8 Of The Best Totally Free Things To Do In Auckland
It’s no wonder Auckland has been ranked as the third most liveable city in the world for quality of life. As it is home to bundles of beaches, volcanoes, art and culture freely accessible and ready to be explored by all, what’s not to like!
Auckland is often overlooked by travellers who tend to simply ‘pass-through’ – partially because they think there’s not much to do and partially because it’s been ranked as one of the most expensive places to visit. But, don’t worry, you don’t need money to experience the diverse beauty of Auckland!
Whether you’re around for a handful of days or just have the afternoon to look around before your Wild Kiwi tour starts, here are 8 of the best totally free things to do in Auckland.
Go Volcano Hiking
People like to tout Hawaii as the go-to travel destination for epic volcano hikes, but did you know Auckland is actually built on a volcanic field? Yep, with 50 volcanic cones within an area of just 1,000 square kilometers, you can conquer a bundle of volcanoes without even leaving Auckland. While you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with which volcanoes to hike, these are two of our absolute faves:
1. Mount Eden
Wondering where to get the best views of Auckland? From the top of a volcano of course!
Located in central Auckland, Mount Eden is a relatively easy volcano to get to and, though it is the highest of Auckland’s mainland volcanoes, it’s a pretty easy climb too. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with amazing 360-degree views of Auckland including the Sky Tower (the Southern Hemisphere’s tallest free-standing structure).
2. One Tree Hill
One of the largest and most culturally significant volcanoes to climb is One Tree Hill, located not too far from the city centre.
Walk to the highest point and you’ll be treated to another spectacular 360-degree view of Auckland. Also there’ll be a monument topping the summit and the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell, the ‘founding father’ of Auckland city.
Surrounded by parkland and farmlands home to over 600 sheep, 60 cows and some exotic birds, your walk won’t be without some friendly animal interactions.
If you don’t fancy an uphill climb, there’s also a loop around track where you can walk through native trees and explore the surrounding farmlands. Don’t really enjoy walking at all? Why not enjoy a picnic under the trees with the free barbeques dotted throughout the park.
Embrace the City of Sails
With more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world, it’s no secret why Auckland is nicknamed ‘The City of Sails’. Because of this, no visit to Auckland is complete without a visit to the water!
3. Auckland Waterfront
What would Auckland be without its waterfront? Brimming with the energy of locals and visitors of all ages, Auckland’s waterfront is a great place to get a feel for the hustle and bustle of Auckland with beautiful waterside views.
Stretching alongside the city, Auckland’s waterfront is recognized for its outstanding design and architecture with plenty of beautiful public spaces. You’ll find yourself overlooking a city of bobbing boats, with the superyachts moored just meters away, and a wide range of buzzing restaurants and bars. Watch the boats drift by, people watch or simply take a stroll – time spent on Auckland’s vibrant waterfront is time well spent!
You’ll find plenty of cool things to explore such as The Cloud, a unique modern structure reflecting Aotearoa, Land of the Long White Cloud, that lights up at night. And don’t forget to look out for the public piano, the colourful library in a shipping container and The Lighthouse, a 1950s family home with an installation of lights and a sculpture of Captain Cook inside.
There are also often free events, such as light shows, held along the waterfront. Have a look here to see if there is anything on while you’re in town!
4. Mission Bay
Naturally blessed with an abundance of beaches and beautiful coastlines, you’ll again find yourself spoilt for choice. While some are a wee drive away, there are also some stunning ones right in the centre of Auckland including Mission Bay.
If you’re a sucker for a good coastal walk, then walking along the seafront to Mission Bay from the CBD is a must. Not only do you get spectacular views the whole way, but when you arrive you’ll have an epic view of the island volcano, Rangitoto.
Explore Art, Culture, and History
As New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland is a city with a lot of character. From gallery exhibitions to public art instalments and live performances. Get set to be well and truly impressed by what Auckland has to offer. Lucky for you, there’s always something going on and something new to explore (and plenty that are free!).
Here are a few of our faves that will give you a great taste of the history, culture and art scenes:
5. The Auckland Art Gallery
If you’re ready to immerse yourself in Auckland’s art and culture, head to the Auckland Art Gallery. With more than 15,000 works from various artists of all styles and levels, they’re all open to the public for viewing at no charge. You can check out which awesome exhibitions are on while you’re in town here.
6. North Head Tunnel Complex
Located in Devonport, the North Head Tunnel Complex is rich in military history. And, it’s an awesome place to explore. Plunge into the dark twisting tunnels underground interlinking military forts and spooky caves (don’t forget your torch!).
If you prefer to stay above ground, explore the massive old guns, climb trees and run down the grassy hills. Watch the sunset back over the city and admire the boats coming in and out of the harbour too.
7. The Lightpath
Who turns an old motorway into a work of art? Auckland, of course!
Recently awarded a top prize at the world architecture festival in Berlin, this hot pink trail is a must-do free experience while you’re in Auckland. The path connects Upper Queen Street to Quay Street and was built as an off-road cycleway separated from traffic. Grab a bike or take a stroll – with a string of interactive lights along the side The Lightpath is beautiful day and night.
8. Silo Park
Silo Park is a favourite inner-city oasis for the locals and comes alive with a range of special events and fun things to do. All year-round, you’ll be able to find silo park rocking with food trucks, markets and street performers. Relax in the sun or join in on the fun, it’s pretty much one of the best free things to do in Auckland!
Bonus: If you’re around during summer, Silo Cinema comes alive Friday and Saturday nights and that means free movie night!
As New Zealand’s largest city we can promise you that there is no shortage of things to explore in Auckland. And while there’s everything from sky diving and bungee jumping to sailing to nearby islands, you now know that there is also plenty of free things to do in Auckland.
Trust us, they haven’t ranked this city as one of the best places to visit for nothing. So don’t forget to stop and check out Auckland before hopping onboard your epic Wild Kiwi adventure!
Know of some other awesome free things to do in Auckland? Share it in the comments!