If you wanted to, you could do a public barbecue crawl around Tauranga and the Western Bay for over 25 days straight without having to cook your dinner in the same location twice.
Along the way you could enjoy the great outdoors, and alfresco dining, at locations as diverse as Fergusson Park, the Mount’s Marine Parade, Ororoa Reserve at Pukehina Beach, Omokoroa Domain, Memorial Park, Greerton’s Yatton Park, McLaren Falls Park, the Park Road Reserve at Maketu and Te Puke’s Jubilee Park.
Between them, Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council provide over 40 public barbecues at 26 parks and reserves across the region, from Waihi Beach’s Brighton Reserve at one end to Pukehina Beach at the other.
And they’re all free!
Using them is pretty simple too – the only real trick is to get there first. There is no booking system, so it works on a first-come-first-served basis. Be ready to move on if your preferred spot is already taken, or perhaps keep a portable gas-fired barbeque in the boot just in case (it’s legal to use them in public spaces).
Most of the barbecues are electric, so all you've got to do to get your bangers and steaks cooking is push a button.
If they’re gas, the same principle applies but you just have to hold the button in until they light.
Cleaning them after you've finished cooking is a matter of good etiquette, although council staff also give them a scrub a couple of times a week during summer.
Moving away once you’re done in case someone else wants a go is probably a good idea too.
Full lists of public barbecue locations are available on both councils’ websites, so choose your location, gather up the food and the family, and see what sort of endurance barbecuing record you can set.