Mission Bay is one of Auckland’s most popular beaches because of its proximity to the city centre. Take a short bus ride to reach it, then spend some time delving into the area’s calm blue waters. An hour-long single kayak hire will cost you NZ$25, while a double kayak comes in at NZ$45 — quite reasonable if you split the cost in two. Once you’ve finished your aquatic feat, you can take a stroll to the various shops and cafes or reward yourself with a nice scoop of ice cream.
The great thing about Auckland is that its parks and gardens are never too far away. There are several walking trails in the Auckland Domain, but one stands out because of its romantic flair: the Lovers Lane. Take the path to find a small detour known as the Lovers Walk, a picturesque route that is lined by beautiful trees. After that, you’re free to explore the park’s lovely features, like the duck pond, Wintergardens and the Auckland War Memorial Museum.
Auckland Domain, Park Rd, Grafton, Auckland 1010, New Zealand, +64 9-301 0101
If you’re looking for something unique to do in the city, the Odyssey Sensory Maze is going to be a treat. For NZ$20, you can immerse yourself in a colourful adventure that will test your senses and challenge your creativity. The maze takes approximately 20–30 minutes to get through. If you like that idea, there are similar mazes and escape games around Auckland to try on your next date; you can find some of them here and here.
Many of Auckland’s best art galleries are free to enter. For a glimpse of contemporary art that won’t cost a thing, Te Tuhi is a good option; for a classic vibe, you can’t go wrong with the Auckland Art Gallery. If you want to make a full day of it, visit the Monte Cecilia Park, and then take a stroll around the historic Pah Homestead and its contemporary TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre.
Te Tuhi, 13 Reeves Rd, Pakuranga, Auckland 2010, New Zealand, +64 9-577 0138
You don’t have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a theatre date. In Auckland at least, you’ve got lots of local performances to keep you entertained for nights on end. If you like your improv comedy, the Basement Theatre’s Snort show will make your late nights much more cheerful, and tickets only cost around NZ$12–$15. Q Theatre is another nearby venue that hosts an array of theatrical treats, and is accessible for all budgets.
Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland, 1010, New Zealand, +64 9-309 9771
Spend some time watching the birds, viewing the friendly farm animals and strolling around Ambury Regional Park. If you want to make a day out of it, take some picnic supplies with you; there are plenty tables and public BBQs to go around. The park is set among the southern end of Auckland, facing the Manukau Harbour, and is only 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) from the city centre. If you’re visiting around mid-July, you can even get involved with feeding the lambs or milking the cows.
Auckland’s Karangahape Road (K Road to locals) is renowned for its alternative flair. If you and your significant other are avid live music fans who are keen to support some local talent, there’s a handful of bars which offer very cheap — and sometimes free — door sales. Notable examples include Whammy Bar, the Wine Cellar and Thirsty Dog.