1. Grab a fishing rod - and a kid
Luckier people than us reckon Auckland is a fishing heaven, and even without a boat you can get something pretty impressive from the wharves and rocky headlands on the Manukau and Waitemata. On the North Shore, you can go up as far as Hatfields Beach, or try your luck at Castor Bay, Birkenhead or Northcote Pt wharves. South, try off Duders Beach, or near Kawakawa Bay or Maraetai. City fishers hang about below the Harbour Bridge at Westhaven, around Tamaki Drive or even Mission Bay. Probably best not to head to West Coast beaches (or even the tidal Manukau) with inexperienced fisher people - those waves or incoming tides can be vicious.
2. Make a kite, go fly it
Might as well make a happy outing of the spring winds. A kite can be as simple as a plastic shopping bag, two sticks and some string (or Google how to make some pretty sophisticated upgrades), then all you need is a breezy park or beach or paddock. You'll be surprised how quickly your best flying technique comes back to you.
Kids, stand back.
3. Pump up the bike tyres, ride
Abandon the car and get the family on two wheels. If you haven't used the bike for while, get wheels, handlebars, brakes and helmet checked by a pro, then find a cycle path near you. Check aucklandtransport.govt.nz for maps.
Good beginners' off-road paths include the Rotary pathway in Pakuranga, Green cycleway between Takapuna and Devonport and Henderson's Twin Streams. AT is running great classes for beginners, this month and next - check the website. It's not to late to train for the Bike the Bridge on November 10. bikethebridge.co.nz
4. Put on your sneakers, walk
It's amazing what you can see when you're on foot, not on four wheels. Pick a neighbourhood you don't know, and just walk it. Auckland Council's website has some choice walks - the Coast to Coast from Onehunga to city, Manukau coastal or the Tahuna Torea are all doable.
Or you can do smaller chunks if small people are involved. Best of all, they're close enough to civilisation for a coffee or icecream to be not too far away.