Can you believe we are already three months into 2020? I guess it is true that time flys when you are having fun! But we still have one more month of summer, and we refuse to let it go to waste, with so much more events, concerts and activities happening in the city in March, there is no excuse to not get out and make the most of that blistering Auckland summer! and luck for you, we have rounded up some of out favourite events to get you inspired.
Auckland Fringe 2020
Easily one of the highlights of the year, Auckland Fringe is the catalyst for the most exciting, outrageous and unique events in the Auckland cultural calendar.
With a programme that’s open access and non-curated that has garnered a reputation both nationally and internationally, there’s truly something for everyone to sink their teeth into. Fringe festival is all about showcasing the country’s diverse range of art forms and creators of all ages, and a totally open-access experience that will bring the city to life with all forms of theatre, comedy, dance, music and everything in between.
The Book of Mormon
The Tony®, Olivier®, Grammy® and Helpmann® award-winning Broadway hit musical written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, is coming to New Zealand for the very first time, and is not to be missed!
The play is a satirical examination of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ beliefs and practices that ultimately endorses the positive power of love and service, through a series of laugh-out-loud musical numbers and great set pieces. Since making its world premiere in March 2011 at New York’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre, where it won nine Tony® Awards, including Best Musical, The Book of Mormon has been performed on three continents and won over thirty international awards. The musical has smashed long-standing box office records in New York, London, Melbourne, Sydney and cities across the U.S – so get in quick if you don’t want to miss out!
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays is New Zealand’s largest fun run, boasting over 29,000 participants each year – and growing! Our home is the vibrant city of Auckland, with the 8.4km course following the city’s picturesque coastline. Now in it’s 47th year, its a great way to get out and get fit, no matter your fitness level it’s great to say that you have been a part of New Zealand’s largest fun run!
Lenny Kravitz – Here To Love World Tour
One of the most successful and best-selling artists of his generation, Lenny Kravitz is bringing his famous brand of steamy rock and roll to New Zealand for the very first time!
Known for his undeniable, energetic gigs, as well as winning four consecutive Grammy Awards, Kravits has a huge reputation – and it’s pone he lives up to! Bringing all the classic hits along with the new music from his most recent album, Raise Vibration, where Kravitz elevates the union of rock n roll, funk, blues, and soul that’s not to be missed.
Summer romance is a staple of any summer, and if you are planning to visit us with someone special and you want to treat him or her right – then you have come to the right city! Brimming with so much on offer, for any price point, we have found three of our favorite date ideas to sweep your significant other of their feet.
Stardome Observatory and Planetarium
Let’s start this list off strong – Is there anything more romantic than a night under the stars? It’s a simple and peaceful idea, and luckily in Auckland, you can take your love to new heights with an evening at One Tree Hill’s Stardome Observatory and Planetarium, where you’ll be treated to drinks, canapés, and a stunning night sky show that pays tribute to the heavens’ most romantic objects. And we guarantee you’ll be feeling the love, even more, when you’re presented with a gift box containing an Adopt a Star pack and other charming goodies, also included in the ticket price. So grab your guy, or girl, and head along to see if your love is truly written in the stars!
Maybe you want to keep it simple – how about Auckland’s most creative and delicious ice cream parlor?
This inner-city outfit definitely sets the bar for originality, serving up epic creations that are known just as much for their looks as they are for their taste, perhaps the ice cream in the shape of the Sky Tower, or maybe the one that looks like a giant squid. The flavours, however, are far from secondary—largely inspired by the owners’ Italian heritage and ranging from a delicious ‘bueno’ offering made with caramel, hazelnut praline and amaretti, through to ‘Cher’s chocolate’—a decadent scoop named after the American superstar who famously visited the store in 2018.
Westhaven Promenade Loop
Wanting to try something a little more active? Want to explore the city while spending some time with your loved one? Then this leisurely walk along the harbor is just what you need.
Take a stroll in the sun along the seven-kilometre Westhaven Marina, which begins at the Harbour Bridge end of Westhaven Drive. The wooden boardwalk parallels the harbor for seaside views of the Waitemata Harbour, Herne Bay Beach, and Cox’s Bay. In summer you’ll be greeted with blossoms of red pohutakawa in trees and coating the footpath! And the harbor is littered with restaurants, cafes and sweet shops that make it worth walking along at any time of the day – a nice day out of a romantic night walk – this is the cost-effective date or you!
We are two weeks deep into December and we are close to the festive time and New Years’ goodbyes and we have rounded up some of our favorite events to help keep you busy and soaking in the sun!
Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park
Gather your family and friends and celebrate the nation’s biggest free outdoor Christmas party! If you haven’t heard of this famous annual event, Christmas in the park brings the country’s top singers, dancers, and musicians together to ignite the big stage, performing your all-time Christmas favorites and hottest hits! This year’s line up includes Ladi6, Sons of Zion, Robinson, Vince Harder and so much more! There’s also great food, stalls, and fireworks on the night.
Once again Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park is supporting Youthline. Please be generous at Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park and buy a light stick or give a gold coin donation upon entry!
Want to get the little ones more hyped for Christmas, but also have them do some learning along the way? Then head out to MOTAT this December over twelve magical evenings when it’s heritage buildings, streetscapes and trams will be beautifully lit up with Christmas lights! There will be entertainment for all ages, including an outdoor ice-skating rink, and of course the opportunity to meet Santa and his elves and share in the magic of Christmas. There’ll be lots of things to see and do with live entertainment, indoor movies, tram rides, carollers, craft activities, Santa’s grotto and more! Best of all it’s affordable as heck – Just $2 entry fee per person, and children under 5 are free!
Christmas at Silo Park
Your much loved urban playground, Silo Park, is back and they are starting the summer season with 4 days of Christmas festivities!
From 20 Dec- 23 Dec they will have DJ’s, food trucks, entertainment, and games – we’ve even got carols for a sing-along! The Silo Park bar will be serving up delicious Christmas cheer and our mate Santa will be joining us for a few hours each day. There’s also the famous open-air cinema that kicks off with a user-voted Christmas classic!
New Year’s Eve at Sweatshop
For those that are a little bit older and want to head out top the biggest New Year’s Eve party in the city, look no further than Sweat Shop’s New Year’s Eve Party. Kick off the celebrations at one of Auckland’s largest outdoor decks, a prime spot to watch the Sky Tower’s fireworks display overhead. Sip away on a fresh brew or bubbles from our bustling bar, before dabbling in a dance with Auckland’s one and only The Beat Council and DJs.
SkyCity Boxing Day Races
It’s not boxing day without soaking in the summer sun at the races! Running for over 160 years, the most colourful fashion, high-octane racing, hospitality & family entertainment combines at the annual Ellerslie racecourse Boxing Day Races!
Iconic to Auckland’s social calendar, the SkyCity Boxing Day Races offer a winning trifecta of fashion, entertainment and some of the best thoroughbred racing on offer.
The Infield Family Zone is returning in 2019 and with it, some fun, free activities for the younger family members including free pony rides, a mobile barnyard and more. The perfect spot for a family picnic, children under 15 years of age get free entry into this precinct and you can use Ellerslie’s barbeque to cook your Christmas leftovers on.
Young, fun and keen to socialise at the races? Infield party precinct, The Paddock, is making a comeback complete with a full day’s line-up of DJs headed up by Jupiter Project!
Traveling up to Auckland this New Years and looking to see how the city brings in the new year? Then look no further, we have gone out and done some research and found some great parties, places and people to help start 2020 right!
Britomart Block Party
This iconic downtown party has been running for years and become a staple for those who love the Auckland Nightlife! Spread across 3 different iconic Britomart venues: Caretaker, AV Club and 1885, it’s a great way to experience some of the best clubs in the city. Featuring sets from Sigma, P Money, Dick Johnson, Aroha and many more—there is literally something for everyone!
NYE Black & Gold Gala Dinner
Looking for something less sweaty and cramped and more glitz and glam? Then head along to Stamford Plaza’s Black and Gold Gala Dinner where you can toast to the end of the year, whilst indulging in a menu to die for and cocktails galore. Think slow-roasted lamb, a whole barbecued angus sirloin, New Zealand and French cheese selection! It’s the perfect place to see in the year with some friends or a special someone, and have one of the best last meals of 2019!
New Year’s Eve At Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen
Want to rip it up on the dance floor, but also have the opportunity to see the New-Years fireworks at the sky tower? Then roll on over to Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen who (given the title of their bar) know how to host a pumping party! But this venue also has one of Auckland’s largest outdoor decks so you can take in the killer view of the Sky Tower fireworks as the clock strikes 12. There will also be live music provided by The Beat Council, DJ Styla, Joe Turk and DJ Lucas.
Probably the most notable on this list, Northern Bass is a staple in the NYE festival scene for a reason, Hundreds of people from all over New Zealand and the world flock to Mangawhai every year to attend this 3-day festival. End your 2019 by dancing the night away to the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, and start 2020 as you mean to go on by listening to sick beats, moving your feet and digging into some tasty treats!
