Summer is officially over, but we still have plenty of fine days in store for us on the North Island. In fact, autumn is probably my favourite time of year for a picnic! The bugs have “bugged” off and the intensity of the summer sun has greatly diminished. Make the most of a sunny autumn day by grabbing a picnic hamper, blanket and a jumper and heading to one of these top North Island picnic spots!
Stay nearby: This scenic picnic spot is a 50-minute drive from Ahipara Holiday Park.
Drive out to the end of the Karikari Peninsula and you’ll find Matai Bay, a crescent shaped bay of shimmering blue waters rimmed by a white sand beach. There are several picnic spots dotted around the bay, some with BBQ pits and toilets. You’re likely to have the place to yourself once the summer crowds have disappeared.
Region: The Coromandel Peninsula
Stay nearby: Seabreeze Holiday Park is a mere 10 minutes away from Hahei Beach.
Head to Hahei Beach where you can choose from a picnic on the beach or the headlands overlooking the Te Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve. There’s no shortage of activities to indulge in to work up an appetite. Hike to Crystal Cove and admire the spectacular rock formations or take a boat tour along the coastline. There aren’t any BBQ pits here, so plan for a fuss-free lunch.
Stoney Point Reserve
Stay nearby: Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park is just 25 minutes away from Stoney Point Reserve.
Stoney Point Reserve is located on the pristine shores of Lake Tarawera. The spot is a picnicking delight, with plenty of parking, BBQ pits and picnic tables. There’s a playground onsite, so the kids will be entertained while you kick back and enjoy the views across the lake. It’s also a popular spot for fishing, so don’t forget to pack your fishing gear!
Moana Park Winery
Region: Hawke’s Bay
Stay nearby: Napier Beach Kiwi Holiday Park and Motels is located 20 minutes away from Moana Park.
A trip to Hawke’s Bay would not be complete without some wine tasting at some of the region’s world-class wineries. The cellar door at Moana Park has become a favourite of locals and visitors alike, thanks to its free picnic areas, friendly staff and incredible wines. This vineyard actually encourages you to bring a picnic and spend the day here. I can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny, autumn afternoon!
Stay nearby: Wellington’s Kiwi Holiday Park is a 40-minute drive from this picnic spot.
Williams Park is a popular picnic area located on Days Bay Beach. There are the usual facilities – picnic tables, toilets and BBQ pits – with the added bonus of a few cafes thrown in. So, if you’re feeling a bit lazy, grab a coffee and some wood-fired pizza from Days Bay Pavilion. Several bushwalks also begin at Williams Park, so you’ll have a chance to explore this picturesque area located just a stone’s throw away from Wellington.
Shake out those picnic blankets!
I hope I’ve inspired you to visit one of these great picnic areas on the North Island. I’d love to hear about your trip, so please share your comments with us below or on our Facebook page!