Free Things To Do in Auckland
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Situated just off the coast of central Auckland across from Devonport is Rangitoto Island, a volcanic island known for its superb hiking trails and panoramic views. Multiple trails are available for island exploration, including the popular Summit Track, which takes hikers through lava fields and the world's largest pohutukawa forest to the island's summit.
Prepare for stunning vistas and a steep, yet doable hike when visiting Rangitoto Island. If you're not keen on hiking, travelers recommend opting for Fullers' Volcanic Explorer Tour, which includes round-trip ferry transfers to and from downtown Auckland and a four-wheel drive road train tour of the island.
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Imagine New York's Central Park but with a New Zealand twist, and you've got Cornwall Park. This sprawling park, which sits on a volcanic cone, offers an abundance of greenery, plus unique features like the remnants of a pre-European Maori fort and the remains of Sir John Logan Campbell, the park's donor. One of the park's greatest assets is its lookout point: Don't leave without taking in the views at One Tree Hill.
Previous visitors raved about the park's relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere and its amenities, which include picnic areas, a playground, jogging and bike paths, a tennis center and gardens. Part of the park is also set aside for farm animals like sheep and cows. Past travelers offered even more praises for the park's panoramas, adding that bringing a camera to snap photos is a must.
- #3View all PhotosfreeMount Eden#3 in AucklandNatural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
One of the top attractions in Auckland, without question, is Mount Eden. This dormant volcano, which is completely covered with grass, offers some of the best views of downtown Auckland. It's also the highest natural point in Auckland.
Though views are sublime no matter what time of day you visit, for the best panoramas, travelers recommend visiting during sunrise or sunset. Also, wear comfortable shoes since you'll need to walk uphill to reach the attraction's summit.
- #4View all Photos#4 in AucklandBeaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
Tucked along the North Island's west coast less than 17 miles away from the city center, Waitakere Ranges Regional Park boasts 40,000 acres of forest and beaches. Everything from hiking and biking to bird-watching and strolling along the park's black sand beaches can be enjoyed here. Must-see landscapes in this sprawling parkland include Piha and Whatipu's beaches and Fairy Falls waterfall.
According to recent travelers, the Waitakere Ranges cannot be missed. Though past visitors said the views alone were worth the drive, outdoor enthusiasts will also enjoy the park's hiking trails. But remember, most forested parts of the park, including their paths, are closed until further notice due to a kauri dieback epidemic that has infected some of the park's kauri trees.
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Whether you're a foodie, a thrill-seeker or a beach bum, odds are you'll love exploring Waiheke Island. Found within the Hauraki Gulf near Rangitoto Island and Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary, Waiheke Island features several vineyards and olive groves, multiple white sand beaches and a variety of shops and restaurants. For adventure junkies, book a zip lining excursion with EcoZip Adventures.
Visitors agree that Waiheke Island is one of the best wine areas in the region. Several recommend wine-tasting tours with local operators Waiheke Island Wine Tours and Ananda Tours, which start at 120 New Zealand dollars (roughly $86) per person and cover tastings at three vineyards. Ananda Tours also offers specialty tours, such as ones with stops at an olive oil grove or a local brewery.
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For some of central Auckland's best restaurants and bars, consider visiting the city's waterfront Viaduct Harbour. This Auckland precinct, which some compare to Sydney's Darling Harbour, features more than 30 watering holes and eateries, plus a marina, the New Zealand Maritime Museum and several hotels.
Visitors recommend stopping by Viaduct Harbour on a clear, sunny day when harbor views aren't impacted by rain or fog. Boating enthusiasts will especially enjoy checking out the marina's luxury yachts or attending the New Zealand Herald In-Port Race for the annual Volvo Ocean Race, which takes place every February and uses Viaduct Harbour for special race events and amenities.
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This suburb of Auckland hosts a spectacular view of the City of Sails, so bring your camera. Aside from being a quaint spot to dine and shop, it also features a naval base. For a laid-back day of meandering past colonial architecture and along peaceful beaches, Devonport is the place to go.
Past visitors raved about Devonport's small-town charm and beautiful scenery. To add something extra to your time in Devonport, try planning your visit for the first Sunday of the month when the neighborhood hosts its monthly Devonport Craft & Fine Food Market. Travelers also suggest perusing the exhibits at the free Torpedo Bay Navy Museum.
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