The New Year’s Eve White Party
Looking for something a little bit more ‘formal’ but still encapsulating the boogie? Then the Brazillian white party, which is taking over Princes Wharf,is the New Year’s party for you. Pop those bottles and sip on the champers to your heart’s content whilst getting your groove on to Brazilian-Latino Sertanejo, Axé, Pop, Rock and Reggaeton jams. Grab your best white outfit and go get your boogie on!
One thing we can be proud of in our city is its diverse culture – and that diversity spreads to food. Having such a big city that sprawls across so many locations you are guaranteed to find something that pleases each dietary need.
With vegetarian and vegan diets coming more and more prominent, the city has adapted and some of the best restaurants in the city are vegetarian, so if you fall into this category, or just want to explore how the other half lives, here’s a guide to what the city has to offer:
Odettes Eatery offers a menu that has it all and is enjoyed by people no matter what their dietary requirements are. Although Odettes is not a café that is targeted at the vegetarian public, they won’t let anyone miss out on a tasty experience. Cauliflower lentil and halloumi, wild mushrooms doused in whipped feta, vanilla crepes and maple granola with peanut yogurt are just a few of their many vegetarian creations. This hotspot is located in the city works depot for those looking to explore the city center.
Little Bird Unbakery
Located in both Ponsonby and Britomart, Little Bird Unbakery was one of the first in Auckland to introduce us to the raw vegan movement with their bird bowls of absolute health, superfood smoothies and of course, their raw cheesecakes and slices. Home of one of the best caramel slices in town, it’s hard to believe that these tasty treats aren’t only free of animal products but also refined sugar! The Unbakery also whip up the richest raw vegan raspberry and cacao brownie, which is so decadent and rich, you won’t believe that it’s made from only natural ingredients.
Lord of the Fries
If you’re looking for a burger but avoid both meat and dairy, look no further than Lord of the Fries. This 100% pure vegan fast food joint doesn’t fool around with food and has created what many of us thought was impossible. Their mock meats make you forget that you’re not actually consuming any animal products—and they don’t just stop at burgers and fries. They serve uploaded up hot dogs, onion rings, nuggets and fried “chicken,” making Lord of the Fries the ultimate cheat meal eatery for the vegetarians of Auckland. With locations in queen street and k’road, this one is an easy find.
Located in Mt. Eden, this offering mixes American inspired diner food with a vegetarian twist. Ralph’s vegetarian sloppy joe with nacho cheese, jalapeños, and lime cream is one that will stay in your minds as it’s just that good. Located in Mt. Eden, Ralphs will quickly become a guilty pleasure for all those who enter.
Sometimes it’s hard to pack in exploring an entire city into one day, and with a city the sprawls as far as Auckland, ours can be especially hard! If your time is limited here in the city of sales and you want to experience the most of what Auckland has to offer, then many would suggest hoping a bus, boat or helicopter and take in a tour! We have done a little research and selected five tours that are well worth your time!
If you want to dedicate a whole day to explore the city at a leisurely pace, taking in all famous hotspots the city has to offer, then look no further than the full day Auckland Scenic Tours. You’ll start the tour off driving across the famous harbour bridge and along the Auckland waterfront (see why we are called the city of sails) as you are taken to your first destination: Devonport! You’ll be able to take photos of the city that are saved for postcards and advertisements as you reach the summits Mt. Victoria and North Head. This tour also takes you through the top shopping hotspots and historic locations such as in central Auckland and the Viaduct before you travel out West with a stop at the breathtaking Muriwai Beach to see the Gannet Colony. You’ll finish your tour, as all good days should, with a trip to a winery or the historic Riverhead Tavern – which is one of the country’s oldest pubs, with the second oldest liquor license.
Maybe you’d just like to get up in the air? For those who want to get a bird’s eye view of the city, this one is for you. You’ll get a look at the beaches of Auckland, the Sky Tower, and you’ll get to soak in the view from one of Auckland’s many (extinct) volcanos. You’ll also be dropped off for some fine dining, and the helicopter waits for you! This truly is a tour for those wanting to show off a bit of money.
Fine Wine Tours
Yes, there is no way we could make a list about tours without appealing to those who like a tasty drop and a good meal! Fine Wine Tours bring over 40 year’s experience with their guides, as they take you on a food adventure that includes a seaside morning coffee at Pt. Chev, tours through to fine food stores, wineries, vineyard, and markets. You’ll be packed to the brim by the end, but don’t worry, you’ll also be gifted a goodie bag of authentic New Zealand foodie items so you can keep reliving the magic for days to come!
