Three Auckland parks to discover this Parks Week

Publish Date : 10 Mar 2023

With more than 4000 parks across the region, Tāmaki Makaurau is blanketed in green leafy spaces, from tiny suburban pocket parks to beloved playgrounds, well-utilised sports fields and social dog-walking areas, as well as 28 regional parks, which are a haven for native flora and fauna.

Parks Week, which runs from 4-12 March, is a celebration of these lush sanctuaries which are the lungs of our city and vital for our wellbeing. So take the opportunity to head to your favourite local green space – or check out one that’s new to you.

We asked Aucklanders to share their favourite parks, and here’s what they had to say:

Lloyd Elsmore Park, Pakuranga

This is a whānau favourite for Nick and Nattanee Schofield and their children Nate and Nicha. “There are lots of activities to keep the family entertained and it’s also a great place to walk,” says Nick. Three-year-old Nicha’s favourite place is the playground, while six-year-old Nate loves riding his bike on the BMX track and at the skatepark.

The Schofield family enjoying the playground at Lloyd Elsmore Park

The Schofield family enjoying the playground at Lloyd Elsmore Park

Perhaps this park’s best-kept secret is that it has two marble runs and a marble pit. You can bring your own marbles or buy some from Howick Historical Village next door. Pro tip: The marble run also works well with golf balls! Lloyd Elsmore Park Pool and Leisure Centre is also situated within the park, and has a splash pool, splash pad and a lap pool.

“Lloyd Elsmore Park has everything a young family wants,” says Nattanee. “It’s perfect.”

Meola Reef Reserve, Western Springs

Tāmaki Makaurau’s canine companions adore sniffing around our green spaces, and there are plenty where they can chase a ball, meet up with poochie pals or walk on-lead with their owners. Especially popular is Meola Reef Reserve, which overlooks Waitematā Harbour.

Local resident Margo Slater regularly takes her dog Doug there. “We come here because there’s an off-leash area where Doug can run. He just loves romping around in the grass and seeing his friends. And it's a community. It’s a nice place to get some exercise, enjoy the view and chat to people and their dogs.”

Local resident Margo Slater at Meola Reef Reserve

Local resident Margo Slater at Meola Reef Reserve

Find out where and when you can walk your dog on Auckland Council’s website. Make sure you only let your dog off the leash in designated off-leash areas, pick up their faeces and ensure they wear their registration tag at all times.

Waitawa Regional Park, Kawakawa Bay

Just 9 years young, Waitawa Regional Park is one of the newest regional parks in Auckland. Situated on the region’s southeastern coast, just 15 minutes drive from Clevedon, there’s plenty to explore and it's a haven for recreational activities.

Take your pick of walking tracks and mountain bike trails of varying difficulty, as well as horse-riding trails, a disc golf course, a safe swimming beach at Mataitai Bay, and a primo fishing spot at Waitawa Wharf. There’s even a campground specifically for sea kayakers following Te Ara Moana, a self-guided 51km sea kayak trail that connects five stunning regional parks.

Fishing at Waitawa Wharf.

Fishing at Waitawa Wharf.

“I think Waitawa is really special,” says Waitawa park ranger Bryan Dowdle, who sees his role as being a guardian of the park.

“It’s an incredible environment. As well as farmland, there are also large areas of native bush that are regenerating, and it has a superb history as there are three prominent pā sites here. An incredible number of people visit for the first time and say, ‘I wish I’d come here sooner.’”

Waitawa park ranger Bryan Dowdle

Waitawa park ranger Bryan Dowdle

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