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Family fun

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

Hamilton Hare Puke Park playground @Playgrounds

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.

1
Margaret Mahy Park Christchurch

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.

Margaret Mahy Park, New Zealand @Christchurch City Libraries Margaret Mahy Park @Christchurch City Libraries
2
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.

Takapuna Beach Reserve Playground, Auckland, New Zealand @Explore North Shore Takapuna Beach Reserve Playground @Explore North Shore
3
Whitianga children’s playground Whitianga

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 children’s playground @Playground Creations Whitianga children’s playground @Playground Creations
4
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.

Avalon Park, Lower Hutt, New Zealand @NZPlaces Avalon Park, Lower Hutt @NZPlaces
5
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.

New Brighton Beachside Playground, Christchurch, New Zealand @newsline New Brighton Beachside Playground @newsline
6
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 Hamilton Hare Puke Park playground @Stuff
7
Levin Adventure Park Levin

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.

Adventure Park, Levin, New Zealand @Horowhenua District Council Adventure Park, Levin @Horowhenua District Council
8
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!

Anderson Park Playground, New Zealand @Playground Centre Anderson Park Playground @Playground Centre
9
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.

Hanley’s Farm Queenstown @Kjet Hanley’s Farm Queenstown @Kjet
10
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.

Central Park Wellington, New Zealand @Vladimir Sinitsyn Central Park Wellington @Vladimir Sinitsyn

The journey is worth it.

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