Western Springs Park Perfect Family Day Out
Te Wai Ōrea Park Western Springs Lakeside Park and Playground is the perfect outdoor place to go to entertain the kids for FREE in Central Auckland. The kids will enjoy going for a walk, bike or scooter ride around the lake, spotting the eels swimming, finding all the different types of birds, visiting the Japanese Fukuoka Garden and playing on the new playground.
There is a sealed loop path that goes right around the lake and is mostly flat apart from a few short slopes and bridges. It’s an easy walk for all ages. Plus the path is buggy friendly. Take the kids bikes or scooters too so they can go for a ride around the lake.
The lakeside park is filled with wildlife and kids will enjoy spotting the native eels and birds swimming in the lake. The lake’s maori name is Te Wai Ōrea which means “The water of the eels”. We find the best spots to find the eels are under the bridges over the lake and you should be able to see both the shortfin and longfin New Zealand native eels. Fishing is illegal in the lake, so don’t try catching the eels.
Swimming in the lake and on the grass areas around the lake kids can easily find lots of native Pukekohe birds, native Karuhiruhi Pied Shags and Kawaupaka Little Shags, Australian Coot dark grey duck-like waterbirds, Australian shoveler birds, Geese, Parera Grey Ducks, Mallard Ducks and more birds. Please do not feed the ducks or eels.
Western Springs Lake is a natural spring-fed lake and was one of Auckland’s earliest water supplies. The area was called Western Springs to differentiate it from the springs in Auckland Domain.
Kids can enjoy playing in the new fun playground in Western Springs which is close to the Zoo entrance and the Fukuoka Gardens. The new ecology theme playground has two giant slides, a beginners bike track, shade sails.
The Fukuoka Gardens is located in Western Springs Lakeside Park and is close to the entrance to Auckland Zoo. Entrance to the Japanese gardens are FREE and the tea pavilion overlooking the waterfall and pond are a great spot to get a family photo with the kids. The Fukoka Garden is open from 10am until 5:30pm in winter and until 6:30pm in summer.
There are lots of green grassy areas around the lake and playground and picnic tables to stop and have a family picnic. Just watch out for the bird poop before you sit down.
The park has lots of large trees and more native trees are being restored in place of the existing large pine trees to encourage native tui, grey warblers and silvereye birds.
Where is Western Springs Lakeside Park and Western Springs Playground?
Western Springs Park is located at 731 Great North Road, in Central Auckland’s suburb Western Springs in the North Island of New Zealand. The park is not fenced, so you can access it anywhere from where it borders Great North Road or Motions Road. If you head towards the lake in the middle of the park, you will find the path that goes around the lake.
There is street parking along Great North Road and Motions Road. There is also a carpark at the Zoo, although this tends to be busy when Auckland Zoo is open. There is also MOTAT’s tram that runs between MOTAT and Auckland Zoo along the edge of Western Springs Lakeside Park when MOTAT is open.
What family friendly activities are close to Western Springs?
The Auckland Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC) is next to the park which has live theatre shows for families, drama afterschool and weekend classes for children and school holiday classes. Next door to TAPAC is Western Springs College.
On the otherside of the North Western motorway is Chamberlain Park Public Golf Course, an 18 hole public golf course that welcome visitors. They let kids play a game of golf here too, and charge$10* for nine holes and you can hire a set of golf clubs for $15* too.
Go for a family walk on the Meola Reef Path in Western Springs. You can start at the car park in Meola Road and walk on the gravel path down to the edge of the Waitemata Harbour with views out to the Chelsea Sugar Factory and look over the mangroves. There are public toilets by the car park and a drinking fountain on the walk.
Next to MOTAT is Auckland’s largest outdoor concert venue Western Springs Stadium which hosts festivals, concerts and speedway events in it’s natural amphitheatre.
Western Springs Association Football Club and Seddon Fields are located between Old Mill Road and Meola Road in Western Springs. You can go for a short bush walk in Jaggers Bush at 180 Meola Road which is next to Seddon Fields too.
You can find lots of family-friendly cafes and places to eat with the kids in the surrounding Auckland neighbourhoods: Grey Lynn, Mt Albert, Westmere and Pt Chevalier. There is also a cafe at Auckland Zoo you can enter near the ticket area without having to enter the zoo itself. MOTAT has a cafe, but you need to pay for admission to MOTAT to access their cafe.
* Prices correct at time the article was published.