23 June 2020 | Written by Lydia Twohill

7 free things to do in Auckland!

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Auckland is well known for being a little on the pricey side and with such an abundance of things to do it’s hard to know where to start – especially when on a budget! Luckily, this thriving metropolis has a fantastic range of free things to do that are sure to please everyone in your group. There’s no reason to be bored in this city just because you’re wanting to save your pennies.

Check out our top 7 free things to do in Auckland – all without spending a cent… 


1. Beach it

free auckland activities

To say the choice is yours would be an understatement when it comes to deciding what beach to visit in Auckland! Being an island nation, NZ is naturally blessed with some of the best beaches and coastlines to be found in the world (at least we think so!).

In Auckland this is ever-so apparent. Why not check out the black sand beaches out west at the likes of Piha, or catch a wave at Muriwai. On the other hand the white sandy shorelines of Takapuna Beach or the Mission Bay are also calling your name.

If you’re after a day trip, the Tawharanui Regional Park offers pristine swimming conditions and a sense of adventure to get there! Wherever you are in this city, you’re never far from the sea. Pack a picnic, some sunblock and park up somewhere stunning for the day. 


2. Visit one of the world’s most impressive Gannet Colonies

auckland gannet colony
Photo credit: anupamhatui

One of the best free things to do in Auckland has to be driving out west to visit the huge Gannet colony at Muriwai Beach. There’s around 1,200 pairs that nest on the rugged cliff tops along the coast from August to March – it’s quite the spectacle! There’s two viewing platforms to ensure you get the diela vantage point to watch the birds, with the added bonus of sweeping views across the Tasman Sea. If you’re lucky you might even spot a seal!


3. Get cultured at Auckland Art Gallery

auckland free art gallery
Photo credit: chameleonseye

Boasting a collection of more than 15,000 works of art from all manners of styles and artists – the Auckland Art Gallery is one quality free attraction in our books.

They’re open free of charge to NZ residents so there’s really no excuse to get a little cultured! It’s a beautiful space to wander around even if you’re not so artsy yourself, we’re sure you’ll feel inspired after perusing the creative talent lining the walls. The exhibitions are ever changing, featuring both national and international arthritis, plus there’s a cafe for some tasty treats and a drop of coffee, sold!


4. Peaceful respite at the Wintergardens

free things to do in auckland
Photo credit: Bob Hilscher

Right next door to the Museum (which is also well worth a visit + it’s free!), is where you’ll find the Wintergardens. Expect to walk into an oasis of lush displays housed in a greenhouse. This is an idyllic spot to take some time out and submerge yourself in nature, all while remaining right in the heart of Auckland City.


5. Climb up the Manukau Heads Lighthouse

best free things to do in auckland
Photo credit: Rex Ellacott

Take a drive out along the breathtaking Awhitu Peninsula and climb the 120 stairs to the top of the Manukau Heads Lighthouse. This is one of only a handful of lighthouses that you can climb right to the top of in NZ. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with phenomenal views as you breathe in the salty sea air. You might even see dolphins playing out and about in the ocean!


6. Explore Silo Park and enjoy the outdoor cinema

free things to do in auckland
Photo credit: Silo Park

Year round this awesome wee spot provides fantastic entertainment – with food trucks, street performers, markets and a very popular water feature to cool off in the summer months for the kids. Come summer time the entertainment gets even better.

You’ll find a rotating selection of movies that are projected onto the silo towers every Friday and/or Saturday night + it’s free! All you need to do is bring something to sit on, a blacket and snacks and enjoy an awesome night of entertainment under the stars.


7. Chase some epic waterfalls

free ideas to do in auckland
Photo credit: chameleonseye

Much like the beaches in Auckland, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to chasing waterfalls too! One of the most popular waterfalls and for good reason, are the Karekare Falls in piha. Better yet, the falls are located only a 30-or-so minute walk from the car park through lush native bush, so you don’t have to work too hard to reap the rewards.


Well, there you have it – 7 epic things to do in Auckland that just so happen to not cost you a cent! We hope you enjoy exploring the city and all it has to offer. Keen to base yourself here for a holiday?

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