoy.
Auckland Botanic Gardens
Where? 102 Hill Rd, The Gardens, South Auckland
The Auckland Botanic gardens are home to over 10,000 incredible, flourishing plants from around the globe that will make your eyes pop and jaw drop. There are so many gardens for you all to explore, including the African Plants Garden, Edible Garden and Spring Blossom Valley. Enjoy the vibrant colours that enrich the city year-round and the expansive grassy areas surrounding the gardens, ideal for a family picnic or game of your choice.
Right next to this luxurious land of flowers is Totara Park. There’s an award-winning adventure playground adjacent to a cute field that’s perfect for picnicking. But wait, there’s more. Totara Park sports an outdoor swimming and paddling pool, fully supervised and fully free all summer long. Don’t forget to strap the bike to the back of the car too, the boys will be complaining if they miss out on the mountain biking tracks. And if you’ve got yourself a little energiser bunny, there’s a tennis court open all year round.
Where? 731 Great North Road, Grey Lynn
While Western Springs might be better known for the bundle of landmarks it sits within, it is a real feature. Surrounded by the Auckland Zoo, MOTAT (Museum of Technology and Transport), a stadium and a golf course, Western Springs can be a little overshadowed. There’s a picturesque Japanese garden fitted with a waterfall, pond and tea pavilion in the park. Have a good look around, then head to the lake; a haven of water lilies, swans and ducks. There’s an epic playground to be explored as well, and if you listen closely you might hear the lions roar. And don’t worry, we’ve got you covered – there’s also drinking fountains and toilets.
Where? 20 Park Road, Grafton
The Auckland Domain is home to iconic treasures of the city. Whether it’s the museum, Winter Gardens, duck ponds or beautiful fernery that draws you in, there’s some serious fun to be had. The amazing Winter Gardens are an indoor sanctuary where your kids can smell and touch all that nature has to offer; the Museum offers room upon room of history and learning to be had by the whole clan; and the park surrounding the grand building is the show stealer, bursting with duck ponds, gardens and native trees that will whisk your mind away to somewhere tropical. Perfect for those warmer days when you want to soak up the sun and fresh air.
Where? Pohutukawa Drive, Epsom
Cornwall Park (pictured above) is a vast green paradise for kids and adults alike. Take a deep breath in the fresh air, stroll between the towering trees, kick a rugby ball around and make sure to keep an eye out for the sheep poo! Don’t worry, you won’t have rumbly tummies, Frolic Cafe is just around the corner. Grab a cuppa, smoothie, or any kind of superb snack to take away. So, cart the kids in one hand and coffee in the other, while enjoying the first signs of spring.
Where? The park entrance is on State Highway 1, just north of Waiwera.
This park experience truly is one of a kind. Located on the edge of the coast, you get the best of all our country has to offer on both sea and land. Relax on the amazing grassy areas and watch farm animals graze the nearby paddocks, or make full use of the warmer days and have fun in the water: fishing, boating and swimming. Make a family day of it and use the BBQ facilities on offer to finish off your picture-perfect kiwi summer day.
By Olivia Stanley and Katie Pettigrew