An A-Z Travel Guide to Auckland on $10 or less .....
(updated August 2017)
Ambury Regional Park - visit the small working farm for free and get up close to dairy cows, sheep, pigs, goats and turkeys. There are walking tracks, BBQs and basic camping facilities (no camp kitchen). Please note there are no rubbish bins at the park so you need to take all rubbish away with you. Camping charges are $15 per adult, it's a convenient place to camp if you need to get to/from the airport. Ambury is located 20 minutes drive south of down town Auckland.
Camping in Auckland Regional Parks is inexpensive, there are numerous campgrounds across the city, purchase a one year camping pass for regular stays.
Auckland Art Gallery, corner Kitchener and Wellesley Streets - There are usually around 800 artworks on display from a collection of 15,000. Artworks are on display over four floors and there's also a cafe (level 1) and gallery shop (ground floor). (Farewell to the flower chandelier, it opened for the last time in November 2013).
Auckland For Kids - Not everything on Auckland For Kids fits the under $10 category but it lists indoor and outdoor playgrounds, skate parks, ice cream shops, and has a 'What's On' section.
Auckland Symphony Orchestra free family concerts are held during the year - see Facebook and Auckland Symphony Orchestra for a schedule of free (donations appreciated) and charged concerts. Many thanks to the Symphony for the music - our short amateur video of ABBA's Mamma Mia performed at a 2010 concert.
Auckland Writers Festival (15 - 20 May 2018)
There are always free events on the schedule at the Auckland Writers Festival. Visit the website for full festival details or look out for a programme in libraries and around town.
Bike hire can be as cheap as $4 an hour with Nextbike. There's a shared pedestrian/cycle path that runs from Quay Street in the city to St Helier's Village (around 9kms) via Mission Bay and Kohimarama. It's a beautiful ride on a fine day, be aware of pedestrians though, at weekends the path can be congested. Also see Auckland Transport cycle, run and walkway information.
Board Games - Cakes n Ladders Board Game Cafe at 173 Symonds Street has a library of over 200 board games. It costs $2.50 per person per hour to play. Check the website for hours, for more information see Cakes n Ladders on the Unusual Cafe Guide.
Book fair - If you still like retro reads (i.e. paper books) buy second-hand books at the Great Auckland Bargain Book Fair held at the ASB Stadium in Kohimarama in November.
Bookme is more likely to save you $10 (and a lot more) on activities, although Treasure Island Adventure Golf, and ten pin bowling can be less than $10. Bookme offer discounts in other regions of NZ as well.
Cat Cafe - Barista Cats at Level 1, 95 Queen Street charges $10 (week days) and $15 (weekends) for an hour with the cats. Open Tuesday - Sunday, 10am - 6pm.
Check out Wynyard Quarter for an ice cream, a quick read in the book container, or to relax on the outdoor furniture. Free movies, markets and live music take place in Silo Park in summer.
Dessert - Have a mug of hot chocolate and/or a sweet dessert at Chocolate Boutique Cafe, 323 Parnell Road, Parnell. Open 11am - 10pm, 7 days.
Eden Garden is especially pretty in spring when the tulips are blooming. The garden is set on the side of Mt Eden over five acres. Some of the walking tracks are steep but you're rewarded with good views. Admission to both the cafe and garden is $8 (note that an $8 fee applies if you just want to eat in the cafe). Open 7 days except Christmas Day. Eden Garden is one of the stops made by the Auckland Explorer Bus.
Ellerslie races -
Fancy a day at the horse races? General admission is usually free, special events take place in March for Auckland Cup Week.
Ewelme Cottage in Parnell is one of the properties owned by the Historic Places Trust that is open to the public. Other properties include Highwic in Epsom and Alberton in Mt Albert. Admission to all of the properties is $10 or less, please follow the link for opening times. If you're interested in historic homes the book Historic Houses written by Linda Burgess is a good resource.
Exhibitions - Artsdiary lists art exhibitions at Auckland galleries. Also see what's on at the Auckland Art Gallery, corner Kitchener and Wellesley Streets.
Ferry - Catch a ferry from downtown Auckland and cross the harbour to Devonport ($12.50 return). Visit www.devonport.co.nz to help you decide what to do while you’re there - visit The Depot Artspace or the Navy Museum. (Buy an AT Hop Day Pass for $18 and use it to get to Devonport on the ferry and out and about around Auckland on buses and trains - AT HOP cards cost $10).
