City Name
Home » Recent posts » A Budget-Friendly Adventure: Free Things to Do in Auckland

A Budget-Friendly Adventure: Free Things to Do in Auckland

A Budget-Friendly Adventure Free Things to Do in Auckland
We extensively test and research all services we review. Here's why you can trust us.

Auckland is oftentimes considered an expensive city, but there are actually many amazing things you can do for free here.

If you’re an adventurer, you’ll love hiking in the not-so-urbanized part of the city or even climbing the top of a mountain. If you just want to relax, you can enjoy a casual stroll in a garden or have a picnic with your loved ones.

This guide lists several fun things you can do in Auckland for free. Add whichever you like to your itinerary, and have an exciting, budget-friendly adventure here!

Hike Goldie Bush Walkway to the Mokoroa Falls

– From: itsmctate

Trail Map

Starting Point: Either from 6 Constable Road or from the end of Horsman Road

The amazing thing about Auckland is that it’s not entirely urban; beyond the skyscrapers and modern architecture, you can find untouched natural wonders. One such wonder is the Mokoroa Falls, and the way to reach it is by hiking the Goldie Bush Walkway. 

The Goldie Bush Walkway is located between the Waitakere Ranges and Muriwai, and it’s a pretty underrated trail. Hiking here, you’ll come across beautiful nikau-filled bushes and hear native birds singing melodically. 

Connected to this trail is the Mokoroa Stream Track, which should take you to the gorgeous Mokoroa Falls. The sight of the waterfalls with the green forest around you makes all your hiking efforts worth it. 

Pro Tip:
Prepare to get wet when you’re hiking in the Mokoroa Stream Track. Additionally, this track can get a little muddy, so be sure you’re wearing the proper footwear (boots might be preferable for this case). 

Immerse yourself in nature in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park

From: taleihp

Address: 300 Scenic Drive, Nihotupu, Auckland 0604, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—9 am to 5 pm


The Waitākere Ranges is the iconic mountain range in Auckland; it’s important to the Māori people, and it boasts untouched forested areas and a thriving ecosystem. And now, you can visit parts of it thanks to the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park.

Understandably, hiking is the best thing to do here. There are various hiking tracks you can follow, and if you’re up for a challenge, you can try climbing some of the peaks here, such as Te Toiokawharu and Ruaotuwhenua. 

The Kitekite Falls Trail is another one you can’t miss. As the name suggests, the trail brings you to the Kitekite Falls, which is a scenic waterfall that’s about 40 meters high! 

Pro Tip:
Before starting your adventure in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, you should stop by the Arataki Visitor Center first. 

This center has everything you need to know about the park, including the maps of hiking trails and information about the range’s cultural and ecological landscapes. 

Ride your bike on the Pink Cycle Trail

From: visitauckland

Location: Auckland CBD

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Officially called the Nelson Street Cycleway, this path has earned its nickname, “Pink Cycle Trail,” because of its distinguishable hue. Indeed, when you look at the State Highway from above, the cycleway will capture your attention by how pink it is!

This path is intended for pedestrians, but you can also ride your bike here. Biking along this path is strangely relaxing; the sounds of the motorcars on the highway are like a lullaby, and the view of the cityscape in the distance is beautiful. 

It’s even more fun if you’re biking with a group! You can have a friendly biking race (just make sure there are no pedestrians around when you do this).

Pro Tip:
The best time to visit this trail is in the evening. This is because the entire trail lights up, which makes the atmosphere much more relaxing and even romantic.

Enjoy a relaxing stroll on the Auckland Waterfront

Location: Near the New Zealand Maritime Museum

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Located in the heart of the city, the Auckland Waterfront is a wonderful place if you just want a lazy, relaxing time. Strolling here lets you enjoy the sight of the massive boats in the harbor and the cool breeze from the ocean. 

For a memorable time, visit the Waterfront during the late afternoon. This is so that you can catch the sunset in the harbor; the view is absolutely gorgeous, especially with the golden rays reflecting on the water!

Pro Tip:
If you’re hungry, there are many dining options on the Waterfront. Examples include Gochu (if you’re craving Korean cuisine) and Parasol and Swing Company (if you want to drink cocktails on a rooftop bar). 

