It’s hard to spark romance when you’re picnicking with every other human in Tāmaki Makaurau, especially when your thunder could be stolen at any moment by a cute Frenchie pup in a bandana.
So (and we hope you’ll forgive us if we give up your secret spot) we’ve decided to spill the beans and reveal 16 of the best-hidden picnic spots in Auckland. Let's dive in.
Head out West for the day and have a picnic around Lake Wainamu. It’s a beautiful location and it even has a few rocks to jump off into the lake. Take in the picturesque hills and enjoy the black sand dunes.
This quarry left to flood and ruin really is one of the best-hidden picnic spots in Auckland. Head to Warkworth’s cement works when the weather’s on form for lazy, summer vibes.
Halls Beach Reserve
Visit Northcote Point for a secret picnic at Halls Beach Reserve. Just around the corner from Little Shoal Bay, you can set up your blanket on the grassy reserve and look out to the ocean.
Accessible at low tide, Casnell Island is a great spot for picnickers looking for something a little wild. Relax and enjoy, but if you forget the tides, you’ll need to swim to get back.
Hidden away in Parnell’s suburbia, Scarborough Reserve is one of Auckland's best-hidden picnic spots. With a couple of benches, a bunch of different trees and plants, and a time-stopping quality in the air it’s practically paradise.
For inner-city dwellers, it can be tough to find a quiet space to clear your head and enjoy a meal or two. Enter Basque Park in Eden Terrace. Spread your blanket on the grass and unwind after that busy day of work (especially if ‘work’ has turned into countless zooms while toiling, unergonomically, over an ironing board-turned-computer-desk.)
Highfield Garden Reserve
Highfield Garden Reserve is picture book pretty—a perfect picnic spot. Say hello to the resident donkeys then settle in amongst the wildflowers or, if the wind isn’t too strong, head up the hill for the ultimate picnic with a view.
Te Tatua-a-Riukiuta / Big King Reserve
Keen to take your picnic to new heights? Grab your picnic supplies and go climb Big King. Given that this is also an off-leash dog park you may also have opportunity to pat the odd pooch (lockdowns excluded, natch). Bonus points if you can lug a saxophone up there too—the acoustics are rad.
White's Beach is a haven for pōhutukawa trees, grey-faced petrels, and picnickers willing to go the extra mile. Although there aren't any facilities, the coastal stretch is absolutely stunning, so be a tidy Kiwi and carry all your waste out with you. A hearty picnic (and loads of water in summer) is a must—you’ll certainly need the stamina to make it back up Rose Track.
Wattle Farm Reserve
Head South and escape to this hidden spot near Manurewa. Wattle Farm Reserve has plenty of walkways around the peninsular that extends out to the Manukau Harbour. Find a lil pozzie for your picnic crew and bring your binoculars to spy on the birds hanging out in the wetlands and ponds.
Visit Coyle Park in Point Chevalier to enjoy a picnic with your loved one. This spot provides a lovely view to watch the sun set over Auckland, no matter what time of year—and there’s a playground if you’ve got little sprogs in tow.
For a whimsical picnic, head up Mt Vic. You’ll get to soak in 360-degree views of Tāmaki Makaurau and live your wonderland fantasy amongst a cute colony of toadstools hidden on top of the mountain.
Dingle Dell Reserve
Dingle Dell is pretty magical with its glorious trees and fairy houses that have sprung up along the walkways. There are several open grassy areas too—perfect for picnicking—and if that summer sun leaves you yearning for a swim, St Heliers beach is but a ten-minute walk away.
Curran St, Westhaven
Where better to picnic than under Auckland’s iconic Harbour Bridge? There is a tonne of benches to park up at with views ranging from jaw-droppingly beautiful to thoroughly entertaining (read: terrified Bungy jumpers).
Gumdiggers trail is set between Murray’s Bay and Rothesay Bay on Auckland’s North Shore. Start at the foot of Murray’s Bay Wharf and take a stroll along the walkway, where you’ll enjoy the sounds of nature, and find an epic viewing spot looking out to the water. There are plenty of places to stop and have a picnic along this track when the tide's out, or you can always set up at one of the beaches at the end of your stroll.
Back in the 1870s, there were whispers of Russian invasion so North Head was fortified with three large gun batteries to defend Auckland City. The invasion never happened but the gun emplacements make a great picnic spot for history buffs, overlooking the glistening waters of the Hauraki Gulf.
Keep the scenic vibes going with a tour of Auckland's most scenic drives.
Image credit: Lake Wainamu by Ian Rushton, Scarborough Reserve & Dingle Dell by Alice Rich, White's Beach by Chris Harker.