New Zealand – Free And Cheap Things To Do In Auckland

By Jade Johnston

Free And Cheap Things To Do In Auckland

No matter where you are coming from in the world, there is a very good chance that your first port of call on your New Zealand holidays will likely be in Auckland. Auckland sometimes gets some bad press among travellers to New Zealand. And I do understand that, as many travellers to New Zealand have come not for the cities, but for the great activities out in nature that are available. However, Auckland should not be completely overlooked.

You will likely have to visit Auckland in order to fly in or out of New Zealand, so why not experience some of New Zealand’s largest city by checking out some of these free and cheap activities.

1) Visit The Auckland Museum

Maori exhibit at the Auckland Museum – CC James F Clay

The Auckland Museum and War Memorial is your one stop culture stop in Auckland. The Auckland Museum is New Zealand’s oldest museum, and is famous for its extensive Maori and Pacific island collections.

The Auckland Museum is free for Aucklanders (and even those of you are temporarily living in Auckland with proof of address), and by donation for non-Aucklanders.

If you are planning to do the Coast to Coast walkway (see bullet point 4), then your walk will take you right past the Auckland Museum. Why not plan a visit into your walk itinerary, and maybe grab a drink or some lunch at their cafe?

2) Climb Mount Eden

Mount Eden is the name of an dormant volcano which rises out of the Auckland inner suburbs. Mount Eden is situated about 5 kilometers from the city center, and it is possible to walk to.

Walking up Mount Eden is a fairly easy walk, and at the top you will be rewarded by great views over the city of Auckland and out to the harbour. Also, at the top of Mount Eden you can also view the large crater that was created when it last erupted 28,000 years ago.

Mount Eden is also one of the stops on the coast to coast walkway (see bullet point 4).

3) Sun Bath On Mission Bay

Jade at Mission Bay

Mission Bay is known as one of the best beaches in Auckland city to go and catch a tan. To get there is only a short bus ride from the city centre, and once you arrive you will be greeted with sand between your toes, plenty of sun, and some great cafe’s and ice cream parlours just ready to do some business with you.

If you are looking to do some relaxing after your adventure packed New Zealand holiday, then Mission Bay is just the place.

4) Hike The Coast To Coast Walkway

The Coast to Coast Walkway is a 16 kilometre walk from the Viaduct in Auckland’s harbour to Manakau harbour on the south side of the city. The walk takes roughly 4 – 6 hours depending on how many stops you make along the way, and it is recommended to walk one way and then bus back to the city.

The walk will take you past the Auckland harbour and wharf, through to the university and the Auckland museum, and then to Mount Eden and eventually to Manakau harbour on the south side. You can pick up a brochure and a map from the Auckland Visitors Centre which is located at the Viaduct (the walk’s starting point).

5) People Watch From A Cafe On K Road

cc salman.javad

K Road used to be famous as the place where all the seedy activities in Auckland took place. It was the home of Auckland’s first strip clubs, and used to attract all sorts of interesting characters. Now a days, K road is a lot more tame, but it still does attract an electric crowd of people.

K Road is home to many of Auckland’s cute little vintage and second hand stores. It also houses several little shopping arcades which are home to many interesting shops – from stores selling collectables, to Asian supermarkets. K road is also home to many bars and music venues which keep the street busy at all hours of the evening.

K Road is the place where you can sit back with a latte and watch all sorts of people pass – from business people on their way to work on Queen street, to hipsters, to drag queens. One of our favourite K Road cafes is Revels, located at the corner of K Road and Queen street.

Looking For More Things To Do In Auckland?

Have you got a little more time, and the ability to go a little further afield in Auckland? Then check out our article of 5 more things to do in the Auckland region….


  1. says

    Great tips, Jade! I definitely didn’t give Auckland enough of a chance. I was there for a jetlagged day in 2005 where my friends and I couldn’t really find anything that set the city apart. I think our main problem was that we’d built up NZ so much in our heads and Auckland wasn’t anything like that ideal vision (although the rest of the country was). On my next trip, I arrived at about 2am and left at 8am so I saw the inside of my hostel and the Sky City bus station.

    I need to go back and do the Bay of Islands/Coromandel/other places in the North Island that I missed, so maybe I’ll try out a few of these tips in Auckland while I’m there!

    • says

      Auckland can be a lot of fun but you need to have patience with it, and understand that it is nothing like the rest of the places you will be travelling in NZ. For those who just come to NZ for nature tourism, it is totally understandable that they dont like Auckland. I never planned to live in Auckland but when I moved to NZ I had less than $300 to my name, so it sort of happened by necessity. But I actually had a great time there. They have a very active couch surfing community in Auckland, with loads of events, so if you have a chance to join one I definitely recommend it

  2. Brian says

    If you’re looking for something really cheap to do midweek, all films at Academy Cinemas are only $5 on a Wednesday. And the library upstairs as free wifi 24/7 so you can always hang up there before and after.

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