Auckland is a bustling, busy city.
There are many places to go and many things to do. But it can all add up pretty quickly, making you out-of-pocket pretty fast. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to do and see around Auckland, completely free.
1. Silo Park Water Features
The name says it all. Silo Park is situated between Jellicoe and Beaumont Streets and was established around the 35 metre Golden Bay cement silo and ‘Silo 6’ in recognition of the area’s industrial heritage. Silo Park offers striking views across to Westhaven Marina and the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
2. Snakes and Ladders Park
This park is set on a hillside and is basically a life-size walk-through version of the board game of Snakes & Ladders. It is complete with a giant set of “dice” at the bottom, with numbered steps, ladders, and tube slides all the way to the finish.
3. Auckland Domain
Auckland Domain is the city’s oldest park. It is spacious and diverse. The Wintergardens are a feature of the Domain with the Auckland War Memorial Museum sitting at the highest point. There are formal gardens, duck ponds, large green open spaces edged by mature trees, bush walks and statuary.
4. Devonport Tunnels
The North Head Historical Reserve is considered to be the most significant historical coastal defence site in New Zealand and receives a significant number of visitors each year. The location has commanding views over the Hauraki Gulf and inner harbour. First used by Maori for defence purposes the site was one of three cone pa in the Devonport area.
The area has retained much of its natural beauty and isolation. As well as two surf beaches there is also a sheltered lagoon and several streams. The rugged coastline and forested Waitakere Ranges offer a number of walks, or tramps, ranging from easy to very difficult. Piha is a well-known black sand beach, due to the high iron content, which is of volcanic origin.
6. Matakana Markets
From 8 am to 1 pm every Saturday, the vibrant farmer’s market is a focal point for locals and growers to meet. Luscious produce from the area fills the stalls – fruit and vegetables, delicious home baking and Italian-style sausages, divine organic chocolate, fine wines and boutique olive oils, locally brewed beer, the all-important morning coffee and live music as an accompaniment.
7. Parnell Rose Gardens
Dove-Myer Robinson Park is a festival of colour and scent – some 5000 rose bushes grow there. The park is named after the popular and longest-serving mayor who served Auckland for 18 years. The rose gardens showcase new and old rose varieties, many of which have been bred by internationally celebrated rose breeders.
8. Auckland Botanical Gardens
The 64-hectare Auckland Botanic Gardens is home to over 10,000 plants from around the world. There are comprehensive collections of ornamental plants and extensive displays of native and introduced plants.
9. Riverbank Glows Worms
Apart from close proximity to amazing beaches of Beach Haven and views of the city, Birkenhead has bush walks and a ‘sweet’ history. You can see New Zealand’s only sugar factory, which was built in 1884. There is even a Sugar Workers Walk to see the main points of interest in Birkenhead and follow in the footsteps of the sugar workers. This 1 hour Maori Pipi Walk is through native bush with the extremely vocal birds all around you. Come here in the evening to see the Riverbank Glowworms.
10. Mount Eden
At 196m tall, Maungawhau or Mount Eden is the highest volcano in Auckland. From the summit, visitors can enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of the city and its harbours. A large, well-preserved crater, some 50 metres deep, is contained within the summit cone.
By Caitlin Houghton, Lauren Harvey and Amy Henderson.