Relaxing Journeys Blog

24 more free New Zealand attractions you can’t afford to miss

Still searching for some activities to plug gaps in the schedule on your NZ holiday, or just wanting to stretch your dollars a bit further? These unmissable attractions provide the best bang for your buck – they’re all free of charge!

North Island

Tane-Mahuta

  • Hot Water Beach (Coromandel) – Visit close to the time of low tide and dig your own personal hot pool on the beach!
  • Tāne Mahuta (Northland) – New Zealand’s largest surviving example of the ancient Kāuri tree. 50 metres tall, it’s known for its magical aura.
  • Parnell Rose Gardens (Auckland) – Over 5000 roses create waves of colour in this downtown Auckland park, best seen in Summer or Autumn.
  • Waitakere Ranges (Auckland) – Home to black-sand beaches, native bushland and wildlife, with over 250km of tracks to explore.
  • Snorkelling on Goat Island (Auckland) – Grab a wetsuit and snorkel and check out the amazing range of marine life in this marine reserve… kingfish, snapper and even dolphins!
  • Coastal Walkway (Taranaki) – Pass through city and coastline on this award-winning promenade walk dotted with visual treats.

Weta-Cave

  • Ruakuri Bushwalk (Waitomo) – An easy walk for all ages, with limestone arches and forest-lined gorges, a real highlight in Waitomo.
  • Spa Park (Taupo) – Relax in the hot thermal springs at this beautifully landscaped park with playgrounds for the kids – a gem.
  • Weta Cave (Wellington) – A Lord of the Rings fan’s dream – and it’s free! Including sculptures, movie props and documentaries.
  • Rere Rock-slide (Gisborne) – NZ’s all-natural water slide! Seriously fun, with great spots for picnic lunches available.
  • Mt. Maunganui (Tauranga) – A steep walk up “the mount” is well worth it for the stunning 360-degree views over the Bay of Plenty.
  • Oriental Bay (Wellington) – Wellington’s coolest beach suburb, perfect for all the family with trendy shops and cafes to explore.

South Island

Dunedin-Otago Albatross Colony

  • The Catlins (Otago & Southland) – Rugged coastal landscapes, varied wildlife and natural rainforests are the hallmarks of this beautiful area.
  • Bungy Watch at Kawarau Gorge (Queenstown) – Not feeling up to a bungy? Watch the jumpers from the famous Kawarau Bridge or café instead.
  • Milford Sound (Fiordland) – A breathtaking drive in and views of this iconic fiord are available as part of a full day road trip.
  • Te Anau (Southland) – The gateway to Milford Sound, with plentiful restaurants and walking tracks.
  • Albatross Colony (Dunedin) – A “must-see” according to Sir David Attenborough, majestic birds with a wingspan of up to 3 metres!
  • Blue Pools (Wanaka) – An easy walk gets you to crystal clear pools of striking Sapphire coloured water.

Pancake Rocks

  • Stargazing (Tekapo) – Enjoy a stargazing experience that’s almost unmatched, as part of the Dark Sky Preserve.
  • Climb Queenstown Hill (Queenstown) – An intermediate level hill track provides epic views over Queenstown, the Remarkables and lake Wakatipu.
  • Hiking Trails (Mt. Cook) – Hike one of the many trails around New Zealand’s tallest mountain – Mt Cook.
  • Hinewai Nature Reserve (Banks Peninsula) – A beautifully presented series of walking tracks through native bush with waterfalls and rare tree varieties.
  • Tunnel Beach Walkway (Dunedin) – Keep an eye out for fossils in the rocks as you walk this track with epic sandstone formations and sandy trails.
  • Pancake Rocks (West Coast) – A must-do on the rugged West Coast, these limestone rock formations really do look like a stack of pancakes!

See New Zealand and experience attractions that won’t break your budget.


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