School holidays: Best playgrounds in New Zealand

From the absurd to the absurdly beautiful, New Zealand boasts some of the world’s most unique playgrounds. Here are eight of the country’s best, guaranteed to delight both children and the child within.

Cornwall Park in Hastings

When Hastings’ revamped Cornwall Park playground reopened in December 2019, the buzz was palpable. It had taken five months and $1.7 million for architects to transform Hastings’ oldest park into a state-of-the-art destination. The main attraction? New Zealand’s fastest slide.

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If your kids don’t have a need for speed, there are 27 other pieces of equipment to explore, including a 10m-high acorn tower, which is connected by rope structures to four more slides.

Queen Elizabeth Park in Masterton

Considered to be one of the best family parks in New Zealand, there’s a laundry list of activities to enjoy at Queen Elizabeth Park in the centre of Masterton. For starters you can ride a miniature train, feed the ducks, play mini golf, try the BMX and skate park, or go for a boat ride on the pond.

It’s all impressive, but the “Kids Own Playground” section is nothing to snuff at. Built in only six days, it includes a pirate ship, castle, and flying fox, with accessible areas for wheelchair users.

Parliament Playground in Wellington

An opening ribbon was cut on International Children’s Day in 2019, but it wasn’t until last month that taxpayers learned the true cost of the Parliament Playground. The slide, which was made of sustainably sourced native red beech, cost taxpayers $572,000.

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