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Take advantage of these free things to do in Auckland
There’s no shortage of things to do in Auckland, and remarkably - some of the best activities are free. A natural playground of volcanoes, deserted beaches and subtropical rain forests, this ‘City of Sails’ is home to a multitude of art galleries, museums and cultural icons.
Here's our favourite free spots to visit and things to do in Auckland:
Visit the West Coast
Auckland’s dramatic and windswept West Coast is a must do if you're at a loose end. See wild and wavy Piha Beach, known for its pounding surf and majestic Lion Rock formation - then visit Karekare, the backdrop for iconic New Zealand film The Piano. Visit Muriwai to see the large clifftop gannet colony and be sure to take the walkway - Te Henga - to spectacular black sand beach, Bethells. The Waitakere ranges - over 16,000 hectares of lush rainforest and native bush - is another ‘must see’ while you're out this way. Popular walks in this area include the Kitekite track where you’ll see waterfalls, streams, pools and native birds, the Arataki nature trail, a short tunnel under the road that leads to a series of loop tracks through clearly labelled native trees and a large grove of Kauri.
See The Auckland Art Gallery
Home to over 15,000 works of historic, modern and contemporary art, the gallery provides a visual history of New Zealand - including the first contact between Maori and European explorers in the 1600’s. Featuring many Maori and Pacific island artists the Auckland Art Gallery houses both national and international works and is a rapidly growing collection. The oldest piece is a sandstone figure from the walls of a hindu temple in North India. Widely considered one of New Zealand's superior art gallery's we highly recommend a visit while you are here.
Take a tour of the Manukau Heads lighthouse
An impressive wooden structure on the Awhitu Peninsula, the Manukau Heads lighthouse is over 140 years old and has been completely restored. One of the only lighthouses in New Zealand where you can climb to the top, you’ll have commanding views of the harbour. Inside the lighthouse, learn about the sinking of the HMS Orpheus on the Manukau bar, the nation's worst maritime disaster. A perfect way to enjoy the picturesque Auckland coast as well as soaking in a little history.
Climb Mount Eden
The highest of Auckland's volcanoes, Mount Eden was formed 20,000 years ago and has three craters overlooking the central city and Waitemata Harbour. Previously a fortified Maori village, Mt Eden has a rich cultural history - and still displays occupation terraces, storage pits and housing sites from the former settlement. No vehicles are allowed on the volcano, but the walk to the top is spectacular and comes highly recommended. Also worth visiting are the botanical gardens with 5.5 acres of colorful plant collections, waterfalls and rock formations.
See the Auckland Botanical Gardens
Even if you're not really the flowery kind, a visit to the Auckland Botanical Gardens is a must. Encompassing 64 hectares of land including 10 hectares of native forest the Auckland Botanical Gardens are spectacular in every season. With over 20 separate gardens showcasing 10,000 different plant varieties, The Auckland Botanical Gardens are renowned for their outstanding collections and unique south Pacific flavour. Plan to spend at least two hours here.
Browse the Clevedon farmers market
An affluent rural suburb in Auckland’s South, the Clevedon Farmers Market is known for its artisan products, homegrown produce, free-range meat and eggs. With over 50 stalls on offer, this Sunday destination also provides cheese, yogurt, preserves and smallgoods. A relaxed way to see the best of kiwi country life, we recommend making a day of it and visiting nearby Kawakawa Bay, or Hunua Falls.