Top 9 Free Things to do in Auckland, New Zealand

Top 9 Free Things to do in Auckland, New Zealand was contributed by travel blogger Nadine Maffre of Le Long Weekend.

Dubbed “the city of sails”, there is no doubt that Auckland is the perfect place for lovers of all things nautical. But it’s not only ‘boaties’ who’ll enjoy sampling the best of what Auckland has to offer. This vibrant city in the north island of New Zealand has something for everyone – and all budgets. Check out my top nine free things to do in Auckland.

Unleash Your Artistic Side

free things to do in Auclland - Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, photo: David St George courtesy Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, photo/ David St George courtesy Auckland Art Gallery

The centrally located Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki offers New Zealand’s largest visual arts experience. The gallery,, founded in 1888, houses collections of New Zealand and international art that runs from historic to contemporary art as well as awe-inspiring and inspirational art exhibitions. The gallery is open every day from 10am-5pm and free of charge.

Stretch your legs

free things to do in Auckland - free things to do in Auckland- Explore Auckland on foot on your own or take a free walking tour, photo Le Long Weekend

Explore Auckland on foot on your own or take a free walking tour, photo /Le Long Weekend

There’s no better place than Auckland to ditch the car and hit the hiking trails. From tramping through the dramatic landscapes of Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges to walking the 16km long coast to coast trail, there are inspiring walks to suit every age and ability. Thanks to Auckland Free Walking Tours those wanting to explore the city can take part in a free walking tour of the city. The tours depart from Queens Wharf Village daily at 10am and take in some of Auckland’s most famous sights. Tours last approx 2.5 – 3hrs.

Delve into Devonport

free things to do in Auckland - The tree-lined waterfront at Deveonport. photo Le Long Weelend

The tree-lined waterfront at Deveonport. photo/Le Long Weelend

The historic seaside village of Devonport is one of the most picturesque places to take a stroll in Auckland. Wander down the main street and window shop at the quaint boutiques then walk up North Head for a breathtaking view over the harbor. Take time to stroll along the tree-lined waterfront and dig your toes into the warm white sand at one of many beautiful beaches. It’s a short 13km drive from Auckland City Center, or if you want a more scenic route take the ferry.

Perfect Perennials at Parnell Rose Garden

free things to do in Auckland - Yellow roses at the Parnell Rose Garden, photo Le Long Weekend

Yellow roses at the Parnell Rose Garden, photo/Le Long Weekend

The sweetly scented Parnell Rose Gardens, in one of Auckland’s most affluent suburbs, are home to an impressive array of flowers including, most notably, a stunning and diverse selection of roses. The perfect place for a relaxed picnic or a Sunday stroll, the gardens also play host to the free Parnell Festival of Roses every November. Besides enjoying the flowers, enjoy live music and the market stalls for shopping.

Wing it in Wynyard Quarter

free things to do in Auckland - Wynyard the new waterfront development offers great people-watching photo Le Long Weekend

Wynyard the new waterfront development offers great people-watching, photo/Le Long Weekend

Wynyard quarter is Auckland’s newest waterfront development and a great place to sit back, soak up the buzzing atmosphere and partake in people watching. Kids will love the maritime-themed play space. In summer you can enjoy the markets, food trucks and free movie nights at the outdoor Silo Cinema.

Epic Events and Markets

free things to do in Auckland - free event in Auckland, Photo by Megan Milmine

The Chinese Lantern Festival is an annual free event in Auckland, photo/Megan Milmine

As the saying goes, “The show never stops in Auckland”. Free events take place throughout the year and range from markets, family Christmas celebrations, free live music concerts, to cultural festivals like the Chinese Lantern Festival and Pasifika Festival. To see what’s happening during your visit, check out the Eventfinda website and search by “Auckland” and “free”.

There are many regular markets throughout Auckland ranging from country farmers’ markets to bustling inner-city ones. In summer, take a trip to the Silo markets to pick up local arts and crafts or vintage clothing while sampling street food and being entertained by musicians and street performers. Be sure to sample the authentic French fare on offer at La Cigale French Market, held on Saturday and Sunday mornings in Parnell.

Hit the Beach

free things to do in Auckland - Cheltenham Beach in Devonport photo Le Free Weekend

Cheltenham Beach in Devonport photo/Le Free Weekend

With over 3,700km of coastline, it comes as no surprise that there are many spectacular beaches in Auckland. Choose from the golden sand shores in the east or wild and rugged black sand beaches in the west. My favorites include Mission Bay (close to the city) for family fun, Bethells (West Auckland) for untamed beauty, Takapuna (North Shore) for its trendy vibe, Cheltenham (Devonport) for chilled afternoons, Piha (West Auckland) for surfing and scenery and Long Bay (North Shore) for wild water sports.

Head for the Hills

free things to do in Auckland - There are breathtaking views of the city from Mount Eden, photo Le Long Weekend

There are breathtaking views of the city from Mount Eden, photo/Le Long Weekend

Dormant volcanoes dot Auckland’s landscape and provide fantastic viewing platforms. Climb Mount Victoria for captivating views over the North Shore and Hauraki Gulf towards Rangitoto Island. Walk up Mt Eden (Auckland’s largest volcano) to see the impressive craters and breathtaking views of the city center. Hike to the top of One Tree Hill where you’ll find a memorial to Māori alongside the grave of Auckland’s founding father.

Mountain Biking Madness

free things to do in Auckland - While biking through the Waitakere Ranges you may spot this in the bush, photo Le Long Weekend

While biking through the Waitakere Ranges you may spot this in the bush, photo/Le Long Weekend

Auckland is a mecca for mountain biking enthusiasts. From scenic beginner tracks to harrowing bike trails for the experienced rider, there’s something for all levels; many are completely free of charge. Head for the Beveridge trail in West Auckland for a gentle ride through native bush in the Waitakere Ranges, or go south to the Hunua trails where you’ll find tracks of varying lengths and grades – including expert downhill sprints!

With so many free things to do in Auckland, New Zealand, you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy the best of what the city has to offer. Strap on some shoes, grab a mate and as we say in New Zealand “get amongst it!”

What are your favorite free things to do in Auckland?

Nadine Maffre is a Kiwi who spent 10 years living in & loving Auckland. She currently resides in France with her husband, young son and two golden retrievers. Her blog Le Long Weekend delivers inspiration for unique experiences around France and beyond. She loves finding hidden treasures in her own backyard and making the most of long weekends. Be sure to follow her adventure on Facebook and Instagram.

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