There are plenty of incredible things to do in Auckland. Join us as we discuss a variety of choices that will cost you nothing!
Auckland, New Zealand’s sole major metropolis and the country’s positive economic core, is located on the waterfront.
Auckland, dubbed the “City of Sails” and home to approximately 1.7 million people, or roughly half of the country’s total population, sprawls between Manukau Harbour to the west and Waitemata Harbour to the east. The tiny center sector of the city is located directly beside the river.
Most tourists to New Zealand arrive in Auckland and spending a few days seeing the city’s cultural and outdoor attractions should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Indeed, the monuments, museums, and several art galleries in this city are among the best in the country. Exploring the city’s suburban shoreline, known for its beautiful beaches, is another enjoyable activity.
The islands of the Hauraki Gulf are also worth seeing since they offer a taste of New Zealand’s beautiful national park beauty right on the city’s doorstep.
Keep our list of the best tourist sites in Auckland, New Zealand handy for extra sightseeing ideas in this beautiful part of the globe.
1. Auckland City Center Architecture
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is a great place to start.
At first appearance, downtown Auckland appears to be a contemporary metropolis. However, among the modern skyscrapers, history buffs may find numerous outstanding specimens of early architecture.
Built-in 1912, the massive Ferry Building at Princes Wharf, for example, is a magnificent English-Baroque landmark on the port front.
The Chief Post Office, constructed by John Campbell in 1911, is located next to the Ferry Building.
The marble façade of Auckland Town Hall on Queen Street, completed in 1911, is elegant, while St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Wyndham Street, erected in 1848, is one of New Zealand’s first churches.
2. Enjoy The Botanic Gardens
This is a fantastic site to visit if you’re glimpsing for things to do in Auckland. The Auckland Botanic Gardens should also be on your list of free things to do in Auckland.
This lovely garden is in South Auckland (near Totara Park) and is, of course, free to see.
It has a walk with a variety of plants, a library, a café, and a calendar of activities that commemorate the four seasons throughout the year.
It makes a beautiful backdrop for your photography and is a wonderful spot to unwind and appreciate Mother Nature at her best.
3. Auckland Harbour Bridge
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is a terrific place to go.
Auckland Harbour Bridge, which connects downtown Auckland to the northern suburbs and the sandy beaches of the bays further north, is the focal point of the central harbor.
It was finished in 1959 and is moreover one kilometer long and 43 meters high. The bridge also has a lot of entertaining activities to keep you entertained while you’re exploring.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge bungee leap, which involves traveling an exclusive bridge walk before dropping 40 meters into the harbor water below, is one of the top-rated thrills to experience.
4. Waiheke Island
This is a fantastic site to visit if you’re glimpsing for Things to do in Auckland. Waiheke Island is the most popular of Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf islands for visitors.
The island’s settlements are home to art galleries and lively café culture, while the shore is lined with white-sand beaches.
Several pathways stretch along the shoreline and across the island interior for keen walkers and hikers. The Church Bay Circuit is a three-hour trek that exhibits the finest of the island and offers stunning vistas and a hard hike.
Stony Batter Historic Reserve, with its subterranean tunnel system cut out during World War II in case Auckland was attacked, is a must-see for history buffs.
Waiheke Island boats depart regularly from Princes Wharf in central Auckland and take 35-45 minutes.
5. Auckland Zoo
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, Auckland Zoo is an excellent site to visit.
Auckland Zoo, spread out across 40 acres in the Western Springs suburb, provides lots of entertainment for visiting families.
The zoo, which opened in 1922, now has a magnificent part called Te Wao Nui, which focuses on regional plant and animal life.
More than 1,400 animals representing 135 species, including giraffes, meerkats, wallabies, and various monkeys, are housed in themed zones displaying animals from Africa, Australia, and South America.
An after-dark safari, photography workshops, and junior zookeeper programs that take youngsters behind the scenes are among the exciting activities available.
Head to Rainbow’s End if there’s still time in your day for the youngsters to burn off some energy. This entertaining theme park has a section dedicated to smaller children.
6. Auckland War Memorial Museum
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, War Memorial Museum is an excellent site to visit.
The majestic War Tribute Museum, built-in 1929 as a memorial to New Zealand troops who served in World War I, stands on the highest point of Auckland Domain.
It now holds an outstanding collection of items tracing New Zealand’s history from the earliest Polynesian immigrants to the current day and highlighting the country’s natural resources.