Swim or sunbathe on the sand in Mission Bay Beach

Address: 72 Tamaki Drive, Mission Bay, Auckland 1071, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Located in the beloved seaside suburb of Mission Bay, Mission Bay Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Auckland. So, if you ever feel the urge to swim in the sea or sunbathe, head to this beach when you can!

The great thing about this beach is that it’s pretty spacious; there’s a lot of space on the golden sand for everyone. Some even bring camp tents to protect themselves from the sun! 

If you’re not swimming in the sea, you can enjoy the view of the boats and ferries passing by the bay. If you have excellent eyesight, you can even spot Rangitoto Island in the distance!

Pro Tip:
If you want to have a table for your snacks, there are a few picnic tables in Selwyn Domain, a small park area behind the beach. This park also has restrooms. 

Surf in Piha Beach

From: piha_boardriders_club

Address: 55 Marine Parade North, Piha 0772, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

If you love surfing, then Piha Beach should be on your itinerary. This beach is noted for its standout waves from the Tasman Sea, which is why it’s one of the most popular surfing spots in all of New Zealand!

Another great thing about Piha Beach is that it’s practically cut off from civilization. All around the beach are high mountains and ancient forests, so when you’re surfing here—or even just relaxing on the shore—you’ll feel like you’re in a different world.

Pro Tips:
If possible, try not to visit during the summer months (December to February) because the beach gets super busy and crowded. Parking can be a problem in Piha Beach. You might have to find a spot in the town and then make your way to the beach on foot. 

Climb Mount Eden

Address: Tahaki Reserve, 250 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden, Auckland 1024, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Number: +6493010101

Auckland boasts 53 volcanoes, and you can climb all of them! If you’re overwhelmed with your options, you can choose Mount Eden as your first destination. 

Mount Eden, or Maungawhau, is made of two overlapping scoria scones that erupted around 28,000 years ago. It has several flat terraces that were once used for defense, and its crater is considered sacred by the Māori, which is why it’s closed to the public.

Though you can’t check out the crater for yourself, Mount Eden is still worth checking out. The greenery is a welcome sight for sore eyes, and once you’re high enough, you can drink in the beautiful view of downtown Auckland!

Pro Tips:
Vehicles aren’t allowed on the main loop road of the mountain, so you need to find a parking space for your car before starting your hike.

Some tracks here are stony and steep, so be sure to wear the proper attire and footwear. You might also want to bring a walking stick to help with your balance.  

Enjoy the gorgeous views from the peak of One Tree Hill

Address: 670 Manukau Road, One Tree Hill, Auckland 1051, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—7 am to 7 pm

Contact Number: +6493010101

Another popular volcano you can hike on is One Tree Hill or Maungakiekie. Just like Mount Eden, One Tree Hill has multiple scoria cones after it erupted about 67,000 years ago, and it’s also a sacred mountain for Māori and Pākehā. 

Even though this mountain isn’t that tall, hiking it is still a challenge because there are several steep parts. That said, once you reach the peak—where the one tree was supposed to be before it was cut down—you’ll be treated to gorgeous views of the city. 

Aside from the beautiful views, you might encounter some animals. In particular, you might come across herds of sheep and cattle!

Pro Tip:
Stardome Observatory is located in One Tree Hill, so if you want to see the stars and planets, you should check out this place. Do keep in mind that the observatory isn’t free. 

Admire the architecture of Holy Trinity Cathedral

Address: Cnr St Stephens Ave & Parnell Rd, Parnell, Auckland 1052, New Zealand

Operating Hours

  • Monday to Thursday—10 am to 3 pm
  • Closed from Friday to Sunday

Contact Number: +6493039500


The Holy Trinity Cathedral is a sacred building for the Anglicans, but it’s also one that will attract architecture lovers because of its eye-catching design. The design is a combination of two architectural styles: neo-Gothic and contemporary. 

The nave is spacious and cavernous, with a lot of glass doors and a timber ceiling. Its windows are particularly striking: they’re all massive and made with stained glass, featuring a Polynesian Christ and vibrantly colored Pacific motifs. 

Outside, you can find the sculpture Mountain Fountain, which features a bronze Cubist volcano with streams of water falling from three sides. It’s an interesting sculpture to look at; who knew volcanoes could look so abstract? 

