LET THE FUN BEGIN
Playgrounds are wonderful places to let your kids burn off energy, test their limits and try new things. They’re also a much-needed respite for parents too! Tauranga alone has more than 100 playgrounds scattered around the city to choose from. Here are some of our most favourite playgrounds in Tauranga.
Nine out of ten locals will tell you this is the best playground in Tauranga. Why? Because it’s HUGE. From swing bridges, tunnels and slides to a challenging ropes and climbing course and a ‘rocket ship’ slide - there’s so much to choose from. You’ll also find a miniature railway, mini putt course, skatepark, swimming pools, BBQ facilities and a giant fountain which kids love splashing around in summer.
Eleventh Avenue, Tauranga
This marine-themed playground features two slides that are so steep, only kids are brave enough to tackle them! Ship ropes have been turned into hammocks, a pirate fortress and a roundabout ‘snake’ swing while a splash pad and nearby tidal steps are a great place to cool off. Legendary storybook characters Hairy Maclary and friends are immortalised in bronze and allow kids of all ages to get up close to these giants of the children's book.
The Strand, Tauranga
This is an ever-popular spot, largely because of the awesome location. Sitting right on the Matua waterfront looking across to Mount Maunganui, Kulim Park is an idyllic place to spend an hour or two. Kids love climbing to the top of the small hill to reach the slide and testing their balance on the uneven stepping posts which surround the swings and main play area. Waving out to passing trains usually guarantees a ‘toot’ from the driver and older kids can shoot hoops on the mini basketball court nearby.
101 Kulim Avenue, Otūmoetai
The 40 metre flying fox is a definite drawcard and the main reason why kids flock to this playground from all over town! But there’s plenty of other cool equipment to keep younger ones entertained as well. A Loch Ness-shaped roped swing can carry four at a time, and the large wooden seesaw can also handle a crowd. Small tunnels are hidden beneath a grassy knoll and a mini trampoline, swings, slide and climbing frame make this the perfect spot to hang out with little ones.
154 Lakes Blvd, Pyes Pa (opposite the Lakes shopping centre)
THE LAKES WATERPARK
This water-themed reserve is unlike any other playground in Tauranga. Nestled beside a gentle stream and tussock-covered hill sits a series of wooden water chutes which can be turned on at the press of a button or the turn of a handle. Your kids will love the interactive, sensory experience of hearing water splashing along troughs and spinning water wheels. It’s also fun to churn water up in the shallow pond using a giant Archimedes’ screw. Be prepared for everyone to get wet here!
Pakanga Grove, Pyes Pa
Mount Drury’s 7 metre long slippery slide is one of the longest – and most popular – in the Bay. The glorious beach and Mount Maunganui’s main shopping street are both just a short walk away from this playground and families flock here all year round. The ‘big spinner’ roundabout is another cool point of difference that kids of all ages love. There’s also plenty of climbing nets and public toilets are on-site.
Mount Drury Reserve, Mount Maunganui
GORDON CARMICHAEL RESERVE
You’ll find this park on the edge of a beautiful pond and surrounded by wetlands bursting with life. You can watch ducks, geese and black swans here, and spot cheeky pūkeko running around. The playground itself has a popular bucket swing plus regular swings, slides and lots of climbing equipment. There’s bark underfoot to cushion any hard landings and plenty of green space to kick a ball and run around.
Gordon Carmichael Road, Bethlehem