And, number 5, has complimentary mountain bikes to jump on
Top 11 playgrounds in New Zealand has grown to top 21 playgrounds with places to play, jump and climb throughout NZ. Parents have plenty of options what to do nearby from visiting a zoo, or two or strolling around a lake looking for native eels. There are fascinating kid friendly museums, MOTAT nearby or waterfalls with glowworms at night in the Hamilton Lake Domain. Invercargill has absorbing transport museums and collections where everything hums and buzzes.
WESTERN SPRINGS LAKESIDE PARK – AUCKLAND
- The ecology theme playground has two enormous imaginative slides, a beginners bike track, shade sails for parents
- Lakeside trails where spotting eels and native fish is a fun occupation
- Swimming in the naturally fed Western Springs lake
- Visit Japanese Fukuoka Garden for a selfie moment and opportunity to view the austere elegance of raked sand and Japanese garden architecture
Playground has percussion play, low tunnels to crawl through and junior sized climbing apparatus. Supervision is comfortable with wide shade sails for care givers to watch over kids at play.
The imaginative acorn towers are great climbing apparatus for older children and large logs nearby to clamber over.
- Flat 1.7 km wide firm path around the lake
- Take care when crossing the free tram tracks
Kids will not be bored with the diversity of things to do and see in the vicinity of Western Springs park from the Museum of Technology to Auckland Zoo.
Do not feed the birds. Bread causes poor nutrition and pollutes the waterway. Additionally aggressive behaviour is encouraged. Viewing ducks, geese and native pukeko is ideal. Leave the foraging to the birds.
The loop trail is a shared pathway with bikes and scooters a popular option for locals.
Swimming in the lake is a great summer activity with grassed picnic tables for relaxing afterwards. Look out for native Pukekohe birds, native Karuhiruhi Pied Shags and Kawaupaka Little Shags, Australian Coot dark grey duck-like waterbirds, Australian shoveler birds, Geese, Parera Grey Ducks and Mallard Ducks.
Getting to Western Springs Park, Auckland is easy.
Western Springs park is on a number of public bus routes. Catch the bus for Catch a bus for the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).
Car parks are adjacent to Auckland Zoo and MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology). Access from the car park at the entrance to the zoo off Motions Road or the car park on Stadium Road. Pedestrians can also access from Great North, Motions, Stadium and West View roads.
Toilets and changing rooms, car park, picnic tables and seating, and drinking fountains are inside the park.
Western Springs Lake is a natural spring-fed lake and was one of Auckland’s earliest water supplies. The area was called Western Springs to differentiate it from the springs in Auckland Domain.
The Fukuoka Gardens is located in Western Springs Lakeside Park and is close to the entrance to Auckland Zoo. Entrance to the Japanese gardens is free with the traditional Japanese architectural showpiece a tea pavilion overlooking a small waterfall.
Check the Fukoka Garden is open from 10am until 5:30pm in winter and until 6:30pm in summer.
While Western Springs Park does not have a cafe. There is the suburb of Grey Lynn with its eateries, Port Chevalier and Ponsonby all within 5 km of the park for a coffee fix.
Western Springs Park is part of 10 gardens to visit in Auckland, things to do – Best Bits.
HAMILTON LAKE DOMAIN PLAYGROUND
A superb children’s playground in Hamilton Lake Domain. Brand spanking new with inground equipment and bright colours and shaded picnic tables creates an amazing invitation for kids to play.
Wide paths lead to an adventure area where a emerald green tube encourages children to explore. There are climbing ropes, open sided houses to peer from and a horizontal bar to challenge kid’s balance. The extensive water play area is hugely popular in the warmer months and safe for all age groups to jump and run through puddles and spurting fountains. Junior children have an area where miniature sized slides and swings offer a safe environment for pre-schoolers to give play a go.
The extensive playground is located beside the ‘Veranda Café’ provides children a place to play while their caregivers enjoy refreshments with a majestic view of the lake.
The lake caters for water-based activities such as yachting, wind surfing, canoeing, model boats along with a range of informal activities such as feeding ducks and fishing.
Read more … Hamilton Lake Domain
WHAT CAN YOU DO NEARBY HAMILTON LAKE DOMAIN PLAYGROUND?
Hamilton Lake Domain is an ideal place for holiday makers needing to give the kids some ‘me’ time in a premier playground.
- Lake Rotoroa is an ideal venue for water based activities such as yachting, windsurfing, canoeing, paddle boats, model boats, and waka ama.
- It is common during the weekend to observe the local model boat club indulging in races alongside children feeding ducks
- Hamilton (Rotoroa) Lake Domain perimeter walk: 3.8 km, flat easy paved walk, dogs allowed on leash
- Hamilton Lake (Domain) Walkway: For a diverse walking route right in the city centre head over to Hamilton Lake Domain. The walk around the edge of Hamilton Lake (Rotoroa) covers 3.8 kilometres and winds through natural lakeside vegetation, past playgrounds and grassed parkland as well as the Verandah Cafe which is the perfect place to relax with a coffee after some exercise. Note that cycling is not permitted on the boardwalk section of the Lake walkway.
