Top ten free things to enjoy in Auckland City at any time

Thursday, 8 October 2015 by Mark Sandiford

At Kiwi International Hotel we are all about enjoying life in the simplest and easiest of ways. For us, that translates into freedom and what comes with freedom is a focus on what life can offer you that is free of strings or more importantly free of cost.

With that in mind we have come up with a list of the top 10 free things to do in Auckland city. Auckland has an amazing array of natural and man-made resources that include sparkling waters, iconic volcanoes, beautiful beaches, rich cultural history and compelling city streets - all free, ready and waiting to be explored.

  1.    Take a walk in the park

_albert _park _tree

Part of Auckland's natural cityscape beauty is it's abundance of trees and street lined foliage. Adding to this injection of flora are the city's many, lush and plentiful parks. Breathe in the fresh air and admire the seasonal change as you take a leisurely walk through one of Auckland's many picturesque parks.

Cornwall Park is magnificent with it's ancient oak tress and wandering farm animals, or visit the Auckland Museum, or simply stop for a picnic at the  Auckland Domain. Stroll in an inner-city park like  Albert Park, Victoria Park or Myers Park, conveniently located across the road from Kiwi international Hotel

2.    Climb a volcano

_view _from _mt _eden

Auckland's 48 volcanic cones provide not only a unique landscape, but give lucky visitors some truly spectacular views. You can spot many of Auckland's volcanoes by their distinctive green pastures, the ideal grounds for a picnic or leisurely stroll.

Our pick as best of the bunch has to be Mt Eden, pack a lunch, take a drink, put on comfortable shoes and don't forget your camera. At 196 metres high, Mount Eden (or Maungawhau) is the highest of the Auckland volcanoes and delivers amazing and expansive views of the city. Drive or climb up to the summit, soak in the views and simply enjoy.

3.    Take in some art and culture

_haunt _one

The Auckland Art Gallery (with free entry) is home to world-class classical and contemporary art. Free guided tours are available daily, offering visitors a fantastic introduction to the gallery's collections. After a massive renovation, the gallery building is now of world class standard, and if you are looking for something more intimate and immediate, the city has a thriving wider arts community and many galleries dotted around the city, filled with art and awaiting your appreciation.

4.    Join the fun - free current events

_view _of _sky _tower _and _queen _st

There's always something happening in Auckland, at different parts of the city and at different times of the year. Whether its live music, outdoor movies or major cultural events; checking out what's on is always worth the time.

October is the month of the Diwali Festival of Lights at Aotea Square. This Indian festival symbolises the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil and the renewal of life. Take in the food stalls and enjoy an authentic dose of Indian cuisine, see traditional and contemporary dance plus music and don't miss the grand finale fireworks display.

5.    Watch the sails - take in the viaduct and Wynyard quarter

_viaduct _harbour

Indulge in some wishful thinking and dream of life aboard one of the many luxury yachts moored at the Viaduct or the wider Auckland harbour. It's full of boats of all shapes and sizes and a great spot to watch and contemplate life on the ocean waves.

While you're down there you can also enjoy a section of the city (Wynyard Quarter) that embraces outdoor art with installations and sculptures, boardwalks and a marine-themed playspace.

6.    Beach, surf and sand

Rangitoto _from _afar

From the wild west coast to sheltered bays, there are thousands of beaches throughout the greater Auckland region with the likes of well known surf spots of Piha, Bethells and Muriwai.

Closer to the city Takapuna Beach with its sandy shores and sheltered bay is an easy commute across the harbour bridge or take the ferry and head to Devonport, climb the Devonport Heads and find a hidden cove of beach access. Or stay city-side and venture a few kilometres away to Pt Chevalier, with a long span of coastline you can always find a secluded spot. Wait for the tide to head out and walk along the shoreline for a unique and hidden view of one of Auckland's much loved suburbs.

7.    people watching at its best

Caluzzi bar and cabaret

Any time of day is the perfect time to head to  Viaduct HarbourWynyard Quarter, Britomart or Karangahape Road to sip on a perfectly blended coffee and watch the world go by. At the harbour end of the city, sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere at any one of the many restaurants and bars that line the waterfront, with a backdrop of sheltered waters and eye-catching super yachts. 

For a unique cultural experience and excellent coffee, why not head to K' Road and take in the alternative vibe, unique style and eclectic shopping. Once the sun goes down the Viaduct harbour and K' Road transform into the city's boogie wonderland with multiple pubs and bars to choose from, so why not join in?

8.    Find a hidden gem

_manukau _heads _lighthouse

Discovering a hidden gem full of history, character and natural beauty is easier to do, in Auckland city, than you may think. Awhitu Peninsula is only an hour from downtown Auckland and holds a vast panorama across wild, black-sand beaches and coastal cliff-top roads.

The best thing to do here is to climb to the top of the Manukau Heads Lighthouse for incredible views. Fortunately for us, this lighthouse is one of only a few in New Zealand open to the public, so why not take advantage?

9.    Explore Mission Bay

_mission _bay

Mission Bay is a quick and easy drive from the city centre and located along Tamaki Drive. The closeness to the city, its sheltered white sand beach, grassy areas for picnicking and games, amazing vistas of Rangitoto and excellent eateries and shopping has made Mission Bay a popular destination for Aucklanders and visitors alike.

With the weather warming up, why not head to this stunning beach, picnic blanket in tow and grab some delicious fish and chips at the much loved Fish Pot in Mission Bay.

  10. Enjoy a local market

_farmers _market

Who doesn't love a good market? Flea markets, farmers markets, any market - great places to stroll around and get a feel of the flavour of the city.

Markets are often at the top of the places most travellers want to visit and for good reason, they give you insight to the local culture, you can get amazing food and produce, see unique stalls from contemporary art through to cutting edge fashion design and markets always deliver on that possibility of unearthing a hidden treasure - so what's not to love?

These are some of our favourite, city-perimeter markets we think you'll love:


In summer, check out the Wynyard Quarters for the Silo Park's night markets and outdoor cinema every Friday. Browse the stalls for vintage clothing, contemporary art and a delicious array of food before the movie.


Inner city farmers' market with around 20 stalls tucked in the urban surrounds of the Britomart Precinct. Chat with friendly producers who fill the markets with organic nuts, coffee, fruit and other amazing produce. Every Saturday from 8.30am - 12.30pm.

At Kiwi International Hotel we love sharing with our guests the little treasures and hidden gems that help make this city one of the greatest. As the saying goes - the best things in life are free so why not head to Auckland and check out some of these top to-dos and fall in love with our city in the same way we have.

The benefit of having a free approach to experiences is that you can splash out in other areas. With all that you are likely to save, why not extend your stay or upsize your room option to an apartment and cook up all the goodies you're bound to fall in love with at any one of the local markets.

Travel is great for the soul, and travel within your own country is just as soul fulfilling - you don't have to go overseas to get a unique, authentic and enriching experience. Simply visit us, visit Auckland city and you'll get what we mean.



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