Splash pads are the latest safe-water fun to hit New Zealand. Up until now we’ve had a few scattered around the country, but it seems the councils are really coming on board and installing these water-splashing pads of fun in our local pools and parks. If you haven’t taken your kids to one of these, check out our list because this is where your kids will want to be on the warm days of summer (or cold — most Kiwi kids seem to have a built-in resistance to cold water when there’s fun to be had). Water spouts, fountains to run through, tipping buckets, rainbows of spray, tunnels and puddles to splash in. Whoop whoop!
Margaret Mahy Playground
Where? 77 Armagh Street, Christchurch Central
Locals are loving this family spot due to the range of fun activities kids can immerse themselves in. Other than the awesome splash pad area, there is a flying fox, climbing wall and windy slide.
Where? New Brighton, Christchurch
The Christchurch City Council are currently constructing a seaside playground and splash pad for families. This complex is expected to have a toddlers’ island, interactive water play area and pirate ship playground.
Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre
Where? 63 Kilbirnie Cresent, Kilbirnie
The toddlers’ area here has water cannons and a bucket fountain to ensure your youngsters have loads of fun!
Where? 79 Udy St, Petone, Lower Hutt
The McKenzie Baths have a fantastic interactive splash pad that includes a compression pump and tip bucket. This complex also has a heated toddlers’ pool area for the eager waterbabies out there.
Harcourt Park Paddling Pool
Where? Brown Owl, Upper Hutt
Open between November and March, this splash pad area also has a learn-to-bike track and a large playground on site.
Aotea Lagoon Splash Pad
Where? Aotea Lagoon, Papakowhai
Watch out for this splash pad that is under construction and due to open in the next few weeks. There will be separate areas dedicated to toddlers, families and teenagers.
Marine Gardens Playground
Where? Rosetta Road, Raumati Beach, Paraparaumu
Other than its awesome splash pad, this hot spot is also home to a sand play area, a long slide, a flying fox, monkey bars, swings and a four person seesaw.
Splash Planet, Hastings
Where? 1001 Grove Road, Hastings
Splash Planet is known for its incredible hydroslides, despite it having some of the coolest splash areas for kids. The Pirate Fortress and Toddlers’ Pool both have interactive water activities to keep youngsters entertained for hours.
Cornwall Park Playground, Hastings
Where? Roberts Street, Hastings
Cornwall Park is the perfect spot for a weekend stroll and quick splash. Kids will also love the swings and rocking frog nearby.
Napier Aquatic Centre
Where? Maadi Road, Onekawa, Napier
The Napier Aquatic Centre is home to one of New Zealand's largest and most entertaining splash pads. There are also two thrilling waterslides and a flying fox on site.
DeBretts Taupo Hot Springs
Where? 76 Napier-Taupo Road, SH5, Taupo
This kids’ water playground offers little squirts heaps of enjoyable challenges. Whether it's turning the big wheel to make a splash or relaxing under the mushroom showers, your kids are going to go home tired and satiated.
Swim Zone, Te Aroha
Where? Te Aroha Domain, off Boundary Street, Te Aroha
Swim Zone has a dedicated toddlers’ area with a giant mushroom splash pad. Although it is a simple complex, families will love the outdoor setting and communal atmosphere.
Where? Corner of Balmoral and Dominion Road
Kids of all ages will love the colourful water play activities at Potters Park, including the awesome tip buckets and mini-explosion jets. Surrounded by large shaded picnic areas, this splash pad is ideal for those in need of a water-tastic family outing.
Otahuhu Recreation Centre
Where? 30 Mason Avenue
Free water fun for the whole family ... What more could you want? Other than the awesome splash pads on site, this South Auckland gem also has a gated toddler area, water slide, basketball court and café to keep the whole fam satisfied.
Moana-Nui-A-Kiwia Pool and Leisure Centre
Where? 14 Waddon Place, Mangere
Ideal for toddlers, this splash pad has a bubble pit, waterfall and a friendly orca whale that spurts out water to keep youngsters entertained. Older children can enjoy the bombing pool or go for a ride on the thrilling waterslide. Did we mention it’s free? (Adults, this includes you too.)
Where? 25 Judges Bay Road, Parnell
Located near the heart of Auckland city, Parnell Baths is home to saltwater pools, awesome views and a toddlers’ splash pad. With sprinklers and a small slide, young kids are encouraged to gain water confidence and have fun with water.
Albany Stadium Pool
Where? Don McKinnon Drive, Albany
Opened earlier this year, the Albany Stadium has one of the best splash pads in Auckland. Its new design and interactive features make it an awesome spot for youngsters. A climbing wall and small water slide can also be found within the complex.
Where? 72 Greys Avenue, Auckland Central
One of the oldest parks in Auckland has opened a splash pad area for families to enjoy. Kids will need to cool off after all the fun they have in the play area nearby.
Lagoon Pool and Leisure Centre
Where? 29 Lagoon Drive, Panmure
In the summer months, this complex has an outdoor splash pad ideal for toddler-parent bonding. The rest of the family can enjoy the rapid hydroslide and dive wells that are also on site.
More Splash Pads Coming to Auckland Soon...
Where? Stanmore Bay Pool and Leisure Centre, Whangaparaoa and Lloyd Elsmore Park Pool and Leisure Centre, Pakuranga.
ANZ has teamed up with the Auckland Council to create two new family-friendly splash pads. They are expected to open later this year — keep an eye out so that your family can experience the fun ASAP.
Main picture: Aotea Lagoon Splash Pad