A pre-Summer long weekend is the perfect excuse for a staycation. Make the most of the (hopefully) good weather and everything Auckland has to offer by packing a picnic basket and heading to one of our favourite spots:
It’s far enough out of Auckland to not feel like Auckland, without being too much of a mission to get to! Shakespear Regional Park is situated on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, just north of Silverdale. It boasts a campsite, BBQs for hire, a number of bush walks to traverse, and three beaches to choose from. Whether you fancy a secluded picnic for two in a picturesque spot, or a group gathering on one of the many grassy reserves, Shakespear Park has it all.
Cornwall Park is an old favourite for almost every Aucklander. Rich in history, the park is described as being a ‘refuge of quiet and beauty’, and even on a long weekend it’s easy to find a spot to lay out the perfect spread. As well as picnicking, Cornwall Park is the ideal spot for bike riding, to get in a quick run, or to trail up the hill to the top of One Tree Hill to enjoy the expansive views across the City of Sails.
Complete with war-time tunnels and gun turrets, North Head is like a history lesson and a beautiful picnic location rolled into one. Located in Devonport, on the North Shore, a picnic at the top of this hill will reward you with panoramic views of Auckland Harbour and the islands dotted through the Hauraki Gulf. If you’re a city-dweller you won’t even need to take your car - Fuller’s ferries operate frequently between Quay Street and Devonport, every day.
Lake Wainamu, Bethells Beach
The black sand, raging surf and lack of shade at Bethells Beach can make picnicking a slightly unrelaxed experience. However, a short walk from the beach car park is a hidden gem: Lake Wainamu. This freshwater lake at the bottom of a steep sand dune makes the perfect swimming and picnicking spot. It’s popular with Bethells locals and can get busy in the summer, however is well worth the fight for space - just watch out for people careening down the dunes on boogie boards! If it’s not quite swimming weather, a walk around the lake is a good way to work off your lunch.
Why not make a whole day of it? Head over to Waiheke Island and make the most of its many great picnic spots. From the long stretch of white sand at Onetangi Beach to the secluded Enclosure Bay, Waiheke has no shortage of places to park up and enjoy a picnic spread. From Auckland you can either take a passenger ferry from Quay Street, or take your car over from Half Moon Bay. The best thing about Waiheke: if the weather turns sour, you can simply head to one of the many vineyards on the island and enjoy some of New Zealand’s finest wine instead.