Free entry to the Navy Museum, 52 King Edward Parade, Torpedo Bay, Devonport (flat 1.3km walk from Devonport pier). Learn about the Royal New Zealand Navy's culture and heritage. The RNZN has assisted the United Nations with peace keeping missions in Cambodia, Afghanistan and East Timor. Navy ships and personnel were on hand to assist residents in Napier when the 1931 earthquake struck; and residents in Lyttelton when the Christchurch 2011 earthquakes occurred.
The museum has a collection of art work, maps and drawings of RNZN ships. Personal items on display include photos and letters sent home by Medic Ces Cameron who served in the medical team in Vietnam in 1967. Interactive activities include learning to tap out a message in morse code and trying on a RNZN uniform. Open 10am-5.00pm daily (closed on some public holidays), admission free. Tours - 10.30am & 2.15pm on weekends (donations appreciated). Torpedo Bay Cafe is onsite.
Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple - If you are looking for some peace and quiet away from the city you will find it at Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple in Flat Bush. Admission is free and very reasonably priced vegetarian food is served at the onsite Water Drop Vege Cafe. (Closed Monday).
Free WiFi is available at Auckland libraries and at the Auckland Art Gallery.
Gelato – Taste before you buy at Casa Del Gelato, 288 Ponsonby Road. Take the opportunity to walk down the road that's a favourite meeting place for Auckland's coffee drinkers. Ponsonby Road is around 1.7kms of cafes, bars, book shops, clothing stores and all sorts in between. Western Park (photo below) is a good spot for a picnic.
Hear authors speak about their books and attend book launches at the Central City Library, 44-46 Lorne Street and various suburban libraries - see Auckland Libraries Featured Events. The Central City Library also hosts a free Thursday lunchtime concert series during the year (usually in winter).
Hidden piece of paradise for a picnic - Karaka Bay (located at the end of Peacock Street, Glendowie - 15-20 minute drive from the city via Mission Bay). Walk down the zig zag path to the secluded beach where local Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Please note: There are no public toilets at Karaka Bay and we'd recommend parking on Riddell Road as Peacock Street is mainly resident parking only.
Hideout on a rainy day - Catch the train and take a 20 minute trip from Britomart on Queen Street to Sylvia Park Shopping Centre. There are plenty of shops to browse, cinemas, numerous dining options and Around the World Mini Golf (a round of mini golf is $9 on Cheap Tuesdays - see Mini Golf below for more information).
In the city, the Central City Library on Lorne Street and Auckland Art Gallery are good options. Elliott Stables at 39 Elliott Street is an upmarket food court with a European feel and plenty of seating. During the week lunch deals are common, we think Elliott Stables is one of Auckland's hidden gems, the lovely little fresh flower displays on the tables are a nice touch too.
Ice skating see What's Happening at Paradice Ice Skating for special prices and events.
Intrigued by the idea of a Gift Economy? That's how Espresso Coffee School at 15 Swanson Street works. You order your coffee and pay what you want, or don't pay. I'm not recommending the don't pay option, for one thing the coffee is too good to be free. A small selection of food is sold the same way, there are old school desks to sit at, and copies of The NZ Herald to read. Open Monday- Friday, 7am til around 1pm.
i-SITE (visitor information centre) in the central city - Atrium, Sky City, corner Victoria and Federal Streets - Aucklandnz.com.
James Wallace Arts Trust Collection supports and promotes NZ contemporary art. Visit exhibitions (usually free) at the grand Pah Homestead/TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre in Monte Cecilia Park, Hillsborough. Homestead Cafe is onsite and there's a sculpture collection in the garden. Open Tuesday - Friday, 10am - 3pm; Saturday and Sunday 8am - 5pm (closed Monday and public holidays).
Kura Gallery at 95A Customs Street West is a good place to find Maori art and contemporary New Zealand art and design - it's free to browse. Kura Gallery is open 7 days.
Pauanesia, 35 High Street sells a range of quirky and cool items with a Kiwi and Pacific flavour, open from 9.30am, 7 days. New Zealand made art and design can be found at The Poi Room, 17 Osborne Street, Newmarket, and Mackelvie Street in Ponsonby.
