Top picnic spots

A picnic is a simple pleasure, particularly when the weather and the sandflies are kind and the dog doesn’t roll in a dead thing. Here are some accessible, beautiful spots perfect for an outdoor meal, all with a water source and toilets.

Matai Bay (Northland)

At the end of Northland’s Karikari Peninsula, within an hours’ drive of Kaitaia and Kerikeri, Matai Bay is a slice of coastal paradise with picnic spots galore.

Tapapakanga Regional Park (Auckland)

An hour’s drive from downtown Auckland, this gem blends leisure and heritage within a working farm. Enjoy a waterside picnic, then swim or kayak off the sandy beach overlooking the Firth of Thames.

Stoney Point Reserve (Rotorua)

On the shores of Lake Tarawera, around 30 minutes’ drive from Rotorua, Stoney Point serves up stunning scenery, fine swimming, ample parking, barbeques and a playground.

Pukekura Park (New Plymouth)

No top picnic spot list would be complete without the Mayfair of New Zealand’s monopoly board: a municipal park full of life and downright beautiful. After a picnic, row a boat on the lake, visit the display houses and tea house, or head to the zoo.

Wellington Botanic Gardens

The capital’s hilly public garden has themed trails, myriad attractions such as the rose garden, begonia house, observatory, and legendary playground.

Whites Bay (Blenheim)

This secluded spot is where those in the know go to cool off on a hot, top-of-the-South day. White’s Bay reserve is surf-patrolled in summer and has shady, grassy picnic areas for laying down the blanket.

Orton Bradley Park (Canterbury)

A scenic 30-minute drive from Christchurch, this farm park is fun for all the family, with grassy fi elds, arboretum
rhododendron dell, a shallow stream, barbecues and playground.

Lake Kaniere (West Coast)

Twenty minutes’ drive inland from Hokitika and almost entirely encircled by forest, this scenic reserve is a wondrous place to spend time. Set up base on one of several lakeside picnic lawns.

Kidd’s Bush (Central Otago)

Forty kilometres north of Wanaka on the edge of Lake Hawea, Kidd’s Bush is a precious stand of native forest. Find a shady spot on the lakeside clearing, then splash around in the lake or walk among mighty mountain beech trees along the nature trail.

Oamaru Public Gardens (Otago)

Established in Victorian times and boasting multiple magnifi cent ornaments from that era, Oamaru’s gardens are a deep, green oasis in the heart of the town with a play area, aviary, fragrant rose gardens and rhododendron dell.

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