50 fantastic fun and free things to do this summer

Last Updated : 01 Jan 2024
Movies In Parks

Summer is here and Auckland sure knows how to turn it on! Tāmaki Makaurau is known for its stunning landscapes, pristine beaches and vibrant culture. This summer, Auckland Council has a diverse range of activities and facilities to entertain the whole whānau without breaking the bank.

To provide the perfect summer vibes inspo, here are 50 free activities across Tāmaki Makaurau for you to make it your best summer ever!

1. Feel the sand between your toes as you party at Mission Bay to the soulful sounds of Che Fu and King Kapisi as Hedlock, in just one of 17 epic Music in Parks concerts this summer!

2. Enjoy a BBQ under the pōhutakawa trees at Wenderholm Regional Park, and walk off lunch on a walking track around Auckland’s first and oldest regional park.

3. Get your steps in with a walk up the Maungawhau / Mount Eden boardwalk, and make sure you get a snap for the gram.

4. Dress in pink and get the whole crew along for a special screening of 2023’s biggest film, Barbie, under the stars as part of Movies in Parks.

5. Head to Auckland Botanic Garden for Holding Ground sculpture exhibition featuring the works of over 47 talented Kiwi artists!

6. Visit Te Wharekura, a cultural and marine education space held in the repurposed 108-year-old heritage kiosk next to the downtown ferry terminal.

7. For a fun activity for the young and young-at-heart, get on two wheels at the permanent bike pump tracks around Auckland at Grey Lynn Park, Waterview Reserve or Birkenhead War Memorial Park.



8.Celebrate a fantastic family day out with great performances from Savage, Che Fu & The Kratez, Annie Crummer, Rei and more as part of Waitangi ki Manukau.

9. Head to the newly re-opened Arataki Visitors Centre to learn more about our native flora in the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park with the nature identification trail.

10. Explore Devonport’s missing maunga at Mount Cambria Reserve and then discover local history at the Devonport Museum at the base of the maunga.

11. Let the kids run some energy out at Potters Park on Auckland’s iconic Dominion Road, a three-hectare reserve with a playground, basketball court and learn-to-ride track. Then cool them down at Auckland’s first water splash-pad, open seven days a week from 10am to 8pm.

12. Surf down the 100-foot sand dunes at Te Henga / Bethells Beach for the ride of your life with your boogie board.

13. Picnic at Cornwallis Beach on Pūponga Peninsula, which has shade, safe swimming, barbecue spots and plenty of space for the whole whānau.



14. Check out the inaugural Moana Festival celebrating Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s love affair with the ocean with a series of events both on and off the water.

15. Check out Auckland Council Libraries’ eagerly anticipated list of Top 100 books for the year – out soon! See how many you can tick off this summer!

16. Find out where the Rainbow Machine is headed this summer to learn more about the science of creating a rainbows with this interactive experience created by artists, architects and scientists working together.

17. Auckland Art Gallery has new collections for you to spend a day wandering through, including ‘Ngā Pakiaka: Like The Roots of a Tree’ and ‘Portals and Omens: New Work from the Collection’. Head to com to plan your visit.

18. Try your hand at disc golf at the Pae o te Rangi Disc Golf Course at Waitākere! Bring your own disc golf or borrow one from the disc honesty box at the entrance of the park and return when you’ve finished.

19. Check out Te Hokinga Mahara – A Collection of Memories – a sound and light installation that tells the story of Ngāti Manuhiri with a 16 minute-long composition at 8 and 9pm this summer.

20. Go Kiwi spotting after dark at Tāwharanui Regional Park, but leave your four-legged friends at home as dogs and pets are prohibited from the park at all times. Make sure you wear warm clothes; good shoes and your torch should preferably have a red light (red cellophane can work quite well). Remember to give kiwi plenty of space. Note: Gates close at 9pm, but they will let you out when you are ready to leave.

21. It’s not an Aotearoa summer if waters not involved! Head to Lloyd Elsmore Park Pool and Leisure Centre in Pakuranga to make the most of their free splash pad – including fountains, mist sprayers and elevated structures for children of all ages and abilities.



22. Watch one of the Vector Lights on the Harbour Bridge shows from Silo Park or Westhaven on a warm summer evening. For show dates and times, go to the Vector Lights website.

23. Te Rau Pūriri Regional Park, South Head is situated along the eastern coast of Te Korowai-o-Te-Tonga (South Head) Peninsula and offers breathtaking views of the magnificent Kaipara Harbour. Start your journey from Omokoiti Bay, where you’ll encounter a series of carefully crafted ponds that were used as fresh-water prawn farms in the 1980s.

