Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is a 52 hectare (130 acre) public park in Vancouver, Canada.

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It is the second most visited park in Vancouver after Stanley Park. It is a 152 metres above sea level, making it the highest point in Vancouver, offering views over Vancouver towards the mountains on the North Shore.

During the early twentieth century the land was quarried for rock to build Vancouver’s first roads. The old quarries were later turned into sunken gardens. The park was dedicated by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later known as Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) during their visit to Vancouver in 1939.

Within the beautifully maintained gardens there are redwoods, a rose garden, arboretum, and the ‘dancing waters’ fountain, which has 70 jets, which burst around 85,000 litres of recirculated water. The park is also home to the Bloedel Conservatory, a domed conservatory with exotic birds and tropical plants and flowers.

For sports and recreational enthusiasts there is a bank of 17 public tennis courts, three basketball courts, two outdoor roller hockey courts, the Vancouver Lawn Bowling Club, and the Queen Elizabeth Park Pitch & Putt golf course.

The park is located at Cambie Street and West 33rd Avenue. There are also entrances on Ontario Street and West 33rd Avenue, and West 37th Avenue between Columbia and Mackie Streets.

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One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill known in Māori as Māungakiekie at 182 metres (597 ft) is Auckland’s largest intact volcanic cone, behind Rangitoto, and offers 360 degree views of Auckland.

One Tree Hill

One Tree Hill

Despite its name there is no longer a tree on top of the hill. The 125 year-old Monterey pine was removed in 2000 after being attacked by activists with chainsaws on two separate occasions. The stump of the tree remains and there are plans next year to plant a grove of trees on the summit.

Māungakiekie has significance to the Māori people as it was the largest Māori pa site in the pre-European 18th century.

On the summit is the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell and a obelisk that was bequeathed by Campbell. Campbell believed that Māori would gradually die out and the obelisk would be a fitting memorial. The obelisk was completed in 1940 but was not unveiled until after the War on 24 April 1948. During its construction it was suggested that rather than be a memorial it could be a centennial tower to celebrate the centennial year of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. At the front of the obelisk is a bronze statue of a Māori warrior.

Māori warrior

Māori warrior

One Tree Hill also has significance is popular culture. Irish band U2 wrote the song ‘One Tree Hill’, in memory of Greg Carroll, an Aucklander and employee of the band, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in Dublin. Carroll was part of a group that took U2 lead singer Bono to One Tree Hill during his first visit to New Zealand in 1984.

The gates are open 7 am to 7 pm winter and 7 am to 8:30 pm summer. While visiting One Tree Hill be sure to check out neighbouring Cornwall Park and the Stardome Observatory. Together One Tree Hill Domain and Cornwall Park form Auckland city’s largest parkland.

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Views from One Tree Hill

Views from One Tree Hill

Hagley Park

Hagley Park is the largest public park in Christchurch.

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Hagley Park North

The park spans 164.637 hectares and is shaped by the Avon River and surrounding streets. The surrounding streets divide the park into three areas Little Hagley Park, Hagley Park North and Hagley Park South. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is adjacent to North Hagley Park, with Canterbury Museum and Christ’s College also on what was park land.

The Park was formed in 1855 when the new Provisional Government set the land aside as a public park. It was named Hagley Park after the country estate of Lord Lyttelton, who was the chairman of the Canterbury Association.

Hagley Park North is used for many outdoor concerts and events, such as Christmas in the Park and the Ellerslie Flower Show. It also has rugby fields, the Hagley Golf Club, Croquet Club and Tennis Club. There is also a fitness trail that runs through Hagley Park North.

Fitness Track, Hagley Park North

Fitness Track, Hagley Park North

As well as the Avon River there is Victoria and Albert Lake within Hagley Park North. Victoria Lake was formed in 1897 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria’s reign. The 1 acre area of swamp was extended to be the 4 acre lake it is today.

Lake Victoria, Hagley Park North

Lake Victoria, Hagley Park North

Hagley Park South is largely made up of sports fields, including netball courts, rugby fields, hockey fields and the Hagley Oval cricket ground. The Addington Brook is a small stream that runs through Hagley Park South and exits into the Avon River in the Botanic Gardens.

Click here for a map of Hagley Park.

Hagley Park at sunset

Hagley Park at sunset

Kuirau Park

Kuirau Park is a geothermal park located in the heart of Rotorua.

You can see bubbling mud, steam oozing from the ground, and smell that famous Rotorua sulphur all for free as you explore the dirt walking tracks and boardwalks.

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As geothermal nature is unpredictable please use common sense and stay to the tracks.

There are also two footpools where visitors can soak there feet. There is also a children’s paddling pool close by. Although it was empty when I visited probably due to it being winter.

Every Saturday morning from 6am to 1pm is the Rotary Market. The various stalls sell a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, bakery items, hot food, art, crafts, clothing and much more.

It is not all boiling mud and sulphur there is also a scented garden, children’s playground, picnic tables and plenty of green space.

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Kuirau Park is located on the corner of Ranolf Street and Lake Road. There is plenty of parking or is a 10-15 walk from the city centre.

