A picnic is a classic way to spend a sunny afternoon, no matter if you’re with friends, family or flying solo. And when planning the perfect picnic there are two main things to consider: what to treats to pack in your hamper, and where to lay out your blanket or rug. When it comes to picnic spots in Auckland, there are more than 4000 parks and reserves to choose from, making the City of Sails a top destination if you’ve got the urge for a bit of al fresco feasting.
But with so much available, where do you begin narrowing down potential picnic locales? To help start your next picnic planning, we’ve put together a list of 11 of the best picnic spots in Auckland. Take your pick from pristine beaches, bucolic grasslands and perches with epic views. Many are within easy reach of the CBD, so be sure to pop this free way to enjoy Auckland on your next trip itinerary.
The proverbial waterfront haven, Mission Bay is a much-beloved destination for visitors and Aucklanders alike. Located a short drive from the CBD, you’ll find the beautiful pohutukawa-lined beach offers plenty of great places to unfurl your picnic rug. You may also like to make the hike up Bastian Point, where you can enjoy views of Waitemata. With plenty of excellent local eateries available along the Promenade, you might even be tempted to pick up some takeaway fare should you forget to pack a hamper or are just in the mood for something special.
Tucked away behind North Head, Devonport’s Cheltenham Beach has become an increasingly popular destination for those in the know. Swimming and strolls along the sand are a given in the list of things to do here, and there are plenty of spots for a keen picnicker to choose from along this delightful stretch of Auckland shore. After an easy meander from the ferry terminal, sit down on one of the many grassy knolls and while away a few hours. An accompanying serve of fish and chips is optional, but recommended.
Located in the Waitakere Ranges area, a 45-minute drive west of Auckland City, Piha is renowned as a prime hangout for surfers. However, it’ll also appeal if you’re seeking the more sedate charms of a picnic. With large picnic tables available, lots of sheltered park areas and plenty of sand to wander barefoot on, you won’t have any trouble finding a beautiful spot to settle down to. If you fancy a dip, the beach is patrolled by surf lifesavers during the summertime. Prefer to stay on dry land? The nearby Mercer Bay Walk is an ideal option for a post-lunch constitutional.
Heralded as an urban oasis thanks to its position in the heart of Auckland, Cornwall Park is a beautiful 425-acre haven that encompasses botanic offerings, farm animals and pasture, and sports grounds. Unsurprisingly, it has plenty of great options for a picnic, and, due to its sheer size, you’ll have no trouble finding somewhere secluded in this wonderful park. There are some public-use barbecues available throughout the park, however these are only operational in the spring.
Albert Park has a fantastic central location (right in Auckland’s CBD), so if you’re staying in the city and feel like having your lunch outside, this is one spot that’s virtually on your doorstep. Make time before or after your picnic to see the Auckland City Art Gallery and its gardens, which is nestled in one corner of the park. The original park-keepers cottage is also still standing within the grounds and now operates as a museum.
Parnell Rose Gardens
The charm of these gardens is, naturally, its spectacular roses, which makes it one of the most appealing picnic spots on this list for ardent green-thumbs. Located on Gladstone Road in the picturesque suburb of Parnell, the gardens are home to more than 5,000 roses, including those planted by internationally renowned breeders. If you’re after a post-picnic ramble, take a walk down through the gardens to Taurarua Judges Bay, which has delightful views of the water and Rangitoto Island.
Ambury Regional Park
Head to the suburb of Mangere Bridge, along the coast of the Manukau Harbour, for this hidden gem of a picnic option. It offers numerous public-use barbecues and a number of picnic potentials, as well as Ambury Farm Park, a large working farm run by the Auckland Council. The farm will be a hit for the kids, with sheep, shorebirds, goats, cows and pigs to meet.
Located on Auckland’s North Shore, Murray’s Bay is a cute spot perfect for picnics. It boasts great views of the harbour and Rangitoto Island, plus a kid’s playground and a ladder down to the water should you be tempted to take a swim. The Gumdiggers Trail leaves from the Bay, starting at the wharf and treating walkers to beautiful panoramic views as it continues towards Rothesay Bay. The end point of the trail, incidentally, is another great choice for a family picnic, with slides and swings for the kids (and the adults, if they’re inclined) and a lovely swimming beach.
Make the trip to the suburb of Eden Terrace to find Basque Park, yet another of those peaceful spots that Auckland has in abundance. Spread out your blanket on the gently rolling slopes for the ultimate in people-watching perches, or move down into the natural ampitheater.
Wattle Farm Reserve
Wattle Farm Reserve is located in the South Auckland suburb of Wattle Downs. Take in the views from the neighbouring harbourside wetlands and its resident birdlife from your picnic-rug vantage point, and then set out on a stroll along any of walkways that look out over Manukau Harbour.
Lake Wainamu, in the Waitakere Ranges, is a great day trip destination. The lake is fringed by rolling green hills and boasts its own black sand dunes and waterfalls. The lake is about a 50-minute drive from the city, and it is about a 30-minute walk to the lakeside from the car park. Work up an appetite by ticking off the Lake Wainamu Track, on which you’ll come across Wainamu Falls and the aforementioned dunes that are perfect for sand-boarding.
Discover this beautiful city and its wonderful picnic spots for yourself with cheap flights to Auckland from Webjet. Make sure you explore more adventures to be had in Auckland to add to your itinerary once you arrive!