The Main Maori Galleries are particularly noteworthy, as they include a variety of artwork, including a beautiful Maori doorway dating from the 12th to the 14th centuries, a richly-decorated Meeting House, and a 25-meter-long canoe, which Maori warriors once paddled into Manukau Harbour.
The natural history collection is housed on the first level, which includes a replica of the country’s famous but now extinct enormous moa birds.
The museum’s top floor is dedicated to war memorials, which tell the story of New Zealand’s role in global warfare throughout its history. There are guided tours available, as well as frequent lectures and seminars.
Auckland Domain is located in Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand.
7. Auckland Art Gallery
The Auckland Art Gallery is the most magnificent cultural venue in the city.
The Auckland art gallery, which is housed in a magnificent French Renaissance-style edifice established in 1887, has New Zealand’s largest art collection, with over 15,000 items on show.
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is a great place to start. The permanent galleries include a diverse collection of artworks, including 14th-century European painting and sculpture.
The primary New Zealand collection, however, deserves special attention. A significant number of works featuring Maori and Pacific Island artists may be seen on the bottom floor.
8. New Zealand Maritime Museum
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is an excellent site to visit.
New Zealanders have long had a strong bond with the sea, and the well-curated New Zealand Maritime Museum examines this bond by providing a thorough overview of the country’s maritime history.
Exhibits include Maori canoes and outrigger boats, whaling equipment, and historic instruments and utensils that illustrate the country’s history from the advent of the first Polynesians.
A gallery dedicated to New Zealand’s contemporary sailing accomplishments includes the yacht in which Sir Peter Blake’s New Zealand crew won America’s Cup in 1995.
Many of the vessels in the collection sail regularly, making a sightseeing excursion even more exciting.
9. Go stargazing on Great Barrier Island
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is a terrific place to go.
With Good Heaven’s dark sky excursions, embark on a fantastic midnight voyage and marvel at the pristine black skies for stargazing.
Only 10 other areas in the world have been declared an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, including the Great Barrier Island.
Hike the Aotea Track, view the unusual animals of Glenfern Sanctuary, or relax on Medlands Beach on Great Barrier Island, which is covered in beautiful native forest.
10. Waitemata Harbour
This is a fantastic site to visit if you’re glimpsing for Things to do in Auckland. Auckland’s most visible natural feature is Waitemata Harbour, which divides the city in two.
Auckland became New Zealand’s capital in 1840 due to this easily accessible canal (the country’s capital is now Wellington, however, Auckland remains the country’s economic powerhouse).
It’s a lovely location to walk about in and offers a range of shopping, eating, and entertainment options.
Exploring Quay Street, which runs parallel to the harbor in the center district and provides access to Princes Wharf and the ferry terminals to the Hauraki Gulf islands, is another great thing to do here.
The Auckland Harbour Bridge also offers a variety of entertaining and unusual experiences.
11. Rangitoto Island
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is an excellent site to visit. Have you ever enjoyed a BBQ on Rangitoto Island while watching the sunset?
Rangitoto, Auckland’s most famous island, is a dormant volcanic cone close off the city’s shore. Take a short boat ride from downtown Auckland to the peak for breathtaking views, or go on a sunset kayak excursion across the harbor.
Rangitoto Island is a dormant volcano that has the world’s biggest pohutukawa forest. Hiking to the peak of the island provides breathtaking views of the Hauraki Gulf.
12. Albert Park
Albert Park, with its beautiful Victorian fountain, diversity of statues, and several flower beds, is the city’s most central green area.
The park is home to a variety of modest and eccentric activities that will satisfy cultural vultures, as well as offer a calm area amid the inner-city rush.
This is a fantastic site to visit if you’re glimpsing for Things to do in Auckland.
The city’s Meteorological Observatory, which is located at the park’s highest point, has been recording Auckland’s weather since 1909.
A floral clock (dating from 1953) marks the park’s Princes Street entry, and the city’s Meteorological Observatory, which is located at the park’s highest point, has been recording Auckland’s weather since 1909.
13. Viaduct Harbour
Viaduct Harbour has been transformed into one of the city’s primary entertainment and eating areas as a result of New Zealand hosting the America’s Cup sailing event.
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is an excellent site to visit. Viaduct Harbour’s active program of events is a tourism appeal, as well as being one of the country’s largest marinas.
The Flower Market here attracts people every Sunday with live music and street food, and local families enjoy frequent free activities during the summer months.
