Wellington is bursting with wild and adventurous playgrounds. Here are our top picks, or if you want something closer to home, check out the Wellington Play Area Finder. What better way to let the kids have some fun sliding, spinning and hanging upside down. Even better, it’s free!
Matairangi Nature Trail
Mount Victoria. Easily accessed from Alexandra Road by vehicle or on a network of walking and cycle tracks from the surrounding suburbs
There’s a new type of play experience on Mount Victoria that promotes time spent playing in the natural environment and encourages families to explore the amazing outdoors. The play stations along the trail reflect and imagine elements of nature, and are based on the habitat of the matuku hūrepo, kapokapowai, tuna, moko pirirākau and wētā. This is a wonderful play experience for the adventurous child as each station provides opportunities for kids to step, jump, slide and climb as they walk through and along the nature trail.
Frank Kitts Park Playground
Waterfront, Wellington City
The huge lighthouse slide of Frank Kitts playground is the ultimate fun for your daring kids. Perched centrally on the Wellington Waterfront, this playground is host to many sculptures by stellar New Zealand artists that your kids can get up close and personal with. With lots of seating and picnic areas, you can take lunch along and make a day of it, or grab an ice cream from a nearby kiosk. Or if you’re looking for a weekend activity, why not take the kids on a Saturday and check out the Wellington underground markets while you’re there.
Karori Park Playground
400 Karori Road, Wellington
Have older kids? They’ll love the flying fox at Karori Park. Right in the middle of the outer green belt walking tracks, it’s fabulous to get among the beautiful nature of the park, with climbing frames, swings and a circle of rocks for the kids to run around. The playground also has exciting bike and scooter tracks around the outer boundary of the park, and a café in the nearby pavilion for your morning coffee.
Avalon Park Playground
Taita Drive, Avalon, Lower Hutt
Are your kids adventurous? Nestled in the heart of Lower Hutt, this brand-new playground promises some serious fun. It offers unique features like the Super-Mega swing, the Bird’s Nest swing and the Amazon Tower slide. An under-fives area at the north end of the park has closed-in sandpits and an artificial stream for the little ones. Older kids can enjoy more adventurous equipment throughout the rest of the park. Other features include tunnels to explore, a twin flying fox, abseiling walls, trampolines to bounce off their energy, climbing equipment, and water play for warmer days.
Khandallah Park Playground
Homebush Road, Wellington (access via track halfway down Homebush Road)
Hidden down a gravel track, a recent refurbishment means this park is fitted out with the coolest equipment to keep the kids busy. A secret treasure of local parents, the scenic views of Wellington Harbour, the CBD, and Hutt Valley are sure to impress. Perfect on warmer days, the Khandallah pool is only a short walk away. Some old favourites and some new means the playground has lots to entertain, with a see-saw, spiderweb climbing frame, slide, tunnels, walking tracks, and a grass area to kick a ball around.
Constable Street, Newtown (Next to the Newtown library)
Newtown playground is bursting with culture and colour. A big and bright yellow Kaitiaki watches over the playground and is totally awesome for kids of all ages. If your kids are animal lovers or just enjoy colourful drawings, this is the park for them! A giraffe and birds are among the other paintings there along with all the kid’s favourites including a basketball hoop, climbing frame and slide. Shade around the park is a nice escape on those warmer days.
Shorland Park Playground
Corner of Reef Street and The Esplanage, Island Bay
Do your kids love dressing up? Pop their best pirate costume on and head down to Shorland Park Playground. The park has a huge pirate ship slide which has been well loved by kids for years and offers endless imaginary fun. A basketball hoop and half court for your older kids to play at will entertain the sport-obsessed. Picnic tables mean you can sit back and watch them have fun. It also has a wheelchair accessible liberty swing, which means all kids can play without any restrictions.
Katherine Mansfield Park Playground
Corner of Fitzherbert Terrace and Hobson Street, Thorndon
If you’re looking for a more scenic park, the Katherine Mansfield Park has fantastic scented gardens, trees, and walkways. More suitable for your younger children who don’t lose interest easily, as this compact park features a centralised play structure with slides, swings, and climbing areas. The disc swing has enough room for you to lay down with your kids and join in on the fun, so don’t be surprised to see a few mums and dads kicking back on the swing as well.
Churchill Park Playground
31 Marine Parade, Seatoun
Ideal for a family day out and making the most of the summer sun, Churchill Park Playground sits right on the harbour’s edge. Make your kids’ dreams come true as they set sail in the newly constructed wooden pirate ship in the middle of the playground. Slides and climbing frames add adventurous fun to their play. The large grass area is perfect for a kick around of the ball on the weekend, and a nearby beach means you can cool off in the water in the warmer months.
Botanic Garden Playground
101 Glenmore St, Kelburn
You can’t miss this ultimate kid’s playground in the impressive setting of the Botanic Garden. A small fenced in playground is ideal for your toddlers, and two long pipe slides will get the older kids excited. This playground is uber-cool for the whole family, with picnic tables, swings, climbing frames, changing tables for the little ones, and nearby toilets so you can really make it a day out. A rocktopus, flying fox, and swings complete the playground. Be sure to take some bread as you’ll walk past a duck pond on the way in.
See you at the park!
By Katie Pettigrew