Auckland is now at Alert Level 3 step 2, and for many reconnecting with extended family or friends is a high priority. A great way to do that is with a picnic. But with so many people heading to the more well-known places around Tāmaki Makaurau, having somewhere more peaceful or less crowded might be the perfect antidote.
With over 4000 parks and green spaces across the region, there is plenty to discover and enjoy with loved ones. So, grab your flask, pack the hamper, throw the blanket under your arm and check out one of these great gems that you might not have explored before.
Shakespear Regional Park, Gulf Harbour
This regional park sits at the end of the Whangaparāoa Peninsula and is an Open Sanctuary where native birds like hihi (stitchbird), korimako (bellbird) and korora (little blue penguin) can be seen. There are plenty of places for a picnic within the open sanctuary but for something more summery, try Te Haruhi Bay on the southern end of the park with a beautiful beach with views back to the city and Rangitoto.
After a picnic try walking one of the tracks in the park, especially Tiritiri track with views across to Tiritiri Matangi island that you don’t normally get to experience.
Cornwallis, Waitākere Ranges Regional Park
Make it a day out and head to Cornwallis. Located on the Pūponga Peninsula, there is plenty to unwind and enjoy at Cornwallis. Picnic at the beach, paddle at the beach, wander along the last remaining ferry wharf on the Manukau Harbour, explore one of the walks along the peninsula, or visit the Orpheus memorial.
Locals are working hard to make it a pest-free peninsula to encourage more native wildlife, so keep an eye out for ōi (greyfaced petrel), kererū (wood pigeon) and kākā (bush parrot) in your travels.
Eric Armishaw Park, Point Chevalier
This park is a great place to watch the windsurfers and kitesurfers on a breezy day, and it has a playground too for entertaining the kids. If you hang a left, you can take the boardwalk on the 40-minute Eric Armishaw to Waterview path and discover some of the settler history of Waterview along the way, while heading right takes you along the shoreline to one of Point Chevalier’s best-kept secret beaches.
Macleans Park, Eastern Beach or Mellons Bay
Choose your spot at Macleans Park. For a seaside and beach picnic access the park via Eastern Beach’s Esplanade and enjoy the gentle lapping of water and the shade of the mature trees around you. Or if you desire more open space and scenic views, park along Macleans Road and lay the blanket out on the grass area.
Restoration planting has provided a roosting and foraging habitat for several native birds, so have a walk through the bush, keeping an eye open for kotare (kingfisher), pīwakawaka (fantail), tauhou (silvereye), tūī and riroriro (grey warbler). The park is dog friendly too for the family pooch.
Āwhitu Regional Park, Āwhitu
To really get away from the hustle and bustle of suburbia, head to Āwhitu and enjoy Kauritūtahi Beach on the Manukau Harbour. The beach makes for a great place to relax, unwind on the picnic blanket and just enjoy.
Take a dip in the harbour, or stroll along the beach after the picnic. For the more energetic, take a mountain bike and explore all that the park has to offer. This is a place definitely worth the drive.