Awesome Auckland Parks
26 October 2010
When the sun is shining, the best entertainment for the kids is free if you head to the nearest park. But, if you’re new to town, sometimes tracking down the best playgrounds takes local knowledge. Here’s a rundown of some of the best Auckland playgrounds.
Wainoni Playground in Greenhithe
Set amongst acres of green grass with horses grazing across the paddock and a large cricket ground next door is Wainoni Park. The playground has kept the country-feel of the surrounds and has harvest mosaics, fruit trees of various types ready for little hands to reach for morning tea, an old tractor to climb on, a may-pole, swings, a slide and an interactive water feature that will see the kids squeal with delight in the summer months.
Potter’s Children’s Park in the Botanic Gardens, Manurewa
Free bags of bird seed are given out at the entrance to this lush landscape. Feed the ducks and walk around the pond until you come across a magical children’s playground, which tells the legend of Maui, the kereru, the püriri and Maui's parents. Children are drawn to the caterpillar garden, the sundial, the waterwheel and pump, the boardwalks, streams, sculptures as well as the native plants – you might even get some inspiration for your own garden.
The Winter Gardens, Auckland Domain
Feed the ducks and grab a coffee or take a stroll through the two glasshouses filled with beautiful flowers and tropical plants. A formal courtyard with classic sculptures and pond will transport you to yesteryear or walk through the fernery within an old quarry. And if it starts to rain, head over to the Auckland Museum for shelter and extended fun.
Head for the Stardome Observatory & Plantarium and you’ll find a large playground featuring a push train and station building as well as a flying fox, climbing frames of various difficulty and swingsets. The café in Cornwall Park serves a very sweet afternoon high tea once you’ve exhausted the kids at the playground, or have a visual feast by relaxing into a Stardome show.
If you take the first exit off the Auckland Harbour Bridge on the North Shore side, you will get to Onepoto Domain. This park features a pond where you’ll often see radio-control boats racing the ducks, a bicycle track and two playgrounds for different age ranges. A very long slide, a nature trail and all the usual climbing frames will provide enough variation to entertain for hours.
Tucked away in Glenfield suburbia is a playground that features the best of all the parks, in one place. A wendy house, a Rocktopus, a large and safe bicycle track, swings, slides – you name it! Not the most inspiring of surroundings but the kids will be in their element.
Featuring equipment for all ages, this playground includes a large seesaw, a roundabout, springy rockers, two spinning items and a six-way swing. Laughing at the saying “Why take sand to a beach,” it also features a sand-pit! Visit the iconic water fountain or head for shelter in the family-friendly café next to the playground.
Palm Beach, Waiheke
If you’re heading out of town, Waiheke is a special place for children and their grownups. One of the best playgrounds is at Palm Beach where a large wooden boat holds all the equipment in a sea-themed adventureland right on the beach. If you’re feeling hungry, go to the renowned Palm Beach Café for delicious morning tea treats!
If you’re heading up north, a stop at the Warkworth playground is a must. Situated on three levels against the river and forest views is a bright play area with a fire truck, colourful swings and lots of balancing and climbing equipment in stunning surroundings and close to great coffees and gourmet country pies!
Photo courtesy of Birkenhead Northcote Glenfield Community Facilities Trust