A trip to Auckland? NZ’s biggest, busiest and brightest city has plenty to offer families both free and hoping to pay a little. The first thing that I suggest is to take a 50c trip on the bus that runs in a loop around the city (click here to see a map). This takes you past most of the inner city attractions and is a great way to get your bearings. You can even get off if something interests you and get back on the next one – its 50c!
The Auckland War Memorial and surrounding gardens offer outstanding views and a history lesson of Auckland’s past. If it’s views you’re after then park at the base of Mt Eden and take a short hike. 360⁰ of the whole metropolis. If it is SERIOUSLY views you’re after then go visit the SkyTower. From 328 meters up you can see for 50-60km on a clear day. If you go to the restaurant/café for a meal, then the views come free – make sure you book!
Just a short ferry ride away is the maritime village of Devonport. Beautiful old buildings, fantastic views looking back over the harbor to Auckland, a maritime museum and a quaint shopping strip with cafes and restaurants. Great Sunday destination. There’s a beach too!
My favourite Auckland activity is the trip to Rangitoto Island. Standing guard over Auckland’s harbor the extinct volcano is only a short ferry ride from downtown. Get dropped off in the morning, then collected later in the afternoon and spend the day exploring the island. Hike to the top (1.5-2hrs) or you can pay to catch the train. The views are amazing!! At the top there are bunkers and old gun placements. There are caves, a small museum, rockpools and remains of lava tubes. Once on the island though, there is no food or drink! Carry everything in, carry everything out.
The kids (and adults) will be plumb tuckered at the end of the day. That is a guarantee!!!
Mission Bay is an area by the ocean just minutes from the city centre. Great beach, awesome playground, takeaways, cafes and restaurants. The area caters for families well (and unlike Auckland, there’s plenty of parking). An interesting and quirky tour you can do is the Chelsea Sugar Factory. It has been there since 1883 and is a strange place for a factory producing sugar but here it is! It is said that in the past locals would “dive” into the sugar stock piles – hmmm – probably stopped that because people were getting themselves into “sticky situations”!
The Auckland Art Gallery is not the place that you would normally associate with families, but they run regular family/kids interactive days. Check our website “Wots On” section for any upcoming ones.
If there is one playground not to miss it is the playspace at Viaduct Harbour. The kids will love it!
Last but not least on my list is Cornwall Park. Close to the city, it is a working farm complete with animals, a planetarium, playground, fields and a café.
Next month, I am giving you our favourite things in Auckland that may cost you a bit but are worth it.
In the meantime, download our app or grab a book from one of our distributors (list online at www.letsgokids.co.nz) , get off the couch and get out there.