Located at the very ‘point’ of Point Chevalier, Coyle Park has always been popular for its playground. It features a flying fox, a giant spiderweb climbing frame with great views from the top, and a people-powered train (pushable by older children as well as patient grown-ups), as well as the usual swings, slides, climbers and a merry-go-round.
Plus, it has welcoming dragons!
As of 2019, the park also features a lovely paved perimeter path. It circles the park and links directly to the playground, and is an easy, mostly flat circuit for youngsters and jog-along parents.
The cliff-edges are fenced and there are no roads through the park, so this is a nice safe route for little kids to get the hang of their wheels.
Watch out for the ‘big dip’ (it’s not that big) at the far end of the playground: new riders will want to have their hands on the brakes, and older kids can test their cornering skills. Apart from that it’s a level and safe ride, with unfolding panoramic views of Meola Reef, the Harbour Bridge, the Chelsea Sugar Factory and Birkenhead, the inner harbour, and Te Atatu peninsula.
Everyone will find a favourite spot along the way. Look for the tiny library outside one of the houses fronting onto the park, where you can take a book or leave a book.
There are plenty of trees to stop and climb, a fairytale avenue of big dark pines, and picnic tables to stop at.
At the eastern end of the park, a carved monument celebrates the story of how Meola Reef/ Te Tokaroa was created by patupaiarehe (fairy folk) trying to flee to the other shore. The spellbinding tale is carved into the monument itself.
At the northwestern tip of the park, the path diverges towards a gate in the fence. If you and your kids are sure-footed and feeling adventurous, you can go through the gate and down the steps to Piper Rock, a secret local fishing spot.
There are fascinating cliffs to explore nearby, especially at low tide. (If you do plan to explore around the headland, bring sturdy shoes, keep an eye on the tide, watch for sharp oyster shells, and expect to get a bit sandy-muddy).
The toilet block is next to the carpark, and also has drinking fountains and changing rooms.
Pt Chevalier Beach itself is a popular and safe beach for children, shallow and sheltered, with great sand for sandcastles and pohutukawa for shade – best enjoyed at high tide or either side of it. In the winter season, this is a popular dog beach, so be prepared for bouncy canines.
Need fortifying? The Pt Chev Beach Cafe is a 2 minute walk away from the carpark, and has ice creams and all the usual cafe food in a deluxe setting. The nearest dairy is not far away. Or BYO picnic and set yourselves up at one of the many picnic tables along the path.
Bonus rides nearby
The Eric Armishaw Boardwalk at the end of Walker Road at the southern end of Pt Chevalier, which sets off from a playground with a good slide and a hamster wheel. For a safe ride with small children, you can ride out and back along the boardwalk. On a windy day, this is a great place to watch kite-surfers.
Or for a longer adventure with more confident kids, at the end of the boardwalk path, make your way through the busy Waterview Interchange to the Waterview Heritage Area on the other side, which features a playground, a skate park, and a water park.
You can also follow your nose along the Waterview Shared Path or check out the Northwestern Cycleway across the causeway towards Te Atatu.