While touring Auckland’s key tourist sites, the bustling waterside cafés and eateries are an excellent location to stop and linger over lunch.
14. Visit the Arataki Visitor Centre
The Arataki Visitor Centre is a good starting point for exploring the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, which has some of Auckland’s greatest hiking.
This is a fantastic site to visit if you’re glimpsing for Things to do in Auckland. Through interactive displays and natural activities, the Visitor Centre does a good job of showcasing local flora and animals.
You’ll discover a range of native plants in and around the center, and you’ll be ready to recognize them on the Waitakere Ranges paths.
Look for kowhai, kauri, and the famous silver ferns. The Arataki Visitor Centre, located in West Auckland, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Christmas.
15. Howick Historical Village
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is a terrific place to go.
Howick Historical Village, which opened in 1980, is a must-see for anybody interested in New Zealand’s colonial past.
This interesting replica of a colonial hamlet comprises 30 actual historic structures that were deconstructed and rebuilt on-site between the mid-and late-nineteenth centuries.
Guided tours, re-enactments, and demonstrations by costumed guides and tradespeople, as well as a lovely garden, are among the highlights.
A wagon ride around the grounds is another enjoyable activity. On-site amenities include a café and gift shop.
16. Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Islands
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is an excellent site to visit. The Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Islands are a beautiful piece of nature right in the heart of Auckland.
Grand Barrier Island is a must-see for nature lovers, with a variety of camping, hiking, mountain biking, and sea kayaking options.
17. Relax with glamping getaways
A Glamping getaway is a fantastic site to visit if you’re seeking things to do in Auckland.
Looking for a family-friendly staycation or a quiet weekend getaway? Castaways Resort, perched on the cliffs above Karioitahi Beach on the Awhitu Peninsula, is the ideal spot for glamping under the stars.
It includes sports such as archery, blokarting, clay bird shooting, and more, as well as spectacular sea views, delicious dinners, a luxury spa, and beauty treatments.
You might also look at luxury cabins and tents on Waiheke Island and the beaches of West Auckland.
18. One Tree Hill
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is an excellent site to visit. The volcanic cone of One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) is the city’s icon for many Aucklanders.
The 182-meter-high hill is located in Cornwall Park, which features several flower gardens and mature trees as well as walking routes.
One Tree Hill is located in the park’s southwest corner, and the slopes contain relics of a Maori Pa, a fortified settlement that was here before the arrival of Europeans.
A lone obelisk stands at the summit of the hill, marking the tomb of Sir John Logan Campbell, who donated this swath of greenery to Auckland for use as a city park.
The steep peak offers fantastic views of the town.
19. East Coast Beaches
East Coast Beaches is a fantastic site to visit if you’re seeking things to do in Auckland.
On summer weekends, the city’s eastern shore is dotted with beautiful forest-rimmed beaches that are popular swimming and sunbathing sites for locals.
However, a short drive outside of the city will take you to even more beautiful beaches.
The gorgeous Maraetai Beach, with its calm waters, is a good swimming destination even for families traveling with little children, while the golden sand of Orewa Beach is a short drive north of Auckland.
20. SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium
If you’re looking for things to do in Auckland, this is an excellent site to visit. It is one of the most famous family attractions in Auckland.
You can get up and personal with life under the sea at Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium. From the tunnel walkways, a succession of massive tanks hosting aquatic life may be seen, including exhibits dedicated to sharks, tropical fish, and stingrays.
Kelly Tarlton’s also has an Antarctic Encounter gallery with a snow-filled penguin cage, emphasizing New Zealand’s close links to the worldwide scientific community in Antarctica.
The aquarium’s Shark Dive and Shark Cage Snorkel experiences cater to adrenaline addicts, with discounts available for online bookings.
Auckland is a city with a huge variety of attractions. Whether you’re searching for excitement, wildlife, or art, New Zealand’s largest metropolis will fascinate you.
Even though some people believe Auckland to be an expensive city, there are a surprising amount of wonderful free activities.
There are lots of possibilities whether you want to stay near the city center or venture out into regional Auckland; none of them will put a strain on your wallet!
Perhaps you prefer spending time in nature and taking advantage of Auckland’s spectacular natural setting?
Would you want a city dose of art or culture? Or are you seeking a cheap method to keep the kids entertained over the weekend or during the school holidays?
Whatever you’re looking for, this list is guaranteed to inspire a few low-cost adventures on your next vacation to Auckland.