Lantern Festival (March)
Celebrate Chinese New Year in the Auckland Domain with lanterns, food stalls and fireworks. (Free event)
Leave a love lock on the fence in Silo Park at Wynyard Quarter or surprise your loved one with a walk down the waterfront to see the fence. (The love lock fence is at the end of the wharf next to Titan Marine Engineering and near the gantry (the tall stairwell and bridge structure).
Matariki Festival (Maori New Year)
Auckland celebrates Maori New Year with a range of events and activities that can include a kite day, craft workshops, cultural performances and tree planting. Many activities and events are free.
Milse Patisserie - If you're looking for a delicious dessert or sweet treat during the day head to Milse Patisserie at 31 Tyler Street, Britomart. The delicious creations - tarts, gateaux, macarons are surprisingly well priced from $2.50-$8. In the evening the a la carte menu comes out with higher prices along with more demand for the few tables. (See On a sweet trail in Auckland - Part Two for more information).
Around the World Mini Golf at Sylvia Park Shopping Centre, 286 Mt Wellington Highway is an almost all weather mini golf course (if it's raining and windy you might like to leave it for another day as it's not fully enclosed). On Cheap Tuesdays a round of golf is $9 (excludes school and public holidays). (Lilliputt have other locations that offer the cheap Tuesday deal too - see website). Blog post about Around the World & Treasure Island Mini Golf. Twelve dollars gets you a round of mini golf at Treasure Island near Auckland Airport, and in Takapuna you can play mini golf in the dark at GloPutt for $15.
Outdoor movies - see Movies in Parks and Silo Cinema.
Parnell Road is lined with charming old buildings, many are occupied by art galleries, retail stores and cafes/bars. The InnerLink bus will take you there and if you want some peace and quiet walk to Dove-Myer Robinson Park and Rose Garden on Gladstone Road. (Parnell Festival of Roses is held in the garden each year when the roses are blooming - October/November).
Photography Festival (31 May - 22 June 2018)
Visit free photography exhibitions at various venues around Auckland. Look out for an Auckland Festival of Photography brochure or view the calendar of events online.
Poetry - Poetry Live is held on Tuesday nights at The Thirsty Dog, 469 Karangahape Road. (Entry by koha/donation)
Pride & Joy is an ice cream venture with a difference - to help the unemployed and underemployed own their own ice cream pods and become self employed. The Pride & Joy flagship store closed in Viaduct Harbour at the end of April 2017 but there is a Pride & Joy pod at Sylvia Park Shopping Centre. Joyful Hour specials are 5pm - 6pm every day.
Rock, Blues, Jazz and Reggae can be heard at free Music In Parks events from January until the end of March. Elvis in the Park is an annual free concert held on the second Sunday in January, see Memories of Elvis Fan Club.
Waterfront Sculpture Trail - Visit the website for a preview and a map. Cytoplasm (3rd photo on the right) by Phil Price is in Waitemata Plaza at 119 Customs Street, the plaza is a nice spot next to the water with patches of grass and seating.
Sculpture in the Gardens - Large sculptures are on display over a 2km trail through Auckland Botanic Gardens from November - March. No admission charge.
Gibbs Farm Sculpture Park, Kaipara Harbour. A corrugated iron giraffe shares the landscape with two live giraffes and other exotic animals at Gibbs Farm. It's free to visit the sculpture park, but advance bookings are required for the once a month open days.
Brick Bay Sculpture Trail is at the Brick Bay Vineyard, Arabella Lane, RD 2, Warkworth. The Sculpture Trail is open daily from 10am - 5pm, occasional closures on public holidays and for functions, visit the website for details. Admission $12.
Street Art - On and around Karangahape Road (K' Road) you will find a lot of Auckland's street art. The All Fresco Festival has facilitated the addition of numerous art works to the area over the last few years. For more information and photos see Street Art in Central Auckland & More Auckland Street Art blog posts.
Tepid Baths at 100 Customs Street West in the city charge $7.50 for a swim (age 17 and over), under 16 free. A list of Auckland's pools and recreation centres, swim in any of the pools for less than $10 (young Aucklanders free). Everyone can swim for free at Auckland’s numerous beaches - the closest beaches to the city are Orakei and Mission Bay.
