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Do you remember as a young child the thrill of being told you were going to the playground? We sure do! So we wanted to share with you what we feel are the best playgrounds to explore right here in Nelson.

Being Nelson locals, you can bet we have been to just about all of them! So, we know which playgrounds have the best seating to sit back and watch in wonderment as your tamaiti/child adventures and challenges themselves, or the ones with the toilets on site, or are fenced to keep everyone contained. Here are the playgrounds that we think are worth a visit (in no particular order).

Paddy’s Knob Reserve

This one is a total sensory delight on the eyes. High up on the Port Hills on Stansell Avenue you will find this excellent spot to play while taking in breathtaking views! Installed in 2020, it is relatively new to Nelson and has excellent seating and picnic spots. The climbing equipment to challenge young children is unique and the playground encompasses a natural aspect with old logs to balance on and crawl over too.

The Jester House Playground

The reason we love the Jester house playground so much is its MANY quirks! Located in the lovely little township of Tasman, it is well worth the drive out there, you will not find anything else like this. Enjoy a coffee or bite to eat from the cafe while the tamariki/children go wild among the imaginative wood carvings, climbing structures and creative sculptures and don’t forget to feed the tame eels while you are there to totally complete the experience.

Tahunanui Beach Playround

Arguably Nelson’s biggest playground. You could spend a whole day here, especially in summer, with a Mr Whippy in hand, a wee swim in the sea and building sandcastles galore!  Don’t forget the Funpark is also nearby. There are many playgrounds within the playground at Tahunanui beach, some equipment has been modernised and some is more original and iconic and can be recalled from our past childhood’s. Clean toilets, and plenty of picnic areas available to use. If you get in early enough, you can use the free BBQ’s too! However, you have to watch quite carefully if you have a “runner” in tow, as It is located right by the carpark and that gets incredibly busy.

Mahana School Playground

Located on Mahana School road, it is approximately 25 minutes’ drive from Nelson CBD. The school playground itself is pretty typical – lots of fun, but if you are looking for the BEST slide to spend hours on in our region, you cannot look past Mahana school! You will have to search for it, it wasn’t obviously placed on the school grounds but this zippy giant thing has you tossing and turning, zooming and “weeeeeeeeeeee-ing” all the to the bottom. We were in awe over how long the slide was. The climb back up to the top of the slide is half the fun. After hours or weekends is when you will need to visit.

Olive Estate Lifestyle Village Playground

On Langdale Drive Richmond, this barked playground is perfect for smaller children although it has something for everyone, we do find that this playground is more accessible for those with little legs. While carers enjoy coffee from on-site Paragon Cafe the children can meander around the wee lake feeding the ducks. A perfect morning out. While close to the roadside, it isn’t too busy. Plenty of seating, and toilets inside near the cafe if you need them.

Murphy North Reserve

Oh this playground on Murphy Street is amazing! An outside gym for everyone with the boulders to climb, the basketball court and the large climbing structure which is a bit different to your standard one seen in most playgrounds these days. The circular “friendship style” swings have a newborn swing included, right through to the older child’s style of swing. Tamariki/children love that everyone can enjoy a swing at the same time. Plenty of shaded picnic areas and two slides that zoom off the hill face keeps everybody entertained. There is also so much space to run run run, so if you are looking to burn off excess energy, Murphy North reserve gets a big recommendation from us.

Mapua Domain

This recently renovated Gem is well worth a drive out, you won’t miss it being on the main street of Mapua and nothing has been left out. You have exploration play in the sand area, climbing, sliding, This swinging, balancing, and for imagination play the options here are endless. With its fresh, interesting, bright, colourful and inviting structures, younger children are well catered for, and our older children are covered by the skatepark on site too. Large green spaces and sports courts for all ball sports are nearby or areas to enjoy bikes and scooters.

Spacewalk Playground at Action Indoor Centre

Spacewalk at the Action Indoor Centre has you well covered for a highly fun playground on those wet and miserable days. A very safe play space for tamariki/children under eight years of age. After paying a small fee to enter, the delight is worth every dollar spent watching your young ones playing among the gazillions of coloured balls, crawling through small tunnels, sliding down together with a friend and engaging in modern technology that has been incorporated into the playground too. It is fun to place a ball into the machine, get it sucked up above you and eventually dropped back down. This is a playground with a difference!

Clifton Terrace School

This school playground Is WELL worth a mention here in our blog. We couldn’t believe how huge it was. There is one smaller playground out the back and then an older open play/loose part type play area built into the hill at the back with heaps of tyres to climb and the strangest/unique slide you will ever see, and then there was the main playground which we literally ran out of time to do everything on because it was so big. The view from this main playground is pretty amazing for parents to chill out alongside. There are interesting areas to explore along their pathways and lots of imagination-provoking things to play on.

Clifton Terrace School playground
Clifton Terrace School climbing equipment
Clifton Terrace School playground balance beam

Hockey Reserve

This colourful and inviting playground with a difference is located high up in the Brook Valley – Off Hockey Place. A modern and unique style of play equipment with the use of bark, chip and foam to make it a bit safer for those inevitable bumps and scrapes. There is just so much to do here. It has an excellent flying fox and pump track. A large field and picnic spaces are available too. Our only gripe is it is miles from anywhere and there are no toilet facilities! (Take something you can use with you for small children is our recommendation) It shouldn’t be missed. If you are doing a playground hop, be sure to add this one to your list.

Because Nelson is blessed with many lovely playgrounds and spots to play, this is only part 1 of our playground blog. Keep tuned for the next one where we recommend even more amazing spots to go and adventure with your tamariki/children!!

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