You've probably read my Best Central Playgrounds in Auckland
– well here are more kicks for your kids a little further afield.
Western Springs wildlife sanctuary and lake is a 10-minute drive from the CBD; right between the Auckland Zoo
, the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT
) and Western Springs Stadium. Home to native eels and birds and other ducks and swans, the lakeside is a splendid setting for a walk/run/scooter/ride/rollerblade or picnic. Every March the Springs hosts the colourful Pasifika Festival. Big Day Out and Auckland City Limits music festivals have also been held there. At the far side of the lake, best reachable by car from the zoo carpark, is a large playground, where you can hear the lions, elephants and monkeys just over the zoo walls. Kids flock to the rockin' roktopus and mega roundabout, the substantial climbing walls and slides, and there's a separate well-catered toddler area as well. Sometimes the zoo kiosk opens out its side to the park so you can buy snacks too.
Great North Rd, Western Springs
Catch any bus heading west from 134 Hobson St, CBD, to Great North Rd and get off right outside the park
Western Springs: playground with a zoo animal soundtrack
Western Springs: lovely lake to walk/run/scooter/ride around
Coyle Park in Pt Chev is less than a 15-minute drive from the city and has many excellent attractions: the beach (see this story
), sea views, large fields, giant climbing net, flying fox, train and dragon eggs. I do not lie. Littlies have a runaround platform with bridge and tunnel, dinky keyboard and little shopfront. And there's a café less than 100 metres away for your caffeine/ice cream fix.
End of Pt Chevalier Rd, Pt Chev
Catch the Outer Link from Wellesley St E, CBD, or the 030 from 134 Hobson St, and get off right at the park
Coyle Park: best Auckland city-fringe playground with sea views
Mt Eden Park
Coyle Park: home to dragon
Mt Eden is the closest volcano to the CBD, and the highest, at 196 metres. (Fun fact: there are 48 volcanoes in Auckland.) At the foot of the big mount is a newly renovated playground. It has two flying foxes, a train and a fantastic climbing net with ladders connected by rope bridge to another bridged structure with a slide and climbing walls. The thatched roofs are a nice touch too. There's also a junior slide and one of those cool spinning see-saws the Auckland Council seems to favour at the moment. A grass area with trees provides shade for picnics. As of January 2016, Mt Eden summit is closed to vehicles but you can park at the bottom and walk 10 minutes (for adults) to the top. The views are definitely worth it.
Cnr Mt Eden and Normanby Rds
Catch a 267 or 258 outside St James Theatre, Queen St, get off at Esplanade Rd turn-off and walk 200m to the park
Mt Eden Park: great climbing structures
Further down the road from Mt Eden Domain is Potters Park. Boasting the largest splashpad in Auckland, Potters Park is safe water fun for kids of all ages. There are fountains, tip buckets, funnels and vents, right next to the regular playground rides but separated by a low metal fence. The large field is fringed with trees. This stretch of Dominion Rd is known for Asian eateries. So you won't be far away from dumplings and noodles if you fancy a bite.
Cnr Dominion and Balmoral Rds, Mt Eden
Catch a 267 or 258 outside St James Theatre, Queen St, get off at 510 Dominion Rd and walk 270m to the park
Potters Park: Auckland's first full-size splashpad
Rocket Park in Mt Albert is about 10 minutes' drive from the city and is so named for the ultracool four-level rocket – especially for your adventurous little tykes. There's also a junior castle, two climbing units, multiple swings (including wheelchair swing) and adult exercise stations. It's right across the road from Pyrenees French Café and Deli – you know where I'm heading with this … with pastries in hand you can hang about the park for ages.
Cnr New North Rd and Wairere Ave, Mt Albert
Catch the 222 or 224 from 19 Victoria St, CBD, and get off at 756 New North Rd, right opposite the park
By train: Catch the West train from Britomart and get off at Baldwin Ave, park is 650m away
Rocket Park: views to climb for