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Family fun

10 spectacular children's playgrounds: guide, what to do

  • 3 minutes

Where to go and what to do nearby

On holiday and need a break with the children while you collapse in the nearest park seat. Little balls of energy kick, run, climb and jump to their heart’s content as you contemplate how to manage a quick dash to the delightful cafe you spied walking into the playground. Perhaps negotiating an offer of ice cream will work a treat. To make this list the playground must have toilets, facilities to wash children after getting dirty, access to great cafes for caregivers who need a restorative boost and adequate car parking. The playground must be on public transport routes making it easy to access.


Check out what to do nearby for more holiday inspiration.


  1. Margaret Mahy Park Christchurch

Top sights at Margaret Mahy playground

  • Imagative landscaped area for adults and children to embrace play
  • 130 metre story arc pathway reflecting Margaret Mahy and Elsie Locke’s stories
  • 10 m high tower to climb the interior with viewing platforms of the Avon River
  • 4 m climbing slope with very wide stainless steel slides
  • In ground trampolines
  • Flying foxes to thrill the adventurous spirts
  • Water fountains to jump, skip and run through
Margaret Mahy playground water fun Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Margaret Mahy playground water fun Christchurch, Canterbury

Margaret Mahy playground water fun Christchurch, Canterbury

Plenty of space for impromptu picnics, parents and caregivers to relax or participate the sheer joy of play. The jetty on the Avon River provides opportunities to spy eels and water life.

Must do activity young at heart regardless of age. The Margaret Mahy park is a must go destination. An imaginative use of space created by demolished earthquake damaged buildings is a space welcoming all ages to participate in double slides, tunnels for toddlers or balancing acts on posts, pillars and trampolines.

Margaret Mahy Playground is the largest playground in Australia or New Zealand. The challenge element in children’s play is part of the Margaret Mahey experience. This is a destination playground and a reason to holiday in Christchurch.

The playground is not fenced providing a flow between play and the busy cafe, shopping precinct of  Madras, Manchester and Armagh street. Opposite Margaret Mahy playground is a superb skate park.


Check out Christchurch holiday inspiration for families and budget is important consult Christchurch things to do for free – Best Bits.

  1. Takapuna Beach Reserve Playground Auckland

It does not get much better than this, a playground next to a beach. If climbing is the must do activity this is the place to be. A 9 m high tower with slides joining a 7 m high climbing rope structure. There are in ground trampolines, merry go round swings and water play areas. The gian mouse house hamster wheel is imaginative and has plenty of space for excited children. There are hammocks under the mature pohutukawa trees and the beach is part of the play area. A reason to visit the beach in Takapuna either summer or winter.


For summer Auckland visitors intent on enjoying the beach vibe of Auckland check out Auckland 5 picnic spots: the estuary & beach – Best Bits and New Zealand Auckland beaches places to visit and where to go – Best Bits.

The beach. Classic scene pohutukawa tree, Takapuna beach, with blurred Rangitoto Island, Auckland
Takapuna beach
Whitianga Harbor, Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula, North Island, New Zealand
Whitianga Harbor, Whitianga
  1. Whitianga children’s playground

Another beach promenade, water, sand and a sheltered harbour with a playground opposite an fabulous ice cream shop. While the playground is not large the imaginative use of a small space gives children a chance to jump, climb and swing to their heart’s content. The adjacent boardwalk leads to the wide gold sands of Mercury Bay where sandcastles, estuary paddling and sand dunes form part of the kid’s focused experience of a day at the beach.


Whitianga is a mecca for families with a wealth of attractions, in particular Whitianga what to do with the kids – Best Bits signals the Whitianga Bike Park as a place to go, relax and try your hand at mountain biking. Borrow a bike from the complimentary bike rack, picnic under the trees and explore.

  1. Avalon Park Lower Hutt

Avalon Park playground features tunnels, slides, climbing and abseiling walls, swings, trampolines, rope bridges, and a water play area. There’s even a custom-made structure called the Helix which spirals its way around the playground. The playground also boasts a water play area and artificial stream. There are areas encouraging tactile play, sensory play and challenging play where the child has to decide how much further to climb and jump.


