Western Springs Park offers a scenic loop around the lake, the perfect addition to a day at MOTAT or the Auckland Zoo, especially if you’ve got an annual pass to one of these, and aren’t planning on spending all day there. It’s a great destination in itself too, with enough to keep kids entertained for hours.
If you’re driving there, best parking is on Great North Road, on the park side – if you’re lucky enough to find a spot (its popular with the zoo and Motat right there too). Then its just across the tram tracks and you’re there!
Alternatively, there is a car park across the road at the Western Springs Garden Community Hall. And there is also parking on Motions Road, and at the zoo, and at the other end by Motat there is a bit of parking on Stadium Road.
If you’re cycling, its close to the Northwestern Cycleway, great for locals.
Western Springs Park is home to all sorts of interesting birdlife. Our spring visit had the added bonus of seeing lots of fluffy baby birds – cygnets, goslings, chicks – all very cute hanging out with their mummas. The birds don’t need feeding, but if you want to, bring some bird seed and feed them on the grass. The birds there aren’t aggressive, just be prepared for plenty of noise from them, and lots of bird droppings on the paths! We only bothered to try and avoid the large, fresh ones and it certainly didn’t stop us from having a great ride.
The lake there also has writhing tangles of huge eels, and the occasional ginormous fish. There are several little bridges over parts of the lake at various spots which makes for an interesting ride.
The zoo end of the lake loop has a great playground with public toilets (although these were replaced with portoloos when we went), lots of huge shady trees, and picnic tables.
There is even a public use barbecue and a drinking fountain.
The zoo’s Watering Hole snack bar serves customers on the park side too, so you’re set for ice-creams, coffees or even a meal – plus, you’re close enough to hear the lions roaring.
The MOTAT end of the park features a rocky outcrop just made for climbing. BYO picnic, or buy snacks and coffee at the Watering Hole cafe first.
The Great North Road side of the loop has some fantastic pohutakawa trees, perfect for climbing and playing around. Between those and the playground, it’ll be hard to get the kids to leave!
The loop was an easy ride, with just one (very short) steep section that the littlies walked their bikes down – but confident kids of any age might enjoy the chance to get up a bit of speed, abet briefly. That was heading to Great North Road from the zoo end of the park.
There were plenty of other people enjoying the park on the day we were there. Mostly people walking, and others biking and on scooters.
Whether your family is into checking out nature, playgrounds, climbing trees, seeing the birdlife, or just sticking to the biking, there is definitely something for everyone here. It’s popularity is well-deserved, and its so big, you still feel like you’ve got room to move.