KUIRAU PARK PLAYGROUND, ROTORUA
Kuirau Park offers a break from the bustle of tourist Rotorua with a dedicated playground nestled in a picturesque park. KUIRAU PARK is top of the list because it is readily accessible. It is free to visit and has an unassuming charm of public gardens. The park has a well maintained playground, picnic areas and toilets creating a great space for a free trip for family and friends.
- A playground with the bonus of free geothermal activity to walk around
- Footbaths to try out
- Picnic tables and public toilets
WHAT TO DO NEARY KUIRAU PARK, ROTORUA?
- There are options galore what to do nearby Kuirau Park … check out the natural boiling, bubbling and steaming geothermal action throughout Kuirau Park, New Zealand’s only free geothermal public park
- Weekend Saturday market is a popular activity
- Located within the heart of Rotorua check out the Rotorua travel guide for more holiday inspiration
TAURANGA WATERFRONT – HAIRY MCCLARY
Tauranga brings the harbour to the children with the tidal stairs and water flow lapping at kids feet. Nearby kids enthusiastically clamber over bronze statues of Hairy MacLary. Story books by Tauranga author Dame Lynley Dodd are brought to life in the bronze sculptures dotted around the contemporary playground. The small, yet innovative playground is the icing on the cake for families. Check out Things to do in Tauranga, Mt Maunganui: Attractions, Activities & Places to Visit – Best Bits
For more kids friendly attractions in Tauranga and Mt Manganui. The Bay of Plenty has a variety of outdoor activities for families from animal parks, water adventure parks in the Wairoa River, walks and playgrounds to explore. Tauranga and the Mount have a number of nearby attractions making life a holiday breeze.
WHITIANGA BIKE PARK
Discover down a side street, past an industrial park is a treasure at the end of the road. A bike park established and maintained by volunteers with complimentary bikes to use, places to picnic, a tree decorated with teapots and a stage where the existing tree became part of the backdrop.
The bike park is not a slick commercial enterprise; it is definitely shabby around the corners with faded signage, bikes quietly rusting in corners and a BMX track that is well used. Yet the personality of the Whitianga bike park is part of its undeniable charm. The park has the feel of well worn sofa, very comfortable and inviting visitors to sit and take the weight off their feet.
The park’s maintenance and well being is supported by donations.
PUKEKURA PARK PLAYGROUND, TARANAKI
Surf Highway itinerary showcases off the beaten track Taranaki small towns and beach communities. For parents with kids an ideal break can be found in PUKEKURA PARK, NEW PLYMOUTH
- Contemporary playground with climbing apparatus, swings and slides
- An amazing Corocord Super Frisbee slide and swing play structure with a unique curved form. The dynamic rope pathways challenge kids to tackle the course yet have their safety at the forefront
- Waterwheel and channel for controlling water
- Tunnels through hills and a flying fox
WHAT TO DO NEARBY PUKEKURA PLAYGROUND, TARANAKI?
Pukekura playground is nestled within an awesome park with Brooklands Zoo part of the park landscape with its enclosed aviary and general exotic animals. There is an extensive lake side walk and seasonal light festivals during the summer months.
- Cafe at the northern end of the park for an impromptu picnic outdoors
- Water fountains with drinking water coming out of a lion’s mouth
Pukekura Park is an ideal road stop or a chance to relax and unwind in one of New Zealand’s premier public parks. Check out 9 family excursions & short easy walks and Things to do in New Plymouth Attractions, Activities & Places to Visit for more holiday inspiration.
RAUMATI BEACH PLAYGROUND, PARAPARAUMU NEW ZEALAND
Marine Gardens playground, train and splash pad, Raumati Beach is a great playground for parents to take a break from a road trip from Wellington.
- A summer favourite is the watersplash play area
- Flying fox and monkey bars to climb
- Sand play area adjacent to a tunnel slides
- Classic seesaws for parents to have a nostiguic moment
- Sundays and school holidays a mini train operates on sunny day in the afternoon
WHAT TO DO NEARBY RAUMATI BEACH PLAYGROUND
- Picnic in the shaded areas with a coffee from the local cafe
- Explore an ocean beach with its driftwood and wide open expanse of the Pacific Ocean
Amazing kids can practice their road skills with a kids road system including traffic lights. Napier Parade is a playground for all age groups
Marine Parade where everything happens. The place is jumping, hopping and bouncing with energy it is a one stop entertainment destination and it is FREE.
- Get a scooter or bike then get onto the Pump Track. It’s 500 metres of dedicated bumps and curves designed specifically for kids to test their metal on a cleverly designed track.
- Playground overlooks the sea with views of the container ships sliding past to the port, Te Mata peak and beyond to Cape Kidnappers. The playground is fully fenced for safety with shade sails over the equipment
- Junior bike track is a mini-replica of a genuine road network. There is a roundabout, traffic lights and pedestrian crossing. What a great way to have fun on holiday learning to be safe on the roads.
