Planning a trip to Auckland, New Zealand on a budget? Find out the best free things to do in Auckland with your family. Scroll down for all the info!
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It’s no secret that it will cost you a small fortune to travel to destinations across the globe. That can take away from the total enjoyment and experience of a trip once your wallet runs dry.
One way to save money in New Zealand is to find cheap places to eat in Auckland (that are still delicious!) That gives you a bit more wiggle room in your wallet for other activities.
While the city of Auckland certainly has many amazing things to do that can cost you an arm and a leg, there are also neat things to do that won’t cost you a nickel. That way, you can save money for fun stuff like New Zealand souvenirs!
Whether you are heading to New Zealand for a few days or a few weeks, there are tons of activities you can add to your New Zealand itinerary.
The good news, we already have a number of them picked out for you. Check out these 13 free things that you can do in Auckland when you’re planning your visit.
Don’t have time to read a bunch of New Zealand blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Auckland with kids
Popular Auckland Tours/Activities
- Odyssey Sensory Maze (this is a skip-the-line ticket)
- Auckland Museum (this is a skip-the-line ticket)
- Piha Beach and Rainforest Tour (this is a great city break)
- Day Trip to Hobbiton (MUST-DO for any Lord of the Rings fans)
- Auckland family photo shoot (there are affordable ones on Flytographer)
Kid-Friendly Auckland Hotels
13 Amazing and Free Things to do in Auckland New Zealand
1. West Coast Beaches
The beaches that are surrounded in rugged terrain on the west coast of Auckland are absolutely gorgeous. You may even notice a few of the beaches have black sand, thanks to volcanic minerals that were left behind.
Building a black sandcastle or pulling up a beach towel along the ocean’s edge is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon. The waves are great for surfing, along with winds and great views for parasailing.
What’s really awesome is that the beaches are a short drive from Auckland, making them easy to do as a half-day trip. Piha Beach, Muriwai, and Bethells Beach are just to name a few beauties for you to check out.
You don’t want to miss out on the Auckland Art Gallery, which has over 15,000 distinguished works of art. You will find a huge selection of international art and several rotating art displays to see.
Not only are there paintings, but also wood carvings and other unique sculptures. It’s actually the largest art collection in New Zealand.
The best part about the admission is that it’s free for New Zealand residents and kids 12 and younger.
It’s $20 for adults who are not New Zealand residents.
The Auckland Museum is one of the most important museums in New Zealand, which holds a lot of natural history, as well as military history. Come explore the treasures and artifacts left behind by early Oceania and New Zealand Natives.
Paenga Hira War Memorial is an exhibit that will allow you to experience what the men and women had to go through during WWII. You will also find many hands-on exhibits that are perfect for children through interactive learning.
Again, this great opportunity is free if you’re a resident of Auckland. Otherwise, it’s $25 for adults, $10 for children, or $60 per family. Buy discounted Auckland Museum tickets.
Another free museum that’s worth the visit, is the New Zealand Maritime Museum.
Here you will learn of several early voyages that came through New Zealand and how it impacted the area. You’ll even have the opportunity to see what conditions were like aboard an old sea ship.
There’s also a daily cannon fire demonstration that takes place at noon, or you can even set sail on an hour-long cruise aboard the Ted Ashby.
Taking a stroll through the Auckland Botanic Gardens will alert all your senses.
There’s a number of different gardens with all kinds of species of plants and flowers. They even have an edible garden and an elaborate daffodil garden to see in the spring.
One of the coolest features is their Potter Children’s Garden, which is full of hands-on experiences that teach kids about the Polynesian demi-god Maui, native wood pigeons (kereru), and features a replica desert, bog, jungle, and meadow!
6. Climb a Volcano
Did you know that the city of Auckland alone has as many as 53 volcanoes? That’s crazy! The best part is, you can explore and hike up a number of them.
If you only have time for one, we recommend you take a stroll up the Rangitoto, the most iconic volcano island in Auckland. The Summit Climb is the most popular hike on the island.
7. Visit Parry Kauri Park
Parry Kauri Park isn’t just your typical park. It’s a reserve that’s loaded with lush green native trees and swarms of birds and other wildlife.
There’s a boardwalk that will take you on a 20-30 minute walk through the rainforest and even an impressive 800-year-old Kauri tree to visit.
8. Auckland Hiking
You can’t truly experience the beauty of the Auckland area unless you get out in it. What better way than by hiking some of the best trails that Auckland has to offer?
As we mentioned earlier, the Rangitoto Summit Track is a popular one. We would also encourage you to check out the Whatipu Caves Track and the Whatipu Coast Walk, both offering completely different experiences.
9. Pink Cycle Trail
If you are a cycling enthusiast, you won’t want to miss the famous Pink Cycle Trail in Auckland.
Originally designed as a way to get from downtown Auckland to the beach, the Nelson Street Cycleway (also called the light path) is neon pink, making it stand out against the cityscape. The pathway is also lined with 300 LED lights that change throughout the day.
It’s basically a public art installation that is pretty useful.
Sign up for a unique electric bike tour of Auckland
10. Summer Movies in Silo Park
Silo Park presents a free movie night on Fridays during the summer. Several newer blockbuster hits, as well as several classics, will play on the side of an actual silo.
Make sure you get there just before the sun goes down, as the show will start right at 9 p.m.
Are there any tea lover’s in your family? T2 Tea on Queen Street offers several samples that just might wet your whistle.
Originally started in Melbourne, Australia, T2 Tea has expanded all over the world, including Auckland. They offer tons of loose-leaf and bagged teas in flavors like Fruitalicous, Melbourne Breakfast Tea, French Earl Grey, and more.
Although the tasting is free, we can’t promise that you won’t be tempted to buy a tin of it.
12. Visit Karekare Falls
One landscape you won’t want to pass up is the beautiful Karekare Falls, that’s surrounded by a tropical forest.
The good news for some, there’s no difficult trail to get to it. It’s literally just a few steps from your vehicle. Some visitors even choose to swim in the pool below it.
The best time to visit Karekare Falls is right after rainfall.
13. Visit The Domain In Auckland
One of the last things we’d encourage you to check out is the Domain in Auckland.
On the grounds, you will come across the remains of the Pukekawa volcano, while the green area is Auckland’s oldest park. It’s also home to a Wintergardens that has several rare and tropical plants.