Top cheap things to do in Auckland
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Most cities over the world are expensive to visit or live in and Auckland is definitely no exception! After two years of living on a very tight budget, it is ingrained in us to seek out the free or cheap activities. So if you're visiting Auckland as a tourist, or want to find something to do as a local and not spend an arm and a leg, we've covered our top cheap things to do here that will get you outdoors and gazing upon the best views the city has to offer!
Probably the best place to watch the sunrise or sunset, with phenomenal 360 degree views of the entire city and harbour! The Mt Eden walk is a gentle climb that will take less than 30 minutes to reach the top. Mount Eden can be seen from all around Auckland as it's the highest volcano in in the City. The last eruption was about 15,000 years ago, leaving a crater 50 metres deep.
There's no cost in entering the park, just the cost of transport to visit. To get to Mt Eden summit you can take a train or bus to the town of Mt Eden and take the short walk up to the park. Follow the path around to the top, there you'll have lots of different viewpoints to choose from.
One Tree Hill & Cornwall Park
Located in Greenlane, you can easily spend a few hours exploring Cornwall park, home to dozens of placid sheep and One Tree Hill. Take a picnic and laze around under the many trees, before or after a short climb up to One Tree Hill. The summit area was once home to one of the largest Maori settlement structures in New Zealand and included three pa (hillfort) sites. You'll find lots of history to read at the summit monument, as well as take in the panoramic views of the city!
There's not cost in entering the park, just the cost of transport to visit. To get to Cornwall Park from the CBD/Britomart you can get the train to Greenlane station and walk around 1km along the main road until you reach the park. The best bus to catch would be one to Epsom, which is then a short walk into the park itself.
Mission Bay & St Heliers
If you're a beach lover, you don't have to go very far when you're in Auckland. The closest beach to the city is over in Mission Bay or at St Heliers (if you would like a quieter beach). The sea in the bay is very calm and looks out onto Rangitoto island and surrounding bays - picture perfect! After a stroll along the beach or tiresome sunbathing session you can head over to one of the many beach cafe's or bars for a treat!
To get to Mission Bay you can take a bus from the CBD/Britomart which will take no longer than 20 minutes! Make sure you grab a seat on the left hand side of the bus so you can enjoy the views of the harbour along the way!
Viaduct & Auckland Fish Market
If you're in the city and want to escape the high-rise buildings, head over to the Viaduct and harbour. There are lots of flash boats to walk by and see how the other half live! If you take a packed lunch head over to the harbour front pop up library, grab a book and enjoy. If you fancy yourself a meal out and want to spend less, head to Auckland Fish Market on Jellicoe Street where they serve the freshest fish in Auckland. Over the past few years the fish market has been developed into more of an eatery & bar and less of a market, however it's got a great atmosphere and you really can't get fresher food in the city!
If you're up for an adventure and enjoy hiking and trail walking then Rangitoto is the place go to! Rangitoto is the youngest and largest of Auckland's 48 volcanic cones, also home to the world's largest pohutukawa forest.
Catch a ferry to Rangitoto from Queens Wharf in Britomart, costing $32 return and it'll take you over to the dormant volcanic island in just 20 minutes. Follow the trails and boards up to the summit in 45 minutes (or so). You'll be welcomed by a pleasant (and well needed) breeze, as well as stunning views of the North Shore, Auckland City and all of the bays. You can walk the crater rim and even visit the lava caves too. If you have enough time you can also walk over to the neighbouring island Motutapu, to explore (something we are yet to do).
Make sure you check the ferry times as the last one is usually around 5pm and you don't want to have a long swim back to the City!
Visit the Domain Wintergardens
If you enjoy the outdoors and plants like us, you'll find a little slice of heaven at the Domain Wintergardens in New Market! The brightly flooded botanical gardens are filled with an abundance of seasonal plants, flowers and a beautiful lily and lotus pond connecting the two large greenhouses!
The gardens are free to enter, to get to the Wintergardens head over to the closest towns New Market or Parnell by bus or train and it's just a short walk from either of these towns!
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