Unusual gifts can be found on Karangahape Road (K' Road for short). Visit Buana Satu at 229 for tropical flavoured wares and The Third Eye at 177 for ethnic clothing and jewellery. K' Road is Auckland's red light district by night, bars and clubs are open late, and by day you will find an eclectic mix of cafes and shops. Kroad.com will tell you more about what's going down on the road.
Voyager NZ Maritime Museum, Viaduct Harbour is free for Aucklanders (proof of address required). Fee for non Aucklanders - $20 adults, $10 children. Open 10am-5pm (closed Christmas day) - www.maritimemuseum.co.nz. Learn about the voyages of early settlers to NZ; the country's yachting history - a tribute to Sir Peter Blake; and step inside a recreation of a Kiwi bach.
Vulcan Lane – Located near the bottom of Queen Street, Vulcan Lane is car free and home to some of Auckland’s oldest buildings. Have a drink in one of the oldest bars - Queens Ferry Hotel turned Lobby Bar & Eatery, or order coffee from a street side cafe. If you'd like to sample some NZ craft beer, see what's on tap at Vultures' Lane, 10 Vulcan Lane this month.
Walk Auckland – Auckland Botanic Gardens run free guided walks on Wednesdays. The gardens are situated on Hill Road in Manurewa and are best reached with your own transport. Two sculptures that are part of the Botanic Garden's permanent collection are shown below - Campsite by Peter Lange and Bird Lady by Jamie Pickernell.
Coast to Coast Walkway - pick up an information sheet from an i-SITE that provides a map and details about the walk from The Viaduct to Onehunga (16km / 4 hours). Alternatively visit Coast to Coast walkway.
Xmas Lights, Franklin Road, Ponsonby
Every year many of the residents in Franklin Road light up their homes and gardens to celebrate Christmas. It's well worth visiting to see the festive display, the lights are switched on 1 December. Other Christmas events include Auckland Farmers Santa Parade and Christmas in the Park. Smith & Caughey, 261 Queen Street have a Christmas display in the windows from mid November.
You might find what you’re looking for at one of Auckland’s many markets:
Auckland Night Markets, various locations including Botany Town Centre, Henderson and Pakuranga
Food stalls, fresh produce, live entertainment - a cheap night out.
Avondale Sunday Markets, Avondale Racecourse, Ash Street. Sunday 5am - 12noon
An Asian and Pacific influenced market selling fruit, vegetables, clothing, odds and ends and all sorts. Parking $3.
La Cigale Market at Takutai Square, Britomart
Have breakfast at La Cigale Market (formerly City Farmers Market) or collect the ingredients to prepare a fresh feast. The market operates on Saturday 8am - 1pm (possibly Sunday - see website link above to check). If you're looking for Farmers Markets see Grey Lynn Farmers Market, Oratia Farmers Market in West Auckland, and Parnell Farmers Market (below).
Get a taste of France at La Cigale French Market, 69 St Georges Bay Road, Parnell
La Cigale is a French inspired market selling artisan breads, preserves, fruit and vegetables, cheese, crepes etc. The market is also home to a French inspired retail store, cafe and bistro, read all about it. La Cigale market is held Saturday 8am – 1.30pm and Sunday 9am - 1.30pm.
Otara Flea Market, MIT & McDonald's car park, East Tamaki Road
Feel the vibe of the Pacific at Otara market on Saturday morning from 6am to midday. All sorts is sold including fruit, vegetables, shirts, sarongs, foot wear, t-shirts, and art and craft work from a collection of Pacific Islands.
Titirangi Village Market, Titirangi War Memorial Hall & car park
Last Sunday of the month February - November (December markets are held on the second Sunday and last Sunday before Christmas), rain or shine, 10am - 2pm. All surplus proceeds are donated to the Titirangi Rudolf Steiner School & Kindergarten.
Puhoi was settled by Bohemians in 1863 and you can visit the small Bohemian Museum. If you're keen on cheese, the Puhoi Valley Cafe and Cheese Shop is a popular spot on weekends as is Puhoi Cottage Tearooms for Devonshire Cream Teas. The Puhoi Farmers Market is held once a month. Leather clad bikers often make pit stops at The Puhoi Pub for a cold one.
Comments to date: 4. Page 1 of 1.
Brian O Cuinn
Thanks Anne. I've added a link to the Workshops on the Wharf in the Wynyard Quarter info.