If you feel like eating while burning off some of the food at the same time, then why not take a walking food tour? Eat Auckland offers walking tours of different varieties which include a walk along a lane of authentic Chinese eateries in Balmoral, or a tour for dumplings in the heart of the CBD or experience the fine dining of Ponsonby! This company has a walk for all taste buds!
Sometimes when you are traveling you want to save a few pennies here and there, especially if you have put most of your money into travel, accommodation, and one core activity such as a concert. But luckily for you, Auckland is bustling with a pleather of activities that have little to no cost, and we have gone out and done the research for you! Here are some of the best cheap activities in Auckland:
She’s a relatively new activity but is fast becoming one of Auckland’s most iconic, mainly due to the bright pink bridge that is quite hard to miss when driving into the city! This path takes you on a fun and interactive walk across the Auckland city center stopping by iconic locations and offering views only available on foot – and this one is absolutely free!
Auckland is called the city of sails for a good reason, and a walk along Auckland’s waterfront to Silo park will reveal exactly why. Silo park features a lot of things kids dream of including two playgrounds, the water, and a great viewing platform. There is also a selection of great restaurants and gelato ice cream if you do feel like breaching the wallet!
Goat Island Marine Reserve
The perfect low-cost summer activity is to grab some snorkels and togs and head out to the Goat Island Marine Reserve and explore the depths and watch the wildlife if the bustle of the city just isn’t for you, this one is tailor-made for you.
In the opposite season when the weather isn’t so great, sometimes you just want to be indoors, so why not catch a movie. Now, I know what you are thinking, movies aren’t exactly cheap these days – buts that’s where you’re wrong! Auckland has not one, but two low-cost options that won’t break the bank: Reading Cinemas offers $10 tickets for films, and Capitol Cinemas offer $11 Tuesdays as well!
Check out some local Live Music
For a unique night out, why not check out what some of Auckland’s local talent has on offer? You can find bands playing original songs for free, or at a low cost at such famous local venues as whammy bar, wine cellar and Portland public house. Usually featuring a wide range of talent and genre, these gigs can offer you something small towns can’t.
When you are on holiday in scenic New Zealand, there is so much on offer: water sports, breathtaking beaches, scenic and historic walks, but sometimes being spoilt and relaxing and getting a little tipsy is what the doctor ordered, and boy do we have just the experience for you: The NZ WinePro Tours.
Winning numerous awards in tourism this company offers the gold standard of day trips, curated by Tour Director John McFarlane who created the company in 2002, McFarlane has developed the company into one of Auckland prestigious experiences, and working with the department of conservation, has gained access to some of the city’s most beautiful and protected areas. WinePro offers four tours to choose from, each exploring a different part of Auckland.
Vineyards Honey and Black Sand Beaches
This tour is a six-hour journey around the rugged West Coast including the Muriwai black sand beach, but don’t fret, there is also a selection of historic and award-winning wineries to explore as well! First stop is Kumeu River Wines, Pioneers in New Zealand winemaking since 1944, sourcing wine from grapes grown on their own ten Kumeu and Huapai Vineyards. Following that, it’s Soljans Estate which also features special honey made from the native NZ Tea Tree, and after lunch an afternoon visit to West Brook Wines or the Hunting Lodge Winery for a lavish selection of wines in the cellar door shop.
Matakana Coastal Getaway Wine Tour
Heading North West on this tour, you will experience a tour through the coastal seaside resort towns of Orewa and Waiwera Mineral Springs. The wineries on this tour include Hunting Lodge Winery, lunch at Plume Vineyard Restaurant and an afternoon tasting at either Omaha Bay wines or Ascension Wines. Along the way, you will also get to stop in at the Puhoi Cheese Factory to taste some delicious cheeses, see a rare 850-year-old Kauri tree, and sample some native flora honey at the New Zealand Honey Centre.
Piha Karekare Rain Forest Wine Adventure
Head out west to the Piha region where you will Head up into the stunning Waitakere Ranges, Piha, and he beautiful Karekare waterfalls. During your journey you will get to taste of varietals and blends at Soljans Winery, Hunting Lodge Winery and West Brook Wines, Situated in the picturesque Waimauku Valley.
Muriwai Scenic Morning Or Afternoon Wine Tour
The smallest and most affordable tour available takes you out to the market garden and lifestyle areas of Kumeu, Huapai, Waimauku and the black sand beaches of Muriwai. In terms of tasting wine, you’ll be taken to West Brook Wines for a cellar door tasting and The Hunting Lodge Winery a modern winery to finish it off.
So if you are up for a day of exploring what the outer reaches of Auckland and this country has to offer, while experiencing some of our best wineries, this award-winning tour is one that is not to be missed.