Countless barbecues are a Kiwi tradition. We’re talking fresh fish, juicy chunks of steak and cheese-filled sausages—all flame-grilled to perfection. And, because Auckland is pretty damn cool, you don’t need to own a Weber to get your BBQ on. There are plenty of Auckland parks and beaches with barbecue facilities that are free to use. Here are our picks of the best spots to barbecue in Auckland.
When it comes to al fresco dining, Long Bay is a crowd favourite. During the weekends people flock by the bus-load, armed with pop-up gazebos and Mad Butcher meat packs. Here you’ll find electric and wood-fired barbecues (BYO wood) available for public use. There are also seven bookable sites—three of which have barbecues—that can be hired for special occasions. Once you’re all barbecued-out, enjoy an afternoon kip in the shade of the pohutukawa trees.
Cornwall Park and neighbouring One Tree Hill Domain form the largest area of parkland in Auckland City so there’s plenty of room for activities—and barbecuing! In Cornwall Park, you’ll find 10 barbies—four gas and six wood. And, if things go seriously wrong and the meat gets burnt to a crisp, you can always have lunch at Cornwall Park Café instead. Afterwards, work off your food baby with a leisurely stroll up One Tree Hill.
Fire up the barbie at Wenderholm Regional Park—a hop, skip and a jump north of Waiwera. The park has all the trimmings: a family-friendly beach, camping sites, walking tracks and not one but two rivers. The best part? There are several free-to-use barbecues dotted around the park. If you plan on bringing your squad, you can hire one of the three bookable sites. The biggest site caters up to 500 people so you can invite all your Facebook friends.
You don’t have to venture far to grill your chicken skewers. At Mission Bay’s Selwyn Reserve you’ll find a barbecue ready and waiting to cook up a storm. We all know Mission Bay attracts the masses—particularly on a hot summer’s day. Be there at the crack of dawn so you can call dibs. Use your tongs as your weapon of choice to fight off fellow barbecuers.
Off to the zoo? Why not have a half-time sausage sizzle at neighbouring Western Springs. The lake-side park is the perfect spot to cook those cheese-filled sausages. Keep your Tip Top loaf close because the ducks here won’t stop at anything to get their beaks on your bread. You’ve been warned.
There’s a bit of a road trip involved in getting to Awhitu. The regional park is an 80-odd minute drive from Auckland CBD but we promise it’s well worth the trip. Think parkland pastures, wetlands and sandy beaches overlooking the Manukau Harbour. May we suggest you marinade your steak before you leave the house? Pop it in a chilly bin and it will be ready to grill on arrival. Better living, everyone.
Enjoy a spot of gannet-watching while you barbecue? You can get your fix of both at Muriwai. Between August and March, about 1200 pairs of gannets flock to the wild west coast beach to nest. It’s also a pretty neat spot for humans to flock to for a barbecue. Here you’ll find electric barbecues and tables for all your picnic needs.
Got a thing for eating outdoors? Check out Where To Find The Best Picnic Spots In Auckland