20 things to do in Auckland for $20 or less

Feeling the pinch? Here are some ways to enjoy Auckland on the cheap.

For even more ideas, see 50 things to do in Auckland for under $20 

1. Swim and sunbathe amid the modernist glory of Tibor Donner’s Parnell Baths. $6.40 for adults, under 16s free. 25 Judges Bay Rd, Parnell

2. The best op-shops are in Glen Innes: the Salvation Army Family Store (49 Mayfair Pl) and Dove Shop (185 Apirana Ave) offer great bargains. Follow your shopping spree with some of the best fish and chips in the city from Marsic Brothers (47 Mayfair Pl), another GI gem: $7 for two fish and a scoop of chips.

3. Visit For The Love of Bees beehives in Myers or Victoria Park and watch the workers do their thing. Free.

4. Admire the art at the TSB Wallace Arts Centre (donation encouraged) and the trees in Monte Cecilia Park. Follow with coffee and cake (around $10 per person) at Homestead cafe. Free entry to the centre. 72 Hillsborough Rd, Hillsborough

5. If you’ve got kids with you, let them burn off steam in Whoa! Studios’ psychedelic playground, while you drink coffee inside and pretend to be child-free. Adults cost the price of a coffee, children $10. 8-14 Henderson Valley Rd, Henderson

6. Slurp some noodles at Metro Top 50 Cheap Eat Eden Noodles, which now has locations in both Mount Eden (105 Dominion Rd) and Albany (14 Corinthian Drv). Recommended: the dry seafood in special soup ($10), slobbery chicken ($13) and a small serve of dumplings ($5) are perfect for two to share.

7. Stock up on vegetables at the Avondale Markets, and cook lunch for a friend. Free entry, vege spending up to you. Every Sunday without exception, 5am-noon. 2 Ash St, Avondale

8. Visit Fo Guang Shan Temple and feel at peace. Follow with lunch at the vegan-friendly cafe there. We recommend the laksa and barbecue wonton noodles. Free entry to temple, lunch approximately $30 for two. 16 Stancombe Rd, Flat Bush

9. Go old-school and smash back a few cold Lion Reds ($15.99 for a six-pack) while you watch the Black Caps take on Pakistan from 6 January.

10. Travel to Birkenhead by ferry and have dinner at a local restaurant. We like Yummy Korean BBQ. Tip: they do a wicked bibim naengmyeon (spicy cold noodles). Ferry, $4.60 each way with a HOP card from downtown; Bibim naengmyeon, $14. 23 Mokoia Rd, Birkenhead

11. Head out to Muriwai and hike up to see the gannets from the viewing platform. The last gannets migrate in March or April. Free, except for gas to get there. 428 Motutara Rd, Muriwai

12. Explore colour and form at Auckland Art Gallery Toi ō Tāmaki’s Colour is an Abstraction, curated by Natasha Conland and Zara Stanhope, and featuring international artists. It runs until 29 April, 2018. Free.

13. Cycle the paths of Waterview, including this rainbow confection (above). Free if you have a bike. Start at Alan Wood Reserve in Mount Albert.

14. Chill on the lawn in Silo Park (or on the beanbags in Britomart’s Takutai Square), and soak up some rays and the summer event programmes. Free.

15. Share a doughnut (or some other baked treats) and a yarn at Little and Friday. Doughnuts, $6 each. 11 McColl St, Newmarket or 43D Eversleigh Rd, Belmont

16. Borrow a book from the Auckland Central City Library and read it under the shade of the trees in Albert Park. Free. 44-46 Lorne St, central city

17. Visit one of Auckland’s most impressive marine reserves, Okakari Point (Goat Island). Don’t forget to pack your snorkel, or do the easy Goat Island Walkway. Free, apart from gas to get there. 160 Goat Island Rd, Leigh

18. Hire a kayak or stand-up paddle board from Mission Bay Watersports and cruise around the bay. $15 for 30 minutes. At the city end of the beach every weekend, 9am-5pm.

19. Go strawberry picking at Phil Greig Strawberry Gardens in Kumeu: bonus points if you can eat more in the field than you take home with you. The strawb season runs from 26 Dec until 6 Feb and the entry fee includes your first kilo of strawberries. $8.50 per adult, under 12s free. 464 SH16, Kume

20. Enjoy a stroll through Western Springs Park and linger in the beauty of the new Fukuoka Garden. Just keep clear of the swans. Free. The Garden is open 10am-6.30pm.