Jacobs Ladder & Point Erin Park

Jacobs Ladder Bridge is a covered footbridge for pedestrians and cyclists that crosses over eight lanes of State Highway 1. It connects Westhaven Marina with Saint Marys Bay suburb and Point Erin Park.

Jacobs Ladder Footbridge

The footbridge officially opened in December 2012. It cost $7.9 million to construct. It is 102 metres long, 3.7 metres wide and stands 6 metres above the motorway. The exterior of the bridge is covered with gold coloured mesh, which is designed to evoke the idea of traditional Maori fishing nets.

Jacobs Ladder was originally built in the 1800s to provide access from St Mary’s Bay cliffs to the foreshore. The steps originally came down to the motorway level. The stairs now only come to the bridge level and ramps provide pedestrian access down.

Jacobs Ladder Footbridge

When I visited the bridge it was midday and was popular with office workers on a lunchtime run.

After crossing the bridge I turned right and followed the ramp down and walked along the path next to motorway to the entrance to Point Erin Park. If you turn left the ramp will come out across the road from Victoria Park.

The large panels reduce much of the traffic noise so it was quieter than I was expecting.

Ramp down from Jacob’s Ladder Footbridge

Walking next to the motorway

Walking next to the motorway

Steps up to Point Erin Park

Steps up to Point Erin Park

Point Erin Park covers approximately 4 hectares. The park includes a children’s playground, picnic tables, and an off leash dog exercise area.

Also in the park is Pt Erin Pool, which includes hydroslides, a spa pool, toddlers pool, a 33-metre competition pool, dive pool and basketball court. There is also a cafe and shop onsite. Check their website for opening hours and prices.

There is vehicle access to Point Erin Park and Pt Erin Pool from Shelly Beach Road.

Point Erin Park

Point Erin Park

Point Erin Park

Tongariro Domain

Tongariro Domain (Tongariro South Domain and Tongariro North Domain) is a park located between Lake Taupo, the Waikato River and Taupo’s business district.

A large trout sculpture proudly stands on the Tongariro Street and Ferry Street corner of the South Domain. The sculpture was erected in 1999 to replace a previous trout sculpture built in 1985 for the Dawn Walker Trout Fishing Tournament.

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Trout sculpture

The South Domain is excellent park for families with plenty of green lawn space for picnics, sculpture and flower gardens, a children’s playground and an outdoor chess board. One of the main attractions is the Taupo Pakeke & Lakeland Lions Cobb & Co Express, a monorail train that runs through the park. This train began operating in 1993. Tickets are $2.00 per person for 3 circuits.

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Taupo Pakeke & Lakeland Lions Cobb & Co Express

Taupo Pakeke & Lakeland Lions Cobb & Co Express

The North Domain is outdoor green space that is used for outdoor exhibitions and special events, such as the Christmas Carnival and Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

At the end of the North Domain is the old courthouse building. This building, which was built in 1881, is the oldest surviving wooden building in Taupo. The building was originally used as a theatre and meeting hall. It was later converted into a magistrate’s court. The building is now managed by the Historic Places Trust and currently used as a childcare centre.

Old Taupo Courthouse

Old Taupo Courthouse

Nearby is the sail and viewing platform, which looks out over the Taupo Boat Harbour and Waikato River.

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Sail and viewing platform

Between the South and North Domain is the Taupo Police Station, Taupo District Court, The Great Lake Centre, Taupo Library and Taupo i-SITE Visitor Centre. The Great Lake Centre is a theatre and exhibition complex that opened in 1992 to replace the Taupo Nui A Tia Memorial Hall, which was built in 1953.

The Taupo i-SITE Visitor Centre is a good place for new visitors to the area. The I-SITE is open every day (except Christmas Day and Anzac morning) from 8.30am until 5.00pm.

Parana Park

Parana Park is a children’s playground located on Memorial Drive in Hamilton East.

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Tui chick and egg sculpture, Parana Park

Parana Park, was gifted to Hamilton City by George Parr. In his will Mr. Parr gifted the house located at 3 River Road to be used as a home for children recovering from illness. The land surrounding the house was to be used as a children’s playground. It became apparent that home was not suitable for a children’s convalescent home and the 1958 Hamilton City (Parana Park) Empowering Act was established to give the Council more control over managing the park.

The name Parana does not have anything to do with piranhas in the pond. That is a joke. The name came from a combination of Mr. Parr’s name and that of Annie McPherson who planted the trees on the property.

Parana Park

Parana Park

In April 2012, the playground reopened after an extensive upgrade, which included new paths, sculptures and a viewing platform.

The park has been designed with a kōwhai theme. There is a 300-jet fountain shaped liked a kōwhai seed, a slide shaped like kōwhai flower and viewing platform overlooking the Waikato River shaped like a kōwhai leaf.

Kōwhai tress are a small legume trees with yellow blooms native to New Zealand. Kōwhai is also the Māori word for yellow, a reference to the colour of the flower. Although not officially recognised the kōwhai flower is often seen as New Zealand’s national flower.

300 jet Kowhai seed shaped fountain

300-jet kōwhai seed shaped fountain

Kowhai shaped slide

Kōwhai flower shaped slide

There is also a small amphitheatre, playhouse and an aviary in the park.

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Aviary, Parana Park

Aviary, Parana Park