Top 10 free things to do in Auckland
Auckland’s landscape it dotted with 48 volcanic cones, all great spots for 360-degree views. Mount Eden is the city’s highest natural point and its 50-metre deep crater and surrounds hold an important place in Māori history. Head to Cornwall Park and up One Tree Hill, one of the largest former Māori settlement complexes in New Zealand, or walk to the top of Mt Victoria or North Head in Devonport.
Take a day trip to Goat Island, a protected marine reserve and one of New Zealand’s top snorkelling and dive spots, with abundant colourful fish close to the shore. If you’d rather stay dry, try a clearyak (clear kayak) trip or the glass bottom boat. Bring the kids to meet the cute farm animals at Ambury Regional Park – they might even get to feed the lambs in spring.
You’re never far from the sea in Auckland. Our two coastlines are filled with hundreds of beaches. Ride the waves at the black-sand surf beaches of the rugged west coast, visit the seaside suburbs of Mission Bay, St Heliers and Takapuna close to the city, escape to an idyllic island beach, or head north and discover the golden sands and clear waters of Tāwharanui and Pakiri.
There are lots of free events on in Auckland right throughout the year, from live music and outdoor movies to major cultural events, including the vibrant Pasifika Festival, the Auckland Lantern Festival celebrating Chinese New Year, and Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival, a celebration of our unique Māori culture.
Take your pick from the thousands of walking tracks throughout Auckland, ranging from short and easy trails to challenging hikes. Explore the coastline of the west’s spectacular black-sand beaches, walk through the lush Hunua Ranges in the east, hike through native forest on a Hauraki Gulf island, take a city heritage trail, or discover the diverse landscapes of Auckland’s parks.
The restored Manukau Heads Lighthouse, sitting on the very tip of Awhitu Peninsula, is one of only a few lighthouses in New Zealand you can climb to the top of. Feel the sea spray and enjoy the fantastic views. Gates are open 9am to 5pm daily; admission is free but a small koha (donation) is appreciated.
Get a look at the huge gannet colony at Muriwai Beach, where around 1200 pairs of gannets nest on the rocky clifftops from August to March. There are two viewing platforms so you can get up close, plus you’ll get incredible sweeping views out across the Tasman Sea.
The Domain is one of our most beautiful parks, with a mix of open spaces, formal gardens, stately trees, miniature waterfalls and leafy walks. Ideal for strolling, jogging, picnics and sports, the Domain also has regular free music events. Auckland Museum, perfect for a rainy day, is also free if you live in Auckland.
We’re a city of water lovers, and there are always boats of all shapes and sizes on the Waitemata Harbour. Pick a spot in Wynyard Quarter and watch them sail by; then take a wander and check out the sculptures, scenic boardwalks and a marine-themed play space for the young ones.