There are so many FREE things to do in Auckland, it has to be one of the most family-friendly cities in the world.
We spent an afternoon at the Auckland Domain and enjoyed it so much we returned the next day to go inside the Auckland Museum (pictured in the background).
Outside the kids made kites from large leaves and we ended the day with a yummy melty icecream from Mr.Whippy - the icecream truck.
The Domain is a fantastic 75 hectare public park which is built around the cone of an extinct volcano! I bet you didn't know that Auckland is one huge volcanic field with no fewer than fifty (extinct) volcanoes in this area. There are many hills around Auckland that are actually volcanic cones. It's fascinating and don't worry, completely safe!
Another popular destination (and yep, volcano) in Auckland is One Tree Hill. Sadly the tree has been cut down after repeated attacks of protest by Maori activists but the monument stands proud over the city. One Tree Hill Domain and adjoining Cornwall Park together form the largest parkland in the city and are a wonderful free escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. You can even see cows there! And of course there is always the icecream shop!
Having been away for so long what struck me most was how green New Zealand is. The abundance of nature and the sheer beauty even in the most populated areas.
Not even 50m behind my mother's place there is a huge public domain with playing fields for sports, running track and jungle gym playground. A favourite with the kids in our family is a visit to the duck pond where you will also see several native plants and the fun purple swamp hen - the pukeko.
Here are the kids gamely walking amongst the geese and ducks at Auckland Domain. We had heard rumours of one of them biting their little cousin so they were a bit wary.
I think I rewarded their bravery with yet another icecream! I've told you many times about the sheep of New Zealand. Have I also told you how many cows there are? Dairy products are a main export from New Zealand and I have to say you cannot beat New Zealand icecream. We can even enjoy the creamy taste of it here in Japan (thank you Co-op).