Toddlers are bundles of energy and curiosity, with an insatiable thirst for exploring the world around them. For parents, keeping their little ones entertained and engaged can sometimes feel like a mission impossible, especially on a budget. Fear not, Aucklanders! We’ve scoured the city to bring to you a treasure trove of free activities that promise to delight both you and your tiny tots.

From the rugged West Coast beaches to the serene East Coast bays, Auckland is not short of a picturesque playground or two. Here’s your guide to making the most of your time in New Zealand’s largest city without opening your wallet – not once.

A Day at the Museum

Museums aren’t just for history buffs; they’re veritable wonderlands for inquisitive young minds. Auckland is home to several museums that offer a plethora of free activities for toddlers.

Auckland Museum

Located in the Domain, the Auckland Museum plays host to a range of child-friendly exhibitions and experiences. From exploring the Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland exhibition, featuring a life-sized waka, to the Volcanoes Gallery that boasts an erupting model volcano, kids can get hands-on with interactive displays and learn about the city’s history and culture in a fun, accessible way.


The Museum of Transport and Technology features the KidzZone, a dedicated space for under-fives, where they can role-play, experiment with soft blocks, and enjoy storytelling sessions. The museum also hosts family fun days with themed events and activities that cater to all age groups.

In the Heart of Nature

Auckland’s urban sprawl is punctuated by verdant, green spaces that offer a much-needed reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Cornwall Park

This 425-acre park is not only a breath of fresh air but an educational playground where your toddler can interact with farm animals at the Cornwall Park Information Centre and Observatory. The sprawling lawns and gentle slopes provide ample space for picnics and games, and the views from One Tree Hill are a treat for the whole family.

Western Springs Park

Not far from the Auckland Zoo, this picturesque park is home to the whimsical Western Springs Playground, featuring a pint-sized train and a range of climbing structures and slide. Toddlers can also enjoy the picturesque swans, eels, and other waterfowl at the park’s central lake.

Beach Escapades

A young girl sitting on the sand

Auckland’s coastal location means it’s blessed with a multitude of beaches, each with its own unique character perfect for a day out with your little one.

Mission Bay

Auckland’s most famous beach boasts playgrounds, a wide expanse of sand, and calm waters for paddling. Take a leisurely walk along the promenade and indulge in some of the city’s best fish and chips – a must-do for any toddler’s to-do list.

Cultural Connections

Immerse your toddler in the rich cultural tapestry of Auckland, which is proudly multicultural.

Libraries Storytimes

Auckland Council Libraries host free ‘storytime’ sessions where toddlers can enjoy tales woven by skilled storytellers that inspire imagination and love for reading.

Otara Market

For a taste of Pasifika culture and cuisine, head to the bustling Otara Market. Every Saturday, the market comes alive with vibrant colors, music, and a diverse array of stalls selling fresh produce, traditional arts and crafts, and delicious street food.

Creative Corners

Engage your toddler’s artistic side with these creative offerings that are as enriching as they are entertaining.

Art in the Park

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki occasionally hosts ‘Art in the Park’ sessions, where toddlers can get messy with finger painting and crafts activities.

Home Depot Workshops

At Bunnings Warehouse stores across the city, toddlers can partake in free DIY workshops that allow them to build and decorate small wooden projects. It’s a hands-on way to foster imagination and fine motor skills.

Stay Playful, Rain or Shine

Auckland’s fickle weather doesn’t have to dampen your toddler’s spirits or your plans to keep them active.

Indoor Play Centers

Several indoor play centers in the city offer free entry for toddlers, with a purchase from the cafe being the only requirement. Places like Chipmunks and Lollipops Playland provide safe, climate-controlled environments for toddlers to burn off energy and make new friends.

Toddler Gymnastics

Inspire movement and coordination in your toddler with free Gym Tots sessions, which combine music, games, and basic gymnastics activities to keep little ones entertained and active regardless of the weather outside.

Explore the Neighborhoods

Auckland’s diverse neighborhoods each have something unique to offer, and sometimes the best activities are the ones you stumble upon by chance.


Take a ferry ride to Devonport, where you can stroll along the quaint streets, explore the shops and galleries, and enjoy the sea views from atop Mount Victoria – or, as the locals call it, ‘the little mountain’.

Markets and Festivals

Keep an eye out for local markets and community events that often include kid-friendly entertainment like face painting, live music, and arts and crafts activities.

Culinary Quests

Think outside the box when it comes to dining with your toddler. Many eateries and markets are child-friendly and offer unique culinary experiences.

Sweet Treats

Indulge in a sweet adventure at The Tannery in New Lynn, home to the Little Sister’s Cafe where you can treat your little one to a cake pop while you enjoy a well-deserved coffee. Afterward, explore the eclectic mix of shops and soak up the relaxed, creative atmosphere.

Picnic Perfect

Opt for a picnic at one of Auckland’s scenic spots – a chance to enjoy a meal together in the great outdoors, and who doesn’t love a picnic? Pack your toddler’s favorite snacks, a blanket, and their favorite toys for a laid-back dining experience.

Free Fun for Tiny Kiwis: Five Fascinating Freebies in New Zealand

  1. Nature’s Playgrounds: New Zealand’s numerous national parks and reserves are free to explore and are a fantastic way for toddlers to experience the country’s natural beauty firsthand, with numerous walking tracks suitable for little legs.
  2. Public Libraries Galore: Across New Zealand, public libraries offer regular, free storytime sessions which are perfect for igniting young imaginations and instilling a love of reading from an early age.
  3. Beach Day Every Day: With the country’s vast coastline, there’s always a beach in proximity where toddlers can play in the sand, splash in the shallows, and build castles to their heart’s content, all for free.
  4. Playground Adventures: New Zealand is home to creative and thoughtfully designed playgrounds, many featuring unique themes that reflect local culture and landscape, providing safe and stimulating environments for toddlers to enjoy.
  5. Community Events and Festivals: Throughout the year, various towns and cities in New Zealand host community events and festivals with free entry, often featuring performances, workshops, and kid-friendly activities that celebrate local traditions and community spirit.


With this guide in hand, you’re ready to tackle the days with your toddler in Auckland. Remember, the best activities are often the ones that don’t cost a dime but create priceless memories. From cultural excursions to nature escapades, creative play to gastronomical delights, the City of Sails certainly has a treasure trove of toddler-friendly adventures waiting for you to discover. So get out there and explore your local playgrounds – you might just find that the best things in life are free.