Top five for free playgrounds

Having a ball at the Lake Hawea playground.
Having a ball at the Lake Hawea playground.

Top five for free playgrounds in the Southern Lakes District: 

Lake Hawea playground:

After undergoing a major upgrade just over a year ago, this playground has a number of unique features including a massive tree with branches hanging down to the ground so visitors can picnic under them in the shade. The playground also features a wooden tractor, and a huge metal cube structure for the kids to climb up. Located in the middle of Hawea, there is lots of parking and the added bonus of being next to tennis courts and the library, with the local dairy just a short stroll away. We love the unique features of this playground and the huge amount of voluntary work which has gone into upgrading it.

Dinosaur park - Wanaka: 

The real things might be long gone, but there's nothing extinct about one of Wanaka's biggest attractions. The dinosaur slide at Dinosaur park, located on Wanaka's waterfront, is close to 40 years old, and still as popular with the children as it was when it was first installed by the Wanaka Jaycees in 1976. As well as the slide, the park also boasts a wide range of play equipment for the kids, both young and old. The playground is hugely popular with locals and visitors and is a great place to meet friends and watch the activities on the water. There are also walking and cycling tracks on either side of the park, as well as a small stream for the kids to play in. We love this park because of its central location and its range of equipment for the kids.

Lowburn playground:

Located just a few minutes out of Cromwell, heading towards Wanaka, this playground offers everything for a great family day out. As well as the playground, which features a slide, swings and a huge wooden fort complete with a slide and climbing wall, the playground also has a free barbecue for the public to use. It's also right by the Lowburn inlet, a great little place for swimming, kayaking and boating. This playground is popular in summer, with many local families heading there for picnics in the evenings and during the weekends. We love this playground because it's located in a beautiful, peaceful area and there's plenty of space for families to spread out and make a real day of it.

Lake Hayes Estate playground:

Located in the centre of Lake Hayes Estate, the design of this playground includes a large sandpit with a wooden fort and a smaller playhouse. There are also swings, slides and a fantastic flying fox, which is hugely popular with the children. We love this playground because it's a great place to spend the day with the kids. There is also a sheltered barbecue area, a drinking fountain and toilets, neighbouring sports field and a great new cycle track nearby. Families travel to the playground from Queenstown because it's such a fun place with lots of interesting play equipment.

Pioneer Park playground - Alexandra:

This playground is in the centre of Alexandra, located next to the museum, the tennis courts and Pioneer Park. We love this playground because there is a separate, fenced playground for the little children. The playground for the bigger children is interesting, challenging and safe, with soft padding on the ground. This playground is perfect for children of all ages, with plenty of room for the family to spread out and have a picnic lunch. There are also public toilets nearby and cafes across the road. During the summer months, markets are held at the park every weekend.

The Mirror