Visiting a large city can take a chunk out of your budget, making it a challenge to see as much as you can without breaking the bank.
Lucky for you, we have put together a list of the top five things to do in Auckland (in our opinion) when you’re watching those pennies. You’ll get to see many of Auckland’s sights and attractions but at a fraction of the price.
1. Mt Eden
The Mount Eden Village is only a short bus ride or drive from downtown Auckland and it is here that you can drive or walk up Auckland’s highest Volcano – Maungawhau (Mount Eden) – free of charge. Once at the top, the volcano provides 360-degree stunning views of Auckland City, the Waitemata Harbour and its surrounds.
From here, it is only a 5-minute walk or 1-minute drive to the Mount Eden Village. Boasting a modest selection of cafes and restaurants, it is the perfect spot to enjoy a decent cup of coffee. The village also has a small number of boutique retail shops and sometimes hosts weekend markets, perfect for browsing.
2. East and West Coast beaches
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to beaches in the Auckland area. Start your day off at one of the city’s sheltered eastern beaches such as Mission Bay (Central/East Auckland) or Takapuna Beach (North Shore). Both beaches offer a plethora of activities, even during the cooler months – throw a Frisbee or football around on the grassy areas, stroll along the beach or hire bikes or rollerblades for something a little more active. Complimenting each beach are vibrant cafes and restaurants, so if budget allows, make a pit stop, otherwise simply enjoy some time out, people watching and active relaxation on the beach.
Tip: If you’re really looking to cut costs, choose Mission Bay. It’s only 10-15 minutes’ drive from downtown Auckland. With a light pair of walking shoes, you could even walk!
With just the cost of the rental car and gas, you could then drive to one of Auckland’s dramatic West Coast beaches. Piha Beach is undoubtedly the most famous, but Muriwai Beach is also very popular. Each known for their pounding surf and rugged landscapes, they’re up to an hour’s drive out of Auckland City but are well worth it. Black sand, rocky terrain, surf and numerous hiking and walks trails, these beaches couldn’t be more different to the calm beaches of the East Coast.
One day; two coasts and if you choose to avoid the tempting cafes and restaurants, you’ll only pay for a rental car and gas!
3. The Auckland Art Gallery
The Auckland Art Gallery is nestled on a quiet lane in the middle of Auckland City. There are around 800 artworks on display, all in a newly renovated space, rivalling even the best in the world. It’s perfect for visitors who are trying to reign in their spending as admission and guided tours are free of charge. If you’re staying in the city, it’s most likely a leisurely walk from your accommodation, so you won’t have to catch a bus or taxi!
4. Ferry to Devonport and explore North Head
For only $12, you can get to the quaint seaside village of Devonport and back, via the ferry. The ferry ride is only a short 10 minutes but provides spectacular views of Auckland City. Once at Devonport (one of the city’s oldest suburbs) the choice is yours.
For activities that are free, our suggestion would be to walk to the top of North Head. The mountain is home to a number of defence forts and tunnels that were created to defend from feared attacks during World Wars 1 and 2. There are also beautiful beaches in the Devonport area, with views to either Rangitoto Island or the city.
If the budget allows, like most places in Auckland, Devonport also features its own range of unique cafes and restaurants for breakfast, coffee, lunch or dinner.
Want accommodation out of the city? For those who enjoy the quiet life, Devonport is also a great place to stay. We’d suggest the Devonport Motel – it’s only a three-minute walk to the village and ferry, so is right on the doorstep of Devonport’s’ best amenities. The motel is competitively priced and you can choose from one of three accommodation options.www.devonportmotel.co.nz
5. Night Markets for cheap eats
For a cheap snack or meal, you can’t go past the Auckland Night Markets. The markets are on from Wednesday through to Sunday, at a number of locations in Auckland and include 70-80 food stalls alone. You can be sure that something will tempt your taste buds, as there are too many cuisines and food styles to count – Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian, Indian, Thai, French, NZ European and more, all housed in a covered car park. What’s best, is that most of the options are similar in price range to what you’d pay for at McDonalds.
And once you’re finished eating, there are plenty of other stalls worth checking out, ranging from arts and crafts, jewellery, clothing, mobile phones, fresh produce and free live entertainment.
And that rounds out our top 5! So don’t despair if you have a smaller budget – there’s still plenty of low cost and enjoyable options for your visit or stay in Auckland City. If you have any other suggestions, we would love to hear them so leave us a comment on our Facebook page.
Also, keep an eye out for next week’s blog post if travelling with a strict budget is not your thing. We present the other side of the coin and list our top five things to do in Auckland when you want to splurge.
You have to be 18 years old or over to rent a car. Feel free to contact us, if you have any questions.