PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS
You will be amazed at the number of beautiful parks and reserves Tauranga has to offer. Many of the parks have lots of activities for you to do for the whole family, from playgrounds, duck ponds, free BBQs and walking tracks, there is something to be enjoyed for the whole family.
These are the top parks in Tauranga.
Fergusson Park is a firm favourite amongst families and has magnificent views toward Mount Maunganui and Tauranga Harbour. The park features a boat ramp, children’s playground with swings, slides, monkey bars and rocking horses, BBQs, picnic tables, sports fields and club rooms.
GORDON CARMICHAEL RESERVE
This peaceful reserve features native plantings and is home to a variety of birds, making it a pleasant spot for walking or cycling. The 60 hectare reserve has been developed into an oasis of native plants and wetlands located between the Mayfield subdivision in Bethlehem and the suburb of Brookfield. The main feature of the reserve is the large duck pond which is home to friendly ducks, geese and pukehos. The park has a good size playground, outdoor BBQs and an outdoor classroom area which is used for Learning Through Discovery programmes. More than two kilometres of walkways wind through this reserve including 230 metres of boardwalk lined with native plants. These walkways provide excellent walking and cycling links between Bethlehem, Brookfield and Bellevue.
Only 30 minutes from Tauranga CBD, this beautiful reserve has 2 spectacular waterfalls. The upper waterfall is a series of nine beautiful cascades, and the second one is a typical horsetail falls with a swimming hole. The 30-45 minute loop will lead you around well formed tracks, some are steep in parts but steps and handrails are there to help you. Above the carpark is a picnic area where you can enjoy great views of Mount Maunganui and the Port of Tauranga.
Kulim Park is a beautiful park that features uninterrupted views of Mount Maunganui and Tauranga Harbour. This peaceful park has a playground, picnic tables near BBQs and a petanque court. From Kulim Park, there is a walkway which takes you to Fergusson Park on a well-maintained sealed footpath, great for kids to ride their bikes or scooters off the main road.
MAUAO HISTORIC RESERVE
The iconic Mauao (Mount Maunganui) is an extinct volcanic cone at the end of the peninsula and the suburb of Mount Maunganui. It is a popular walking and sightseeing destination for both tourists and locals. The summit is 232 metres above sea level and offers various walking tracks around and to the top of the summit. The base track is suitable for off road strollers while the track up the summit is more suitable for mothers wearing baby carriers. With breath taking views of the Bay of Plenty coastline it is definitely worth the trek up the summit.
MCLAREN FALLS PARK
Just 20 minutes drive from Tauranga’s CBD is McLaren Falls Park. This tranquil and secluded area consists of 190 hectares of pastoral and horticultural parkland set alongside Lake McLaren. This treasured spot is popular for camping, fishing, kayaking, swimming, picnics and bush walks. A cafe, toilet facitilies and an information centre is located right next to the main carpark. Also, located at the park is Marshalls Animal Farm which is a must see for children. McLaren Falls Park is an idyllic getaway to relax and enjoy nature at its finest.
Memorial Park is Tauranga’s central city’s premier park. The park makes up 11 hectares of land sitting next to the harbour between 11th and 7th Avenues. The park boasts two large playgrounds complete with swings, slides, climbing equipment, sea-saws, bridges, climbing ropes and monkey bars. Also at the park is a water fountain, skate ramp, free BBQs, outdoor swimming pools, miniature railway train and mini golf course. This fantastic park makes it a fun filled day for the whole family.
MT DRURY RESERVE
Mt Drury Reserve is a popular park featuring a children’s playground with slides, swings, a round-about, see-saw, climbing equipment and a disability swing. It is situated right across from Mt Maunganui Beach.
TE PUNA QUARRY PARK
Te Puna Quarry Park
has been developed from a disused quarry into a world class park. The park enjoys panoramic views out over the Bay and gardens of infinite variety. The park features walking tracks, picnic areas, sculptures, beautiful gardens, ponds, water features, a natural amphitheatre, butterfly house with caterpillars and cocoons ready to hatch and a musical garden. A lovely, idyllic park which is only 20 minutes away from Tauranga’s CBD.
THE LAKES PLAYGROUND
The Lakes Playground in Caslani Lane, Pyes Pa has a flying fox, the coolest rope swing, a standup see-saw and a safe toddlers play area with a mini trampoline, tunnels, rocking horse and more! The playground is located in Tauranga’s new subdivision, The Lakes which is 15 minutes from Tauranga CBD. Next to the playground is Lake Taurikura which has many walkways/cycleways around the lake and vicinity. Across the road is The Lakes Shopping Village where you can get your morning coffee fix at Maude’s Bar & Restaurant or grab something to eat at the various food outlets. You can see more photos and a video here.
THE LAKES WATER PLAYGROUND
The Lakes Water Playground in Pakanga Grove is Tauranga’s first water playground. It is located in a new area of The Lakes off Te Ranga Memorial Drive. This cute little playground has large rocks embedded in the ground with little bridges and grass area dotted around. There’s an Archimede’s screw which brings water up from a little watering hole, river channels with different style gates to control water flow, water pumps and wheels. Also at the playgrounds are swings. You can see more photos and a video here.
Pakanga Grove, Pyes Pa
THE STRAND WATERFRONT PLAYGROUND
The Strand Waterfront Playground is located next to the new Tidal Stairs and Pier in the CBD. Designed for children of all ages, it includes a lighthouse tower with slides and life buoy, a rope pirate ship, dancing snake swing, flying saucer swing, a sandpit with ride-on digger and a water feature where kids can run through water sprinklers. Also scattered along the waterfront are nine beloved characters from Lynley Dodd’s world famous ‘Hairy Maclary’ books in the form of interactive bronze sculptures.
WAIKAREAO ESTUARY WALK
The Waikareao Estuary Walk is a 10km loop track ideal for walking and cycling. It is a mixture of boardwalks, gravel and sealed footpath and can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities. You will come across tidal mangrove and marshland and the sound of native birds. The full loop takes 2 hours and there numerous entry and exit points so you can walk for as long as you like.
A walk around Waikareao estuary with various entry points
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Yatton Park, in Tauranga South is home to mature exotic and native trees, beautiful gardens, meandering streams, ponds and walkways. A new playground has been set up under the trees to provide a welcome relief from the hot sun. The woodland theme playground is not your traditional playground in that there are no swings or slides but there are lots of activities to keep the children entertained. There are climbing ropes, balance ropes, climbing posts, telephone speakers, binoculars, a mini trampoline and a cute mushroom dining table with matching chairs to enjoy your picnic. A popular park for walking the dogs, family picnics, cycling and enjoying the peaceful park surroundings. See more photos here.