What makes a great picnic spot? Shade, trees, hidden places to explore and play.
Here are our picks of six picnic spots across the region where you can set up a picnic blanket and relax with family and friends away from the crowds.
Charcoal Bay, Beach Haven
Nestled into the west-facing side of Waitemata Harbour, this sheltered bay is a true hidden gem. It offers clean water, a shelly, sandy beach, and plenty of privacy. Access to Charcoal Bay Beach is by walking through the Rosecamp Road Foreshore Reserve.
Tōtara Park, Manurewa
Right next door to the Auckland Botanic Gardens is the 216 hectare Tōtara Park. While very popular, it is easy to find plenty of space to enjoy bush walks, playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, and mountain bike trails. The outdoor pools are open December through to February if you fancy a pre-picnic dip – just remember your vaccination pass if a swim is part of your plans.
Barry Curtis Park, Flat Bush
With 94 hectares of parklands, you’re sure to find the perfect spot for a picnic at Barry Curtis Park. This park has plenty of options for active families, boasting incredible playgrounds, sports fields, a basketball court, skate ramp, picnic tables, drinking fountains and tracks. You can also tack on a visit to the nearby Fo Guang Shan Temple.
Eric Armishaw Park, Point Chevalier
This park is a great place to watch the windsurfers on a breezy day, and it has a playground too. If you hang a left, you can take the boardwalk on the 40-minute Eric Armishaw to Waterview path, but heading right takes you along the shoreline to one of Point Chevalier’s best-kept secret beaches.
Royal Reserve, Massey
If your kids need to burn off some energy before they sit down and eat, Royal Reserve is the destination playground for you. It offers custom-built towers, an accessible junior play area, learn-to-ride bike tracks for juniors and seniors and the only two-metre-wide hill slide in Auckland. Should you forget an essential item or simply feel like a spot of retail therapy, Westgate is minutes away.
End your day out with a relaxing read at the award-winning Te Manawa Community Facility, which houses the local library.
Whakanewha Regional Park, Waiheke
This park is rich with history and brimming with wildlife. It’s perfect for a day trip or a longer stay at Poukaraka Flats campground. The parkland has a history of Māori and European settlement, with a pā site and terraces still visible on the headland.
To find a spot near you, head to the Auckland Council’s park and beach search.