Pro Tip:
Outside, between St. Mary’s and Parnell Road, is an outdoor labyrinth. It isn’t made up of giant hedges, so you won’t get lost. 

This place is actually pretty serene, making it a perfect resting spot. 

Step back into the past at The Devonport Museum

From: _zietsche_ 

Address: 33 Vauxhall Road, Devonport, Auckland 0624, New Zealand

Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Thursday—10 am to 12 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—2 to 4 pm
  • Closed on Monday and Friday

Contact Number: +6494452661


For history buffs, The Devonport Museum is a must-visit. This museum is dedicated to Devonport, which is one of the earliest European settlements in the 19th century. 

Here, you’ll learn about how the community has changed throughout the years. 

Outside, the museum looks like a humble chapel, but inside, you’ll see various displays depicting the community’s history, including maritime and transport history. In particular, you’ll find photographs and physical records.

There are even geological artifacts displayed here! When you visit this museum, you’ll see the quiet town of Devonport in a whole new light.

Pro Tip:
There’s seating inside the museum, so feel free to spend some time just reading here. If you’re traveling with your family, you can also play board games. 

Celebrate the beauty of art at Auckland Art Gallery

Address: Wellesley Street East, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—10 am to 5 pm

Contact Number: +6493791349


If you’re a big fan of all things art, then you don’t want to miss out on the Auckland Art Gallery! This widely renowned art gallery is usually only free for New Zealanders, but it’s also free for international visitors (until further notice).

The Auckland Art Gallery is home to more than 18,000 art pieces, ranging from historic art to contemporary. Many of the works featured here are by Māori and Pacific artists, so you get to see their unique points of view of the world. 

Aside from all the art displays, the gallery also hosts several temporary exhibitions. These exhibitions are always so interesting (usually discussing topics like modernism and identity), and many are free of charge, so be sure to check one out when you can. 

Pro Tip:
The gallery has a shop that sells interesting products like artistic pins, mini vases, and art prints. If something catches your eye, consider buying it as a gift to yourself. 

Check out contemporary artwork pieces at The Arts House Trust

Address: Pah Homestead 72 Hillsborough Road, Hillsborough, Auckland 1042, New Zealand

Operating Hours

  • Tuesday to Friday—9 am to 3 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday—8 am to 5 pm
  • Closed on Monday

Contact Number: +6496392010


Another place you can visit if you’re an art lover is The Arts House Trust. It’s located inside the Pah Homestead, which is a historic home in the suburb of Hillsborough. 

This gallery houses more than 7,000 works by New Zealand artists, and these works come in a wide range of forms. Many are paintings, but you can also find unique sculptures and art installations. 

There are also exhibits happening every month. Usually, these exhibits feature the artists themselves, so if you want to gain insight into the artistic process, you should attend one when you can.

Pro Tip:If you’re hungry, there’s an on-site cafe that sells all sorts of pastries, such as cookies and cakes. 

Watch a movie in Silo Park

Address: Corner Beaumont Street and Jellicoe, Jellicoe Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours


If you’re visiting during the summer, then make sure to include Silo Park in your itinerary. This is because every summer night, the park actually holds Silo Cinema, a program that lets you watch a movie in the open park at night! 

Silo Cinema is the perfect activity for couples, families, and groups. You can simply bring a blanket to sit on and maybe a couple of snacks and then enjoy the movie. 

Aside from movie screenings, there are other activities available in Silo Park. For example, there are live performances by musicians, drawing or painting sessions, and fun games. 

Pro Tip:If you’re not able to bring your own snacks, there are stalls in the park that sell food. 

Say hi to the animals of Ambury Farm

From: amburycows

Address: Māngere Bridge, Auckland 2022, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—6 am to 9 pm


Animal lovers will take delight in Ambury Farm or Ambury Regional Park. It’s located along the coast of the Manukau Harbor, and it’s home to a wide variety of farm animals, especially cows and sheep. 

It’s really adorable seeing all these animals roaming around freely. Plus, you’ll be in a serene environment, and you can pretend to be a farmer walking around your very own meadow. 

Aside from farm animals, this park is home to shorebirds. So, if you’re an avian enthusiast, be on the lookout for them.

