50 ways to relive your youth in Aucklandby Alice Harbourne
Auckland life is way too hard. Here are 50 ways to find childlike joy when it all gets a bit too much...
Read more: 50 summer date ideas
50 things to do in Auckland for under $20
- Dance like a kid at cult dancing-in-the-dark event No Lights No Lycra. Gather in a community hall with a bunch of strangers, wait for the light to be turned off and then spend an hour dancing to an eclectic mix of music. No one watches, or talks either, and it's utterly joyful.
- Drink the flavours of your childhood. Bedford Soda & Liquor's Scarlet Fizz cocktail combines toasted marshmallows and popping candy with gin, hibiscus, raspberry shrub, lemon, egg white and soda.
- Have a standoff with the kids at the local park and nab a turn on the flying fox. Point Chev park has a particularly good one.
- Take a trip to Rainbow's End theme park and 'gram your little hipster heart out.
- Play air hockey at Newmarket TenPin bowling.
- Climb a tree/complete an obstacle course in Woodhill Forest.
- Eat jelly. Make your own sophis Jellyologist-inspired versions.
- Bounce. Try Uptown Bounce in Grey Lynn or JUMP in East Tamaki/Mairangi Bay.
- Slide down the adult-sized slide in Silo Park. While you're there play the public piano, splash in the fountain and speak into those fun ex-venitilation funnels.
- Rollerskate along Tamaki Drive. Hire from Ferg's Kayaks.
- Suspend your disbelief at Spookers, the haunted house experience usually favoured by teens.
- Visit the animals at Auckland Zoo, checking out the new $7m "African savannah" section while you're at it.
- Shoot hoops with your pals at the local basketball courts. It's even more fun if you're all rubbish. Here's a list of indoor and outdoor Auckland courts.
- Eat spaghetti for dinner. Now you're a grown-up you deserve Coco's Cantina's finest, and a glass of red wine.
- Play in the disused Morris Minor at Juke Joint BBQ and Brothers Brewery. The ex-delivery truck is actually meant for kids, but the retro toy trucks, robots and cars littered throughout this restaurant/brewery are designed to appeal to your childish sensibilities.
- Crack the secret code and escape a room you voluntarily agreed to be trapped in at Escapade.
- Go bowling. The bar at Queen St's Metrolanes has an underrated view of Aotea Sq, too.
- Eat glorified baby food for breakfast. Smoothie bowls seem to be an unstoppable force on the Auckland breakfast scene, tell your teeth to stand down and slurp like a baby. (Little Bird's OG Acai Bowl is still the best, in our opinion).
- Buy stickers! And do what with them? We're not sure, actually, what did we used to do with them? Maybe cover your parents' furniture in them for old times' sake? Collected by LeeAnn Yare stocks colourful yet classy stickers that will ignite the same irrational passion you felt when gifted shiny/furry ones as a child.
- Play hide and seek in the historic tunnels at Maungauika/North Head.
- Go ice skating. The pop-up winter wonderland will be back in Aotea Sq before you know it, but until then you can head to Paradice in Avondale for an indoor slide-about.
- F' the Pump class and pick up a skipping rope instead.
- Get a book out of the library. Or even better, rent a CD! Listen to it the whole way through even if you don't like it; that seemed to be the requirement of yore.
- Dress up or simply browse the weird and wonderful ex-TV & film costumes at fancy dress shop First Scene.
- Start a worm farm. Picking up worms might not have the same gross-out effect that once made you cool at school, but they go a long way to helping the environment by composting food waste, which is definitely 2K16 cool. The Compost Collective offer free Auckland composting courses.
- Splash in puddles. Auckland winter is shitty, yes, but dressed in waders and gumboots? Well that's a bloody puddle party for one!
- Buy a comic. Buy three comics if you like, there's no one to tell you what to do anymore! Established in 1995 Heroes for Sale is Auckland's iconic comic store, get lost in there.
- Marvel at gross sea creatures and allow childish curiosity to reign in any one of Auckland's myriad seaside rockpools.
- Rave. Yeah it's not really a thing anymore, is it? The non-drinking Zoellas of this world have had such a disappointingly sensible influence on youth culture. Host your own instead by tin-foiling your apartment and replacing all the energy-saving bulbs with Trainspotting-red ones. Or simply look out for live music in party-vibes venues like Neck of the Woods and Wammy.
- Get lost in a maze. Located next to Spookers (11), the Amazing Maze n' Maize affords an opportunity to get lost for an hour or two, and what could be more fun than that? Dramatic renactments of the Triwizard scene in Harry Potter also a must.
- Jump into water. It's getting cooler so do this one soon. The Old Cement Works in Warkworth - a flooded quarry that's much more picturesque than that sounds - is a perfect spot for this.
- Play mini-golf with dinosaurs in the basement of the Metro Centre on Queen St.
- Ride a horse. Your childhood friend was obsessed but you never got it, maybe it's time you did? One-hour treks for beginners are provided by Muriwai Beach Horse Treks.
- Eat pancakes. Order the blueberry buttermilk griddle cakes and a creamed soda at The Fed and live your childhood dreams.
- Try and get a butterfly to land on you at Butterfly Creek.
- Drink a glass of banana milk on the Moustache Milk and Cookie Bus. Dunk a freshly-baked Nutella cookie in it.
- Go-kart. Try Formula E's fast indoor track in Manukau.
- Scan the beach for the best shell. Hold it up to your ear, hope there's not a creature inside.
- Build a monument made of sand. Your motor skills are wasted in your office job, flex them at the beach by crafting a sand mansion/fort/sculpture.
- Eat dessert first. Start the evening with an a la carte dessert at Miann (57 Fort St). Wander next door to Ima for slow-braised Lebanese lamb and a whole host of Israeli-style sides. Finish off like a grown-up with Espresso Martinis at Ostro’s City Terrace Bar.
- Feed the animals at Ambury Farm.
- Play a game of tag in Auckland Domain.
- Find the toys of your childhood at the Auckland Hobbies Fair (11 April, Freeman's Bay Community Hall), New Zealand’s largest collectors fair for model trains, collectable toys, sci-fi collectables, and more.
- Play laser tag. Go for cocktails in your activewear after a game at Megazone Ponsonby.
- Write a thank-you letter, it may be March but do your folks know how much you love your Christmas cufflinks?
- Stage a blindfolded taste test with a friend. Compare chocolate milks, ice creams, kombucha...
- Draw at Auckland Art Gallery. Either sketch of your own accord, or take advantage of activities ostensibly intended for children.
- Get muddy. The tree-planting trips organised by Motuihe Island Restoration Trust feel like a bit like school trips by virtue of a sausage sizzle lunch and group treks across the island.
- Meet a few penguins at Kelly Tarlton's aquarium.
- Remember how dope LEGO is at the Auckland Brick Show, a showcase of model villages and themed displays by New Zealand fanatics.
Read more: 50 summer date ideas
50 things to do in Auckland for under $20
Main photo: Getty.
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