Parks Week kicked off on Saturday, focusing on the impact parks have on our well-being.
“Just a few minutes each day enjoying some flowers or observing the breeze blowing through the trees can improve our mental health”, says Mark Bowater, Auckland Council’s Head of Parks Services.
Research from Berkeley University two years ago highlights the importance of nature to our mental well-being, but being office-bound in the central city can make getting out into nature challenging.
But did you know that there are ten parks or green spaces within one km of the Auckland Town Hall, excluding Aotea Square?
These are great places to visit to boost well-being and are just a short walk away from the office.
Why not aim to visit one of these each day this week over your lunch break?
Just behind Toi O Tāmaki (Auckland Art Gallery), Albert Park lies on the remnants of an ancient volcano, a pā site and a military barracks. It is the closest park to the heart of Auckland’s city centre and is a great place to sit under some old, majestic trees and be mindful.
Nestled between Karangahape Road and Mayoral Drive this is a great little oasis at the top end of the city centre. Take a midday stroll through the park and take in the beauty of diverse trees including a puriri, a Morton Bay fig and an avenue of palms.With a great playground, Myers Park is a place to take the kids for a run around.
Pukekawa / Auckland Domain
One of the most known of Auckland’s parks, this is also the oldest. Developed around the cone of the Pukekawa volcanic cone, the Domain has sports fields, nature walks, sculptured gardens, band rotunda, a duck pond and the Wintergardens to take notice of and enjoy.
Symonds Street Cemetery (east and west)
This is one of Aotearoa’s oldest urban cemeteries but there is more to explore with heritage roses throughout the west part of the cemetery and a nature walk that includes the Waiparuru Stream in the east. Heritage walks also give you the opportunity to learn a little of Auckland's history.
On the corner of Symonds Street and Karangahape Road this public space borders the west part of the Symonds Street Cemetery. Containing the art installation “Karangahape Rocks” this is a nice place to sit and watch the world go by.
Situated at the western edge of the city centre this iconic park is perfect for anyone working in Wynyard Quarter to get out of the office and reconnect with nature. The path skirting the edges of the park is great for a run or walk.
Nestled between the western edges of the city centre and Ponsonby, this park is well known for the distinctive sculptural artworks in the upper part beside Ponsonby Road. This is also one of Auckland’s oldest parks and is a short walk from the western part of Karangahape Road or upper Nelson and Hobson Streets. The large part field in the middle of the park is a great place to get active with some friends.
Constitution Hill / Alten Reserve
Across the road from the Auckland High Court, Constitution Hill drops down to the eastern end of Beach Road. With some well established trees and a few park benches this is a great place for reconnecting with nature.
Tucked behind the Auckland High Court this reserve is the site of New Zealand’s first parliament building. Pohutukawa trees mark what used to be the entrance to the old building and provide lovely shade on hot days. There are plaques and a board with history to learn or simply sit on one of the park benches for some reflection.
Emily Place Reserve
Located at the end of Princes Street, this little reserve sits above what used to be Britomart Point and is where the original St Paul’s Anglican church stood. The mature pohutukawa trees provide a nice backdrop for sitting, meditating or simply taking notice of your surroundings.
To find a park near you and continue your well-being journey after work hours, visit the park finder page on the Auckland Council website.