When I first arrived to Auckland I was completely broke.
I had just been on a 3 months trip thorough New Zealand, before I finally arrived to the city of sails.
My boyfriend and I had bought a backpacker van in Christchurch. To get some cash for the trip we had worked a couple of weeks on the west coast of the south island. So our daily budget was very small. Due to not spending money on any more than food, petrol and 2 dollars for our daily shower, we were able to stretch our small budget over 3 months. Towards the end of our trip we arrived in Auckland. In Auckland we had even less money to spend than we had in the other cities. So we had to find a way to enjoy Auckland without spending to much money.
We were lucky, because there are plenty of cool places to go to in the Auckland are, that don’t cost anything other than the commute.
So if you ever find yourself traveling NZ in a backpacker van and on a very low budget, when you arrive to Auckland these are the 5 places
These are 5 free activities in Auckland:
This beach is located on the west coast, a little bit out of the cities on the Jurassic west coast. With a drive through a jungle like area, Piha is quite remote but very popular for Aucklanders to go to on a sunny day. There is a little cliff right in the middle of the beach than you can climb on and enjoy the amazing views from up there. Piha is a typical west coast beach, with black sand and rough seas.
So there will be lots of waves, if you are planning on hiding the boards.
One Tree Hill
Located towards the south of the CBD and quite in the centre of the city is Cornwall park. In the centre of Cornwall park you can find New Zealand’s famous One Tree Hill. You can climb up the hill or drive almost to the top with a car. (if it is raining). Up there you can enjoy panoramic views of the whole city.
The “ One Tree” has actually been replaced by a memorial, which is also located on the top of the Hill. As some activist chainsawed the “one tree” in the early nineties. I have heard some rumours than they are actually thinking of renaming it to “ None Tree Hill”. Anyhow, tree or no tree, this place has got amazing views and is definitely worth going to.
Omana Regional Park
Towards the east coast out of the city, also known as the Pohutukawa coast you can find Omana regional park. A beautiful little park right by the sea. There are lots of little walkways in this park and you can walk towards Maraetai a little beach town. Also there is a little ‘Zoo’. As it is free it is not really that spectacular, but still fun to do.
If anything is worth going to Omana regional park for, it is the views. Looking out on the sea, towards the islands. On a clear day you can see even the boats in the harbor of Waiheke island. Also Omana ist he closest point on the main land to Waiheke island. So if you are planning on swimming to the island, this is where you start 🙂
John Savage Memorial
This memorial is located up a hill at the coast towards mission bay. This setting gives you some beautiful angles for photos of the Auckland CBD. Also there are a lot of green spots. So bring a blanket and a picknick basket for a picknick up there. You can enjoy views over the coast towards the islands, Rangitoto and Waiheke. The perfect place to escape the noisiness of the city with some tremendous views. If you are actually traveling in a van it is a good place to stay overnight.
The falls are a bit out of the city towards the east in the Hunua Range. Those 30 m waterfalls may not be as spectacular as the some waterfalls on the south islands, but they one of my favorite falls due to their beautiful green surroundings. Also with their location in a regional park there are lots of walking tracks. There are long and short walks that give you the opportunity to enjoy the tropical side of Auckland.