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1. Tawharanui Regional Park
It's a bit of a drive from downtown Auckland, 80 minutes in fact, but it's worth the effort. Tawharanui Regional Park is a 588 hectare park that features Anchor Bay, one of Auckland's finest beaches. The secluded park includes rolling green pastures, wetlands and white, sandy beaches that draw the surfing crowd.
2. Waitakere Ranges Regional Park
Situated on Auckland's west coast, Waitakere Ranges Regional Park is the definition of the great outdoors. The lush woodland forest offers plenty of walking trails, waterfalls, sandy beaches and opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitats. The visitor centre is a good starting point and has some fantastic viewing platforms with panoramic views of Manukau Harbour, and the Hauraki Gulf. The iconic Piha Beach is a short drive from the visitor centre.
3. Wenderholm Regional Park
Drive a few minutes past Orewa, north of Auckland and you'll reach one of the prettiest parks in the region. Taking advantage of its location between the Puhoi and Waiwera Rivers, Wenderholm enjoys picturesque views at every turn. There are a number of walking trails including loop walks around the headland that provide commanding views of the Hauraki Gulf. Within the park is the historic Couldrey House and Gardens, a Victorian-Edwardian home that's open to the public from 1.00pm to 4.00pm.
4. Albert Park
During a warm summer day in downtown Auckland, escape the busy streets to the quiet oasis that is Albert Park. With water fountain features, beautifully maintained gardens and statues lined throughout the park, it's a popular spot for workers during lunchtime. We'd recommend combining a visit with Auckland's Art Gallery which is located right next to the park.
5. Cornwall Park
Along with the adjacent One Tree Hill Domain, Cornwall Park forms the largest green space in Auckland. The park features Auckland's Stardome Observatory, a playground, Acacia Cottage (one of the country's oldest timber buildings and lots of space for walkers, cyclists and joggers to enjoy. One Tree Hill Domain features a 183 metre volcano and fantasic views from the summit.
6. Chelsea Estate Heritage Park
Another park on the North Shore. This time it's the 36.7 hectare Chelsea Heritage Park. The Birkenhead park's notable feature is the iconic Chelsea Sugar Refinery. There are a few walking trails that wind their way through the park allowing you to enjoy the views of Waitemata Harbour and the Auckland skyline in the distance. The main entrance to the park is Colonial Road in Birkenhead.
7. Auckland Domain
Our oldest park in the list, and the oldest in Auckland. Auckland Domain is also one of biggest parks with 75 hectares. Located in Grafton off the upper end of Queen Street, Auckland Domain is situated on the volcanic remains of Pukekawa volcano. The park features one of the city's most popular attractions, the Auckland War Memorial Museum. We recommend also checking out the Auckland Wintergardens.
8. Long Bay Regional Park
Long Bay Regional Park is a great spot for families to enjoy a BBQ with a number of cooking stations that take advantage of the beach views. The park is close to Torbay on the North Shore and adjacent to the 970 hectare Okura Marine Reserve. Although the beach is the drawcard, there is the historic Vaughan Homestead, a reminder of early New Zealand life, and some great walking trails.
9. Selwyn Domain
A small park area which makes our list because of its scenic location. Head out along East Tamaki Drive to the popular beach suburb of Mission Bay. Selwyn Domain features the much photographed water feature, the Trevor Moss Davis Memorial Fountain. The park overlooks the beach and the dominant feature of Rangitoto Island. Grab some fresh fish and chips, relax in the park and soak up those views.
10. Shakespear Regional Park
Shakespear Regional Park is situated on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, 50 kilometres north of Auckland. It makes our list because of Army Bay, a pretty beach great for picnics, and because it's New Zealand's most accessible, and most visited, open sanctuary combining conservation, recreation and farming. We recommend the 'Lookout Track', which takes you past Gully Waterfalls and incredible views of the Hauraki Gulf Islands.
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