Five of the best picnic spots in Auckland
With daylight savings under our belts, the days are getting warmer and longer; summer is so close you can just about taste it. So what better way to put winter to bed for good than celebrating with that quintessential summer tradition, a picnic.
Our fair city is built for the outdoors - being surrounded on all sides by beaches, dotted with extinct volcanos offering marvellous views and enough wide, green open spaces to satisfy everyone. And if there is one thing Aucklanders are good at, it's going out and doing things.
So check the weather forecast, fish out an old picnic blanket and take your pick of our five top spots for a picnic, complete with picnic food match suggestions, for the ultimate in al fresco dining.
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1. Auckland Domain
A picnic in the city's oldest park is always a gem, with over 10 hectares of lush fields to choose from.
Located conveniently in the centre of the city, the park offers daffodils and cherry blossoms in Spring and plentiful trees to cast much needed shade for the hot Summer days.
To match the classic style of the park's Auckland War Memorial Museum or the antique Winter Gardens or the elegance of the band rotunda, we suggest chocolate strawberries and bubbles for the old picnic hamper.
2. Wenderholm, Hibiscus Coast
Auckland's first regional park, Wenderholm offers masses of picnic benches, parking and BBQ pits - perfect for the young family or big groups of friends.
Make sure to pack the togs, for a cool dip in the ocean or even a tent, as the park boasts a wide range of camping facilities that visitors can enjoy for a night after an evening of outdoor barbecue dining.
Here we'd recommend provisions for a 'kiwi as' BBQ. Think sausages, steaks and burgers with plenty of tomato sauce.
3. Maraetai, Pohutukawa Coast
There are plenty of beautiful picnic spots along the Maraetai coastline, including multiple pocket and private white sandy beaches or if you like the company of others, the sprawling Omana regional park.
Its name in Maori means "meeting place by the sea", and its almost a civic duty to indulge in quality fish and chips at Maraetai beach itself at sunset.
If that's not really your scene, why not grab some delicious locally produced fodder from the nearby Clevedon markets and find a lush green space to indulge?
4. North Head, North Shore
Towering over Devonport, a picnic on North Head earns you a 360-degree vista, taking in the islands, the North Shore, the city and Waitemata Harbour.
Embellished with tunnels, gun turrets and other features of the area's military history, North Head or Maungauika is a great spot to take in a sunset over the city.
Filled rolls, sandwiches or wraps would be the way to go at this location, as you can take them with you for your own mini adventures exploring the old gun emplacements with the kids.
5. Cornwall Park, Epsom
The grand dame of Auckland parks, One Tree Hill and adjacent Cornwall park domain offer sprawling, serene beauty and BYO barbecue dining.
This urban wonderland features rolling paddocks, numerous walking tracks, livestock (including lambs in spring) and playgrounds to keep the kids busy.
We think a cheese platter with an assortment of antipasto delights would go perfectly at this inner city location.