Spring is in the air and Aucklanders now have permission to start heading outdoors for recreation after what feels like years stuck at Alert Levels 4 and 3. With Auckland folk free to move around within Auckland's borders and meet with another bubble for outdoor socialising (to a limit of 10 people) picnics are a natural choice. After all, nothing beats good food and breathtaking views, so why not combine the two?
We've taken the hard part out of your picnic organisation and put together a list of the best places you can set yourself up at around Auckland as our great city is dotted with gorgeous picnic spots for you and your boo (or dog), mates or the fam bam. Remember social distancing, mask up when not eating and keep a good distance from other bubbles.
We’ve located the best places to have your next picnic—now all you have to do is rally your picnic companions, pack a feast and enjoy—all while socially distanced ofc.
The fact that this North Shore beach hums with people every day of the year is a tell-tale sign that it’s downright awesome. Why not support local and pick up some goodies from a Takapuna cafe/local deli/bakery and settle down on the beachfront. It’s the perfect place for some dog watching or even a dip… waiting an hour for that picnic fare to settle, of course. Just remember to keep your distance from other groups who also had the same excellent idea.
Te Kohuroa/Mathesons Bay
The wonderful little town of Leigh to the northern end of the Auckland boundary hides the secluded Te Kohuroa/Mathesons Bay, a beach perfect for a picnic in the sun. The bay is cornered off from the ocean so it provides the ideal spot for safe swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and the likes. There are even rock pools and a hiking track right on the beach to keep you entertained the entire day.
Parnell Rose Gardens
At this picnic spot, you can literally rock up and smell the roses. Heck, you can even eat your sammies amongst them. The roses are in full bloom from October through until summer, but it is a perfect spot to settle down all year round with your two bubbles combined.
Awhitu Peninsula is tucked away between Manukau Heads and the Tasman Sea on the West Coast, in the south of Auckland. Once you arrive, give the lighthouse a climb, explore the regional park, and stop by one of the many beaches along the bay. There are heaps of things to do and it’s so rural you’ll feel miles away from home.
It’s no secret that Mission Bay is an Auckland hotspot and as such it's probably going to be one of the busiest places on our list. Going outside of peak times will help you avoid the crowds and encourage social distancing. There’s no better way to experience Mission Bay than with a picnic with plenty of room on the beach and grass area. If you’re looking for an epic elevated spot, head up to Bastian Point, where you’ll be treated to sprawling views of the Waitematā Harbour.
Wenderholm Regional Park
A well-kept secret to the northern end of the Auckland boundary is Wenderholm Regional Park. Just up near Waiwera, the park is huge so you can count on finding your own quiet picnic spot by the water in the lush grounds and spend the day exploring the many parts of this mammoth park.
This Devonport gem was once one of Auckland’s best-kept secrets. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, we might as well let you in on why it’s so special. Cheltenham Beach is a long stretch of sandy bliss nestled behind North Head and is one of the more secluded picnic beach spots in Auckland. It’s a tidal beach, so keep that in mind when planning your picnic, but there's plenty of room to sit down and enjoy the views. Take your esky and go see what all the fuss is about.
From sheltered grassy areas to huge tables and heaps of room on the beach, a picnic at Piha should be on your bucket list. Spread out your picnic rug and tuck into your delicious picnic. If you’re feeling game, Mercer Bay Loop is an easy walk with several picture-perfect picnic spots along the track. As it is located near some of the protected Kauri-dieback areas, make sure to check here if the track is open before you leave.
How lucky are we to have this massive green oasis in our city? Cornwall Park has everything you could ever want for a cruisy picnic. The place is gigantic so you don’t have to worry about people accidentally sitting on your D.I.Y charcuterie board. Pack the sausies for this picnic—there are barbecues throughout the park. And cows, but they’re just for looking at.
Head through Matakana straight to the East coast and discover Omaha Beach. The golden sand stretches on for what feels like forever and the crystal blue water is often visited by a friendly pod of dolphins. Pack a chilly bin up and find your own private strip of sand at the bay!
Just a short drive down the road from Omaha is Tāwharanui Peninsula. The regional park is a sanctuary of green grass, refreshing water, and nature galore. With four sandy white beaches to choose from, enjoy a picnic down on the sand and follow it up with a trek around the farmlands creature-spotting!
Spending the day in the city and looking for some green space? Albert Park is a welcome escape from lecture halls and libraries for Auckland students, and this inner-city park is a favourite for picnics and lunchtime breaks to all who visit or work in the CBD. Scarecrow is close by and has your picnic hamper sorted with fresh salads, bread, cheese, pastries and sweet treats at Alert Level 3.
If you like your picnics sneaky, check out these hidden picnic spots.
Image credit: Jonathan Borba, Mission Bay by Thomas Necklen, Cornwall Park by Habib Zeiniadeh,