Pro Tip:
This farm has a room that you can rent for your events. This venue is about the size of a classroom, so it can cater up to 30 people. 

For more information, send an email to [email protected]

Check out wildlife and play sports in Western Springs Park

From: feel_fly_travel

Address: 731 Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland 1022, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Number: +6493010101


Western Springs Park is another tranquil location that you should go to if you love animals, especially birds. In particular, you’ll come across ducks, swans, pūkeko (Australasian swamphen), and geese! 

Aside from checking out the wildlife, you can enjoy a nice picnic. You can lay down a blanket by the lake or find a picnic table somewhere around the park; if you’re running out of drinking water, there are several drinking fountains here. 

If you do have a picnic here, just keep in mind not to feed the birds any unsuitable food (e.g. bread). This is because doing so can cause the size of the bird population to increase, thus leading to overcrowding and aggressive behavior toward each other.

Pro Tip:
If you’re driving to the park, you can park your car at the entrance of the zoo off Motions Road or the parking lot on Stadium Road. 

Escape to the Auckland Domain

Address: Park Road, Parnell, Auckland 1010, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Number: +6493010101


Auckland Domain or Pukekawa is the oldest park in the city; it’s also one of the largest with an area of 75 hectares. This park is what remains of the ancient volcano Pukekawa, which is why you can find “rings” on the ground by the sports fields. 

Because of its size, you can do many fun things here. For example, you can go hiking around the park, enjoy a picnic on the grassy field, or even play football or any other sports with your friends; if you love flowers, the winter gardens are a must-visit.

Things become even more exciting at night because this is when glowworms appear. Some people have made it a hobby to look for glowworms in the park; if you’ve never seen one before, you might want to join them in their search as well.  

Pro Tips:
This park is pet-friendly, but if you are bringing your dogs, you should have them on a leash. If you’re thirsty and you don’t have a water bottle with you, there’s a drinking fountain on Garden Road by the Watson Bequest historic gardens. 

See the remains of a military fort at North Head Historic Reserve

Address: 18 Takarunga Road, Devonport, Auckland 0624, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—6 am to 10 pm

Contact Number: +6493796476


North Head or Maungauika is another volcano in Auckland. It’s considered an ancestral mountain, and at some point in history, it housed a military fort that defended the coast. 

The remains of the fort are still here, and you can see them for free. 

Well-preserved canons and guns are scattered throughout the ground, but the more interesting relics are the old bunkers and tunnels. If you’re a big fan of ghost stories, you might find the tunnels to be creepy, like the ones in the stories you’ve read. 

While you’re here on top of the mountain, you might as well enjoy the sweeping views of the harbor and the Hauraki Gulf. 

Pro Tip:
There’s a beach called The Cove near the historic reserve. It’s pretty small, but it’s empty almost all the time, making it a perfect retreat if you want peace and quiet. 

Splash around in Potters Park

Address: 173 Balmoral Road, Mount Eden, Auckland 1024, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

Contact Number: +6493010101


Summer in Auckland is generally a pleasant time, but some days, it can get really hot and humid. If you happen to stay in Auckland when the day is super hot, then you might want to go to Potters Park to cool down. 

Potters Park features the first-ever water splash pad in the city. This means that this park has a playground with lots of fountains, shows, and other water play areas; children are mostly the ones playing here, but adults are welcome to join in the fun too!

Once you’re done playing around in the splash pad and you’ve changed to dry clothes, you can explore the park. In particular, you might want to check out the various protected trees, such as radiata pine and phoenix palms.  

Pro Tip:
If you want to have a picnic with your loved ones, there are plenty of tables in the park. 

Wander in Cornwall Park

Address: Green Lane West, Epsom, Auckland 1051, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—7 am to 9 pm

Contact Number: +6496308485


Located near One Tree Hill, Cornwall Park is one of the most popular parks in Auckland. It has a rich history (its history dates back more than 67,000 years!) and is pretty big (it has an area of 172 hectares); Auckland’s heritage, agriculture, and wildlife merge here. 

Because of this, there are a lot of fun things to do. Going on a picnic is the most popular activity because of the sprawling land and BBQ areas, but you can also check out the farm (there are over 600 sheep and 60 cows here!) or hike the trails. 

