There’s plenty to see and do around the region that doesn’t cost the earth – and even better, you can get to the locations below by simply jumping on a bus, train or ferry.
So wrap the kids up warm, grab a packed lunch, and start exploring!
Talk to the animals at Ambury Park
Kids and adults alike will enjoy getting up close and friendly with Ambury's farm animals. You’ll see sheep, goats, cows, pigs, pet lambs (in season), chickens, turkey, rabbits – even a peacock if you’re lucky!
Bring your gumboots and warm clothing during winter.
Getting there: The 309 bus leaves from outside the Civic in the CBD. Disembark at the corner of Kiwi Esplanade and Yorkton Rise, Mangere Bridge, then walk an easy 15 minutes to get to the Ambury Regional Park entrance. Plan your journey
Go bush on Rangitoto Island
After just a short ferry ride from the CBD, you’ll find yourself immersed in deep native bush, some of which is endemic to this striking volcanic island.
If you’ve got all day, you might want to depart from the crowds heading straight for the summit and try one of the longer meandering tracks past the baches, a lighthouse, a bay full of shipwrecks and more.
Tip: There aren’t any shops on Rangitoto, or any drinking water. Make sure you bring a backpack with supplies to last you the day.
Getting there: Fullers operates several ferry services a day between downtown and the island. Check their website for pricing, including great earlybird deals and family specials. Plan your journey
Survey the stalls at the Howick Village Market
Head for Howick on a Saturday morning and you’ll find a fantastic village market with more than 100 stalls to peruse.
After soaking up the hustle and bustle, head for the recently renovated Uxbridge Arts & Culture centre to check out what’s on display at their Malcolm Smith Gallery.
Getting there: The 550 bus leaves from the bottom of Anzac Avenue, CBD, and stops in the heart of Howick Village. Plan your journey
Brush up on your naval history in Devonport
It’s hard to miss the naval base at Devonport – but did you know that, down the opposite end of King Edward Parade, there’s a museum dedicated to preserving and telling our navy’s history?
From the ferry building, it’s a gentle stroll along the picturesque waterfront to the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum, which is free to enter. The collections are extensive, including everything from clothing and uniforms to instruments, medals, mess gear and photos.
On your way back to the ferry, stop in at Depot Artspace to take in some of the best local art on offer.
Getting there: Catch the ferry from downtown Auckland and you'll arrive in Devonport in 15 minutes. Bus options are available too – plan your journey.
Surf’s up at West Wave
Okay, this one will cost you fractionally more than a public transport fare – but with kids under 16 swimming free, and adults at just $5 to supervise or $7.50 to swim, we think this makes for a pretty economical day out.
There’s something for everyone at this extensive complex, from a hydroslide and wave pool through to a steam room, sauna and lap pool.
Round out your day by skipping across Henderson Stream to Tui Glen Reserve to eat your packed lunch. The excellent playground there will almost certainly see kids develop a second wind!
Getting there: Hop on a west-bound train from Britomart or Newmarket, getting off at Henderson. From there it’s a short walk down Railside Avenue and Ratanui Street. There are bus options too – plan your journey.