- Bay Skate park is excellent with several well thought out ramps for kids to test out skateboards.
Parents have access to a coffee cart and nearby ice cream shop.
Read more Things to do for families & kids in Napier – Best Bits.
CAROLINE BAY PLAYGROUND, TIMARU
Discover a playground folded around a beautiful bay. The children’s playground is a destination for visitors with plenty of attractions for kids:
- Large outdoor kids sized apparatus for kids to clamber, climb and jump from
- Tunnels to climb through and slides to slither down
- Beach volleyball courts
- Mini golf and tennis courts
- A local favourite is the contemporary well maintained skate park
- Mini train running in the weekends
The playground is getting bigger and better with concept plans in the making for an extension and new equipment. The free public BBQ and picnic areas are already a hit with visitors.
WHAT TO DO NEARBY CAROLINE BAY PLAYGROUND?
Caroline Bay offers visitors choices galore with various walks and a sandy beach for hot summer days. There is a pontoon anchored in the bay. Lifeguards patrol the beach in summer and during busy weekend moments.
The Bay, Timaru hosts triathlons, a summer carnival of entertainment with sideshows and a ferris wheel. Free concerts, pop up food carts and street musicians add to the party atmosphere. The carnival has been operating for over a hundred years and draws people from around much of New Zealand to attend or assist with its operation.
Dogs are allowed off leash between April to September otherwise on leash.
GETTING TO CAROLINE BAY
Caroline Bay is a sheltered bay facing the Pacific Ocean with the Timaru city centre nearby. The railway separates the bay from the shopping and business centre. The Piazza straddles the railway line and provides access for pedestrians via a grand staircase or via a lift which is unique for a public park in this country. Caroline Bay covers an area of 34 hectares excluding the beach. There is an extensive carparking.
The beach is home to public artworks and street art. Eateries and cafes line the Bay Hill area opposite the Bay area.
The beach is a perfect spot for instagram snaps of the setting sun.
HOCKEY RESERVE PLAYGROUND, NELSON
Adventure is the play theme with vivid splashes of Resene colours accents for the posts and interpretative flora and fauna information panels. While the park is not large it is packed with attractions for kids to explore and play.
- Climbing apparatus from suspended rope walls
- Climbing bridge
- Tunnels to crawl through
- Swings and slides
Recycled theme with leftover commercial landfill being used to create mounds and dips in the landscape for kids to climb and jump off. The flying fox and climbing structures use recycled posts and timber. There are plenty of seats for parents and built features creating a sense of an outdoor room.
WHAT TO DO NEARBY HOCKEY RESERVE PLAYGROUND, NELSON?
- Stroll through the adjoining Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, native plants reflect the foliage of the Brook Stream flowing at the back of the park
- Observe the bird life attracted to the poles in the playground with sightings of a native falcon or karearea
- Nearby pump mountain bike track designed for younger children
On the hunt for more kids playgrounds in Nelson then check out TAHUNANUI BEACH PLAYGROUND & BEACH. Close to Nelson city and the airport this beach is a family favourite. Over 1.7 km of white sands and gentle waves create a summer staple for a day at the beach for locals and visitors. The beach is safe for swimming and popular with walkers, joggers and sun-seekers, with the back beach for kite-boarders and dog walking. Low tide exposes rock pools with crabs, sea-snails a prime site for kids to explore marine life. Look out for a wharf where fishing buffs cast their lines in hopes of snapper, kahawai and blue code.
QUEEN’S PARK INVERCARGILL – SOUTHLAND
Awesome space, over 80 hectares of flowering gardens, glorious rose beds and magical rhododendron deli gives parents a break from the bustle of a playground.
Queen’s Park, Invercargill playground’s top sights:
- Hydraulic swing for wheelchair bound children
- Paddling pools to cool off in summer
- Climbing ropes and apparatus to test your ability to navigate an obstacle course
- Swings and slides for junior members as well as older children
- Water play area
- Dramatic tree lined avenues giving children the chance to catch autumn leaves and have a leaf throwing party
WHAT TO DO WITHIN QUEEN’S PARK, INVERCARGILL?
- Try your hand at golf. There is an 18 hole golf course within the park boundaries
- 4km fitness trail (with various exercise stations) within the park’s confines.
- Animal enclosures
- Cafe within the grounds for an impromptu picnic on the verdant green lawns
The enormous public park covers over 80 acres of Invercargill city centre. It is surrounded by the city’s most popular landmarks like the water tower and the Southland Museum. The park has exotic early twentieth trees now at a commanding height, traditional flower bed plantings and native bush walkways. The park contains two specialised rose gardens. The Jessie Calder collection of old shrub and climbing roses includes over 900 individual plants representing more than 400 cultivars. There is a children’s playground. And, very important for all gardens, visit a tea kiosk and cafe. Sample the local melting cheese favourite, cheese rolls, dripping in butter and gooey cheese.
Read more Invercargill Queens Park
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