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Best Playgrounds In Tauranga That Your Kids Will Love

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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 has more than 100 playgrounds scattered around the city to choose from. Here are 10 of the best.

Caslani Reserve (The Lakes)

The 40m 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.

Suitable for: Toddlers and primary school children

Parents can: Grab a coffee and something yummy to eat from nearby Maude café.

Gordon Carmichael Reserve (Bethlehem)

You’ll find this park on the edge of a beautiful pond and surrounded by wetlands which are bursting with life. You can watch ducks, geese and black swans here, and spot cheeky pukeko 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.

Suitable for: Toddlers and primary school children

Parents can: Enjoy the 2km walkway around the wetlands before or after your playground visit.

Kulim Park (Matua)

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.

Suitable for: Toddlers and primary school children

Parents can: go for a stroll or bike ride with the kids along with sealed waterfront walkway afterwards.

Memorial Park (the Avenues)

Nine out of 10 locals will tell you this is the best playground in Tauranga. Why? Because it’s HUGE. There’s so much play equipment to choose from here and Memorial Park caters for all ages. The iconic ‘rocket ship’ slide has been rebuilt and is better than ever; there’s a challenging ropes course; and interconnecting swing bridges, tunnels, slides and climbing equipment will provide hours of fun. A miniature railway, mini putt course, swimming pools and BBQ facilities are all on site, and kids love splashing around in the giant fountain in summer.

Suitable for: All ages

Parents can: Take a picnic lunch or dinner along, or relax under a shady tree.

Motiti Reserve (Papamoa)

This beachside playground is surrounded by a wide open reserve and sand dunes, with access to Papamoa Beach just a 30 second walk away. A lopsided spinning top is one of the coolest features and the interlinking climbing frames and monkey bars provide a good physical challenge. Multiple swings (including two baby swings) and a glide bar are also heaps of fun. For younger kids, a crawling tunnel, noughts and crosses game and a wobbly ‘kiwi’ rocker are cute attractions.

Suitable for: Toddlers and primary school children

Parents can: Walk over the sand dunes and check out the view of Motiti Island which sits directly offshore.

Mount Drury Reserve (Mount Maunganui)

Mount Drury’s 7m-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.

Suitable for: Toddlers and primary school children

Parents can: Have a go on the big slide too!

Pakanga Reserve (The Lakes)

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!

Suitable for: Pre-schoolers and younger primary school kids.

Parents can: Sit on the park bench and soak up some sunshine – or splash around and get wet also.

Rotary Park (Mangatapu)

This eco-friendly playground is a hidden treasure, sitting on the water’s edge in Mangatapu. Rotary Park’s play equipment is made of natural timber and is beautifully set out with sand, shells and wood chips underfoot. A giant spider’s net sits right in the middle and there’s a big focus on balancing activities here – from walking across a wobbly log, to stepping along uneven wooden posts, tip toeing your way along the balance beam and navigating the giant wooden stepping poles. Two extra slippery slides and a log see saw cap off this gem of a playground.

Suitable for: Toddlers and primary school children

Parents can: Gaze across the harbour and listen to tui singing in the trees above you.

The Strand Reclamation (CBD waterfront)

This marine-themed playground features two slides that are so steep that 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 so you can climb all over them and take pictures with your favourite canine, and there’s also a sandpit for little ones to enjoy.

Suitable for: All ages

Parents can: Grab a coffee from the nearby Strand eateries or dip your toes into the water on the tidal steps.

Yatton Park (Merivale)

Tucked beneath a grove of trees on Fraser St lies a delightful spot that will spark young imaginations. Tea parties can be held on the toadstool-shaped table and chairs; secret conversations can be whispered between giant listening posts, and adults can be spied on using the mounted binoculars. Horizontal ladders and thick ropes snake across the ground to challenge their balance and a mini trampoline is hidden beneath a grassy knoll.

Suitable for: Toddlers and primary school children

Parents can: Relax and listen to birdsong and the nearby fountain