Wellington has a diverse range of activities perfect for kids and families from Wellington things to do for free – Best Bits a tour of parliament to fascinating gardens and parks to walk through.

@Avalon Park - Lower Hutt
@Avalon Park - Lower Hutt
Brighton Beach in mid summer, Christchurch, New Zealand
Brighton Beach, Christchurch
  1. New Brighton Beachside Playground Christchurch

The playground is near a beach and is part of the landscape incorporating a water theme in the playground with a wooden pirate ship and whale splash pool. As the playground is located next to the region’s library and pier there are indoor activities as well as fishing opportunities off the pier. There is a large waka children can imagine themselves navigating the oceans and a clone of New Brighton’s iconic whale. New Brighton Pier and Playground. Off the beach is too rough for children to swim in; you can just pop over to the splash pool here.


Best 6 short walks in Christchurch is a good addition to the day exploring outdoors and the New Brighton Beachside playground. Check out Christchurch 14 top picnic spots – Best Bits and enjoy what Christchurch has to offer families.

  1. Hamilton Hare Puke Park playground Hamilton

The playground has all the elements of a modern play area, tactile, sensory and challenging with a scooter track, social swings, an enormous emerald green slide there is a strong focus on collaborative play with shared swings, shared rocking chairs and large social areas for climbing up cargo ropes.


Hamilton Hare Puke Park playground, New Zealand @Stuff / Christel Yardley
Hamilton Hare Puke Park playground @Stuff / Christel Yardley
  1. Anderson Park Napier

A park where kids’ dreams come true, Anderson Park features an abundance of spots to picnic, and one of New Zealand’s most modern and exciting playgrounds. Anderson Park includes accessible and imaginative structures for climbing and sliding, flying foxes, swings, water play, and functional artwork with messages in braille and interactive elements, including a xylophone, musical bridge and drums, plus so much more. Playing and picnicking makes for a perfect afternoon!


@Hanleys Farm
@Hanleys Farm
  1. Hanley’s Farm Queenstown

There is an impressive flying fox that will grab the attention of young teens as well as plenty for children to run, jump and climb on. The park uses wooden construction materials blending the park into the environment. The massive slide, pump track, social swing area, in-ground trampolines, climbing rocks means there are numerous options for children to explore the play area. For caregivers there is an adjacent tennis court, an 18 hole golf course and cafes nearby.

Short on time in Queenstown – Your day at a glance

  • Arrowtown for a town heritage walk
  • Bungee jump at Kawarau Gorge
  • Gibbston Valley vineyards
  • Roaring Meg Waterfall
  • Lake Wakatipu cruise
  • Squeeze in shopping
  • Sunset views – Queenstown wharf + ice creams
  • Gondola and Bobs peak panoramic views

Check out Queenstown in a day for family holiday inspiration.

@Hanleys Farm
@Hanleys Farm
Wellington Oriental Parade children's playground overlooking sandy beach, North Island, NZ
Wellington Oriental Parade children's playground overlooking sandy beach
  1. Central Park Wellington

Located on the fringe of Wellington’s central business district this park on Brooklyn Road features a three cable flying fox, a six-metre high space ball climbing frame, spinner bowl, whirl and swings. The park also has a junior section with slides, swings, crawl tunnels, climbing net, seesaws and a springy racer and mini-BMX track. The playground is located in a picturesque park making it a great place for a picnic. Being at one end of central Wellington it is close to Wellington’s key attractions.


  1. Levin Adventure Park

The play area is a well known meeting place for families. In an established play area of Levin, among mature trees is a brightly painted park. There are rope courses, climbing walls, fitness trails, mini ball court, roller skating area, sand volleyball and disability swings. There are free model train rides from 1.00pm – 3.00pm weekends and holidays. The park is open during daylight hours. Overnight campervan parking available. There’s a pre-school playground, confidence course, flying fox, dog exercise area, workout area, basketball court, volleyball area and swings. It also has paraplegic access.

@Levin Adventure Park
@Levin Adventure Park

Getting there

The journey is worth it.

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