With Christmas just over one month away, it’s that time of year when towns and cities across the country start to get into the festive spirit with their Santa Parades, Christmas Markets and more. If you’re staying with us in one of our hotels in Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Picton or Dunedin over the coming weeks, this is a list of all the places you can get your Christmas fix in those cities in the run up to Christmas.
Christmas in Auckland
Auckland is not short of events and activities for Christmas lovers and is the perfect place to take the kids if you want to get them excited for Christmas. Here are some of the biggest Christmas events coming up in Auckland:
Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park – Saturday 10 December – Auckland Domain
This is New Zealand’s biggest, free outdoor Christmas party and is a hugely popular event on the Auckland calendar. This Christmas event has it all, live music from some of New Zealand’s biggest stars, an amazing fireworks display and some great entertainment. Concert goers are encouraged to purchase a light stick or to make a gold coin donation to the Youthline volunteer collectors. This is a family-friendly event and your host for the night will be More FM’s Simon Barnett.
Auckland Live Summer in the Square – 1 December – 24 February – Aotea Square
OK, so this one is not a specific Christmas event but it runs throughout the month of December so we think it’s definitely part of Auckland’s Christmas celebrations! For three months, Auckland’s Aotea Square will be transformed into Auckland’s biggest backyard summer party. Relax in a comfy bean bag or deck chair, soak up the sun and listen to live music from DJs, opera singers, mariachi bands and more. There will also be a pretty amazing Christmas Tree made from LEGO® plus loads of cool activities including e-bikes, salsa dancing, gardening sessions and more.
Christmas in Rotorua
There are also plenty of Christmas events and activities taking place in Rotorua this year from the Santa Parade to Christmas parties up the Skyline Gondola. Check out the best Christmas events in Rotorua:
Rotorua Christmas Parade and Festival – Saturday 3 December – Village Green
Kicking off Christmas early in Rotorua will be the annual Christmas Parade and Festival. Follow the parade and the awesome floats through the CBD before finishing up with a Christmas festival on the Village Green where there will be some free entertainment, delicious food vendors, some Christmas retail therapy and finishing off with a Christmas movie on the big screen. Sounds pretty awesome to us!
Christmas Party at Stratosfare – Friday and Saturday nights (25 November to 16 December) – Stratosfare
If you haven’t booked in your Christmas function yet, one of Rotorua’s best venues for a cracking time is the Stratosfare Restaurant at the top of the Skyline Gondola. Along with a fantastic festive menu, the venue will have an amazing festive theme and live entertainment. You can also add some luge rides or wine tasting to your package to make for an extra special Christmas party.
Christmas in Wellington
After the recent earthquake, Wellington is definitely in need of some Christmas cheer and this year they have pulled out all the stops for their Christmas on the Harbour event as well as the Christmas markets. Find out more:
Christmas on the Harbour – Thursday 15 December – Waitangi Park
Sol3 Mio will once again be brightening the end of the year with their festive celebration Christmas In The Vines. The beloved trio will be bringing the Christmas cheer to Wellington’s Waitangi Park with “Christmas on the Harbour” for the very first time in 2016. Also playing at Christmas on the Harbour will be Orchestra Wellington, Hollie Smith and Stan Walker in what promises to be an amazing night of Christmas festivities and great live music.
Wellington Christmas Markets – every Saturday and Sunday (5-20 December) – Underground Market
We love a good Christmas market and Wellington has a cracker. Every Saturday and Sunday up to Christmas, the Underground Market in Wellington will get into the festive spirit with a Christmas takeover. Experience the magic of Christmas with over 80 stalls of Christmas gift inspiration – shop for totally unique gifts in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere on the Wellington waterfront.
Christmas in Picton
Picton will also be getting into the Christmas spirit early in December as the town gets ready for a busy summer season. Find out more:
Picton Christmas Parade and Prize Giving Concert – Sunday 4 December – London Quay
This free event is a great one for families and a chance to get into the Christmas spirit just a couple of weeks out from Christmas. This fun, free afternoon includes a parade through the town where up to 40 floats or walking floats make their way through the town led by the Blenheim District Pipe Band. This is followed by the prize giving concert on London Quay where performers from local schools as well as local talent performers will entertain the crowd before a Christmas carol sing-a-long.
Christmas in Dunedin
Dunedin will also be joining in with the festive activities this year with their annual Santa Parade which is in its 19th year plus a great beach market which takes on a festive theme. Find out more:
Dunedin Santa Parade – Sunday 4 December – The Octagon
Dunedin’s annual Santa parade is now in its 19th year and continues to attract big crowds into the city with everyone keen to get into the festive spirit. The Santa Parade is Otago’s biggest free event and it announces the start of Christmas for the people of Dunedin. The parade makes its way down George Street and includes exciting floats, many bands, marching, Fire Engines, animals, Clowns and of course, Santa. The Parade is followed by a family concert in the lower Octagon.
Dunedin Beach Market – Christmas Market – Saturday 17 December – Forbury Park Raceway
Just a week before Christmas, Forbury Park Raceway will hold a special Christmas market in place of the usual Beach Market. The market is predominantly for craft stalls and is the perfect place to grab those last minute Christmas presents and pick up something pretty unique. The market will also have some top notch vintage stalls and second hand stalls as well as some amazing food stalls. They will also be putting on some great Christmas entertainment so get the date in the diary!