100 ways to maintain your well-being with parks

Last Updated : 19 Mar 2020
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Parks are an incredible way to improve our well-being.

Stopping every day to appreciate nature makes us feel happier and healthier.

Research from Berkeley University shows this, concluding that daily interactions with nature increase life satisfaction.

Mark Bowater, Auckland Council’s Head of Parks Services agrees.

“A few minutes each day to smell a flower, listen to a tūī sing or watch the a tree wave its branches in the breeze is enough to improve our mental health”.

Here are 100 ideas to get you started:

  1. Go for a walk – AKL Paths is a great resource to find your local path
  2. Walk your dog (only in dog appropriate areas of course)
  3. Play on the playground
  4. Have a picnic
  5. Take your camera and become a nature photographer for a day
  6. Go for a run
  7. Go for a bike ride
  8. Enjoy one of the many free events in parks, such as movies in parks
  9. Enjoy a guided walk hosted by an Auckland Council community park ranger (events are listed on Our Auckland)
  10. Become a volunteer in your local park
  11. Go bird watching
  12. Go exploring for native wildlife like skinks or geckos
  13. Go for a swim at one of the great beaches part of our parks
  14. Fly a kite
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  15. Have a BBQ
  16. Play hide and seek
  17. Go exploring with no agenda
  18. Identify some of our native trees
  19. Play with a ball
  20. Go for a nature treasure hunt (there are great resources online, such as doc.govt.nz/globalassets/documents/getting-involved/activities-with-children/treasure-hunt-chart.pdf)
  21. Watch a sunset
  22. Watch a sunrise
  23. Climb a tree
  24. Find a cicada shell
  25. Go on a date
  26. Have a team meeting
  27. Try yoga
  28. Do a cardio workout with some of the free exercise equipment in a park
  29. Explore a bush track
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  30. Find and report pest plants
  31. Go sight-seeing
  32. Take a colourful selfie
  33. Eat fish and chips
  34. Try out a Disc Golf course
  35. Pest control in your local park (contact your local community park ranger to get involved by emailing mylocalpark@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz)
  36. Pick up rubbish
  37. Sunbathe safely
  38. Be creative and do some nature art
  39. Get married - find out more here aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/parks-recreation/Pages/weddings-civil-unions-parks.aspx
  40. Cool off with a water fight.
  41. Go camping - find a camping spot here aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/parks-recreation/stay-at-park/Pages/default.aspx
  42. Build a sandcastle at the beach
  43. Meet up with friends
  44. See farm animals – many of our Regional Parks are home to farm animals
  45. Read a book
  46. Watch the clouds
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  47. Adopt-a-park with your class or school through our Community Programme Ranger programme
  48. Make new friends
  49. Look at sculpture and art in parks
  50. Go on a self-guided walk
  51. Celebrate a special occasion
  52. Have a go at a water sport such as surfing or kayaking
  53. Join and play in sports team
  54. Play a sports game with yourself or a friend, such as basketball or tennis.
  55. Sit and have your morning (or afternoon) coffee
  56. Escape the office to have your lunch
  57. Get inspiration and advice for you home garden from the Auckland Botanic Gardens
  58. Go skateboarding
  59. Go barefoot
  60. Learn something new
  61. Exercise your mind (practice mindfulness)
  62. Take a break from your device
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  63. Construct a fort out of bush materials
  64. Go stargazing
  65. Learn and listen to bird calls
  66. Walk the coast to coast walk, which navigates through parks and paths
  67. Relax in a hammock
  68. Become your own David Attenborough for the day and film what you find in the park
  69. Feed the birds seeds and grains (bread is not good for the birds and can promote the growth of botulism bacteria)
  70. Look at the views from atop one of the maunga of Tāmaki Makaurau
  71. Take a nap
  72. Discover new places (e.g. a new playground or favourite park)
  73. Explore new environments (e.g. wetland or farm)
  74. Dance
  75. Listen to music
  76. Go fishing
  77. Plant in your local park – look out for volunteering opportunities
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  78. Visit a market or festival held in one of our parks, such as the night noodle markets in Victoria Park
  79. Play catch/tag
  80. Geocaching
  81. Hide painted rocks to be found by others (BYO rocks/stones)
  82. Try something new like circus performing or pop up play with Out and About
  83. See glow worms on a night walk with Out & About
  84. Play board games
  85. Explore an Auckland council cemetery - yes they are also parks. A great one to visit is Waikumete
  86. Use it as a space to craft e.g. knitting
  87. Try an online/app-based game like Pokémon Go
  88. Join a group fitness session
  89. Listen to the birdsong of the morning chorus
  90. Learn about Auckland’s history and heritage 
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  91. Discover some amazing waterfalls hidden in our parks
  92. Explore Tāmaki Makaurau’s Māori heritage
  93. Roll down a grassy hill
  94. Stay in one of our baches or try glamping
  95. Try meditating in nature
  96. Check out some community art around our parks
  97. Cool down in the shade of the trees
  98. Give Astrophotography a go – we have some great dark sky areas in our regional parks
  99. Visit one of our open sanctuaries Shakespear or Tawharanui regional park
  100. Visit a community garden

Keep Kauri Standing

Wherever you end up, if you enter or leave a forest/area with native trees anywhere across the region, here are three easy steps you need to remember:

  • Scrub– clean all soil off your footwear and gear.
  • Spray– your footwear and gear with disinfectant at every cleaning station you encounter. Kauri dieback can be spread by just a pinhead of soil.
  • Stay– on open tracks and off kauri roots.

Always check the Auckland Council kauri webpage before going for a walk to find out what tracks are currently closed. 



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