24. Try a self-guided tour of Auckland’s heritage with the Walk Auckland app.

25. Explore Auckland’s foreshore by foot or bike from below the Harbour Bridge through Westhaven and along the fantastic tree-laden Quay Street to Mission Bay, or extend the walk an extra three kilometres and continue to St Heliers’ Achilles Point for stunning views back to the city centre.

26. Get up close and personal with a range of farm animals with a stroll around the Ambury Farm Path at Ambury Regional Park in Māngere Bridge.



27. Explore internationally significant heritage landscape of Ōtuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve near Auckland Airport. A wāhi tapu (sacred place), it is a great place to observe how innovative Māori farmers were in using volcanic stones to keep the soil warm for tropical crops like taro and kumara.

28. Head to Auckland War Memorial Museum for Twilight Tuesdays as the museum opens late every Tuesday evening until 8.30pm. Take in the relaxed atmosphere as the whole Museum is open for you to wander at your own pace.

29. Snorkel amongst the mangroves in the Whangateau Harbour or around the coast at Leigh’s Matheson Bay.

30. Celebrate the Year of the Dragon and take in the wonder and beauty at the BNZ Auckland Lantern Festival at the Manukau Sports Bowl.

31. Celebrate the contribution of women in all spheres of life with a visit to the ‘1001 Spheres’ sculpture in Monte Cecelia Park by artist Chiara Corbelletto.

32. Explore the rock pools and the creatures that call those pools home at Tāwharanui Regional Park. Please leave your pets at home and leave everything as you find it as it’s a marine reserve.

33. Play a full-sized game of snakes and ladders, climbing up ladders and slithering down slides at the Bramley Drive Reserve playground in Farm Cove.

34. For a unique after dark adventure, look for bioluminescence in the water at Mahurangi Regional Park. Note: Gates close at 9pm, but they will let you out when you are ready to leave.



35. Shoot some hoops at the newly opened Archibald Park basketball court in Kelston!

36. Pop in your headphones and check out the new season of Ngako: The Collections podcast from the Auckland Council Libraries team while you run, rest or recover this summer, then head to Central City Library to see some of the incredible materials mentioned for yourself!

37. If you’ve never been to Point View Lookout in East Tāmaki, now’s the time! Gaze out at Rangitoto and the beaches of Waitākere through to Manukau Heads, then turn around and check out views of the East Auckland beaches. With 29-hectares to explore, Point View Reserve offers a range of bush paths and an open countryside to explore.

38. Marvel at the incredible plants and architecture at the recently re-opened Auckland Domain Wintergardens. 



39. Take in the colour and culture of the Ōtara Markets, time your visit with a special edition of Music in Parks held at the iconic markets for the first time ever!

40. Wander through the city to discover vibrant street art scattered throughout our city. Head to com to plan your walk.

41. Just behind Toi O Tāmaki / Auckland Art Gallery, Albert Park proudly watches over the city centre. This summer, make a date to sit under an old majestic tree or on the steps of the beautiful Victorian band rotunda and relax.

42. Keep the kids busy this summer school holidays with a reading challenge at Auckland Council Libraries, and once school returns, check your local library for after-school programmes.

43. Visit the newly refurbished Greenslade Reserve in Northcote as it hosts a special screening of Super Mario Bros. Movie as part of this year’s Movies in Parks

44. Take a stroll along the waterfront and find Te Wānanga on the seaward side of Quay Street – a modern architectural take on a rocky tide shelf with openings like rock pools and steel balustrades like giant kina shells.

45. Stroll around the stunning 64-hectare oasis of horticulture beauty and diversity that is Auckland Botanic Gardens to see rare and threatened native plants, stunning African plants and native forest!

46. Challenge yourself to a brand-new set of staircase climbs at Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura / Mt Albert. As part of ongoing construction work to protect important archaeological sites on the maunga, new tracks have been built!

47. The Auckland International Buskers Festival returns over Auckland Anniversary weekend to showcase some of the best street performers in the world!

48. If your New Years’ Resolution is to get into e-biking, head to E-bike experience for guided rides for those comfortable on e regular bike but curious about going electric. Bring your own bike or borrow one of ours.

49. Head to the much-loved weekly Takapuna Sunday Market to take in the newly opened Waiwharaiki Anzac Square which makes the most of Takapuna’s incredible lake and beach location.

50. Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett will headline Waitangi @ Waititi concert at Parrs Park, Glen Eden to celebrate our national day on February 6.

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