Auckland on a Budget – viewpoints, beaches, eateries & more


Auckland isn’t exactly famed for being an affordable place to visit. With the right knowledge though, you can still see some awesome parts of the city without breaking the bank. Here’s how to see Auckland on a budget:


Auckland on a Budget


North Head Historic Reserve

Nestled into the corner of Auckland’s North Shore is the North Head Historic Reserve. This hilltop lookout played a vital role in WW1 as it helped to protect the city from naval invasions.

Today you can still see the remnants of those historic days, with some of the huge guns on display around the reserve. Aside from its military significance, North Head is a great viewpoint for looking over the Auckland’s city centre. From atop the hill you also have great views down the length of sandy Cheltenham Beach.

lofty viewpoint over the city of Auckland and its harbour area
The city as seen from North Head Historic Reserve


Takapuna Beach

My favourite beach in Auckland is Takapuna. The golden sand and calm sea make it perfect for swimming, jogging, sunbathing or just about any other typical beach activity. It’s also lined with multi-million dollar houses, giving it a rather prestigious feel.

In terms of location, Takapuna is situated on Auckland’s North Shore. Being further away from the city centre means clean water and more of a beachy feel. For those without private transport, Takapuna can also be reached by public transport fairly easily – just one bus in fact (bus number 82).

a beach lined with expensive houses, as viewed from the sea
My favourite Auckland beach – Takapuna


1kg Mussels

Who fancies a whopping one kilogram of mussels for lunch?! I know I said this is a budget guide but unfortunately the mussels aren’t free. However, in my opinion, they are incredibly good value – hence their place on this list.

For a mere NZ$13 (£6.7/US$8.5) you can get a 1kg pot of mussels with a sauce of your choice and a side of fries – that’s enough to fill anyone up! Plus, they do taste good too. Now how’s that for a budget deal?

But where, I hear you ask. At the Master And Apprentice in Takapuna (136 Hurstmere Road, 0622). When? Only on Mondays I’m afraid, although they do have deals on other days too. How? Just rock up and ask for the deal!

large pot of mussels covered in sauce
Magnificent mussels…all 1000 grams of them!


Viaduct Marina

Being a coastal city, Auckland is home to multiple marinas and harbours. Westhaven Marina is home to small yachts and private boats whilst Queens Wharf is the departure point for passenger ferries. Silo Marina is the home of super-yachts and therefore a top choice for many.

However, my favourite harbour area in Auckland is Viaduct Marina. Accommodating a range of medium sized yachts and sail boats, Viaduct Marina is lined with eateries and a museum. It also has great views of the downtown city-scape in the background, including the iconic Sky Tower.

Auckland on a budget - view of Viaduct Marina and city scape behind
Viaduct Marina


Bastion point

Another great viewpoint over Auckland is Bastion Point; perched atop a hill it has vistas of both the city centre and the vast river estuary.

Located within the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park, this lookout has a nearby monument, cafe, toilets and car park.

view of city scape from top of hill with flowers in foreground
City views from Bastion Point


Extra: Piha

Although technically not part of Auckland, Piha is a great place to visit for a day trip. Comprising of a nature reserve, waterfalls and beaches, Piha is a far cry from the city’s urban sprawl. Kitekite Falls are the main attraction here – reached on foot by a 45min (one-way) forest walking trail. You can also climb Lion Rock for views over the black sandy beaches on either side.




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