There are also several heritage sites in the park. A few examples include the Campbell statue and fountain and the obelisk that stands imposingly in the distance. 

Pro Tips:
If you want to learn more about the park’s history, you should head to the Huia Lodge Discovery Hub. It’s a house built in the early 1990s, and it has guides and displays that tell you everything you need to know about the park. You can also purchase souvenirs in the discovery hub. All proceeds will be used to maintain the park. 

See beautiful flowers in the Auckland Botanic Gardens

Address: 102 Hill Road, The Gardens, Auckland 2105, New Zealand

Operating Hours: Monday to Sunday—8 am to 8 pm

Contact Number: +6492671457


If you’re passionate about botany and horticulture, then you’ll want to stop by the Auckland Botanic Gardens, one of the city’s most popular attractions. In fact, this park attracts over one million visitors every year!

The Auckland Botanic Gardens boasts a land of 64 hectares, 10 of which are devoted to the Native Forest alone. The main goal is education, which is why this park has various landscapes of plants and flowers from the South Pacific region and other countries. 

When you’re in the Gardens, the Native Forest should be first on your must-visit list. The Perennial Garden is also a beautiful place to visit, with all the beautiful flowers and butterflies; if you’re with children, they might love the Potter Children’s Garden. 

Pro Tip:
Sometimes, the Gardens hosts art exhibitions and gardening workshops. If you’re interested in these types of events, do try to attend at least one. 

Check out this page for more information. 

Experience the local culture in an Auckland Night Market


  • Kelston under Countdown
  • Mt. Wellington under Countdown
  • Botany Town Center under Hoyts
  • Henderson under Kmart
  • Papatoetoe under Kmart
  • Pakuranga under The Warehouse
  • Silverdale Center under the warehouse
  • Silo Park

Operating Hours:

  • Kelston under Countdown—Monday, 5 to 11 pm
  • Mt. Wellington under Countdown—Tuesday, 5 to 11 pm
  • Botany Town Center under Hoyts—Wednesday, 5 to 11 pm
  • Henderson under Kmart—Thursday, 5 to 11 pm
  • Papatoetoe under Kmart—Friday, 5 to 11 pm
  • Pakuranga under The Warehouse—Saturday, 5 to 11 pm
  • Silverdale Center under the warehouse—Sunday, 5 to 11 pm
  • Silo Park—Sunday, 4 to 11 pm


Ask anyone, and they will tell you that one of the best ways to immerse yourself to the local culture is by attending the area’s night market. Luckily, Auckland does host a night market, and to make things better, it has a lot of locations within the city! 

The Auckland Night Markets are a celebration of cultural diversity. They’re always filled with captivating performances (dances and live music) by the different ethnic groups residing in Auckland, including the native people.

And, of course, the food—the night markets are nothing without the food. There are various stalls selling all kinds of dishes—from local street foods to Western delights—so you’ll really be tempted to spend money and taste as many as you can! 

Pro Tip:
The markets also have stalls selling unique treasures and trinkets, such as houseware, artwork pieces, and jewelry. This is the perfect opportunity to purchase a souvenir for yourself and your loved ones back home. 

Watch the Vector Lights Show on Auckland Harbor Bridge

Where to Watch: Westhaven Marina, Silo Park, the end of Halsey Warf, the end of Princes Wharf, the end of Queens Wharf, Little Shoal Bay, Hinemia Park, Mount Eden, Bayswater Marina, Mount Victoria

Timings: Certain occasions (e.g., holidays), 9 pm to 12 am, every 15 minutes


If you’re visiting Auckland during certain occasions (for example, holidays like Christmas and Chinese New Year or other celebrations like Pride Month), then you should keep your eye out on the Auckland Harbor Bridge because it will host a light show. 

This light show is sponsored by Vector Lights, and every performance is different from the last. Additionally, this show is powered by a combination of solar, battery, and peer-to-peer systems, so it’s also a product of an innovative smart energy technology.

The best thing about this light show is that you don’t have to be on the bridge to see it. In fact, you can spot the light show from different locations, including Silo Park, Queens Wharf, and Mount Eden. 

Pro Tip:
If you’re watching the light show from far away, you can listen to the music via the website. There, you can find a link to the live audio.