Public transport is free across Auckland today as the city celebrates 100 million passengers using the network in one year.

A surge of passengers was expected today on buses, trains and some ferries, especially from families who may normally find the cost prohibitive.

As well as all buses and trains, most ferries are free including Auckland-Devonport and Auckland-Hobsonville . However Waiheke ferries are only free for people who already hold multi-passes to the island.

Passengers must still pay for ferries to Rangitoto, Tiritiri Matangi and Motutapu, as well as the Skybus to the airport.

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AT is hoping the scheme will attract new users who will keep using public transport once they realise how easy and pleasant it can be.

It's also a preview of things to come - from September kids will travel for free on public transport on the weekends.

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No HOP card is needed to board, which will make it difficult to register how many people use public transport today. But AT spokesman Mark Hannan said so far the day seemed successful - and plenty of families were seen out and about.

Social media posts report long queues for ferries and packed buses as Aucklanders take the opportunity to travel the city for free.

Auckland hit the milestone on June 6, racking up 100m public transport trips over the previous 12 months.

It's been a dream public transport campaigners once thought unattainable in a city where cars are deemed king - but Auckland now boasts the third-fastest growing use of public transport in the world.

AT chief executive Shane Ellison said the fare-free day was a way to thank Aucklanders who had helped achieve the milestone.

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"It's also a great opportunity for Aucklanders to try public transport services which have changed dramatically over the past decade."

Extra staff are at spots around the city to make sure it all runs smoothly.

Cross Auckland Harbour Bridge for free with the kids by taking the Northern Busway. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Cross Auckland Harbour Bridge for free with the kids by taking the Northern Busway. Photo / Brett Phibbs

What to do today on public transport

1. Pass through every station in one day

The Auckland Transit Challenge involves people racing to pass through every rail station on the network, plus the Northern Busway, starting and finishing at Britomart. If you haven't started yet there's still time - just make sure you tweet a photo from Britomart, Albany, Swanson, Onehunga, Manukau and Pukekohe - and another from Britomart at the end - with the hashtag #AklTransitChallenge.

2. See Auckland's most famous harbour from up high.

Head over the Harbour Bridge for excellent views of the Waitematā from the Northern Busway. The view from the front of a double decker bus is brilliant, if you can get a seat. Take the trip back after night falls - the lights of the city on the water are an iconic Auckland view.

3. Explore North Head's military history

Jump on the free train in to Britomart, then hop on a 12-minute ferry across to Devonport. From then catch the 806 or 807 bus to North Head to explore the old military tunnels. If it's fine you could even wander along the beach - but bring a raincoat as there are a few showers predicted. If that ferry's full, try the 52-minute ferry to Hobsonville Point, and wander the stunning coastal walkway.

4. Cycle the Manukau waterfront, then visit a free farm

Load up the family, with bikes, onto the train to Onehunga. From there, the cycleway under the Manukau harbour bridge will take you to the seaside suburb of Māngere Bridge. Cycle a few more minutes along the waterfront path and you're at the free, publicly owned Ambury Park Farm. Just be aware it may be a tight squeeze for two-wheelers on the train.