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December is here, and with it brings Christmasy and summery events, with a cool looking Santa wearing a pair of shades downing a Coke, as the unofficial mascot.
Because of this, and in wake of the Christmas parade, I've deep dived to fish out the many free things you can do over the summer holidays.
I've decided to miss out a few obvious ones, such as the damn beach, or going on a road trip with your friends. What's left is a bunch of legitimately exciting events, which for the most part are entirely free!
1. Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park
On the 14th of December, the Auckland Domain is turned into the most festive place in New Zealand. With what feels like every musician in New Zealand performing many of their own hits, as well as a ton of Christmas songs, it's a fun time. Add on the amazing sun and food trucks at your disposal, this could be a wholesome time & relaxing night with family or mates.
Where: Auckland Domain.
When: 14th of December, 7.30pm.
More Info: https://www.coke.co.nz/christmas-in-the-park
2. Movies in Parks
Auckland Council has become an absolute king of fun free events over the summer holidays, starting with the amazing Movies in Parks. These free movie events are located all around Auckland so you don't have to travel 30kms to take part!
Starting at 6.30pm there'll be entertainment for the family, with food stalls for those who have stomachs (you can also take your own wholesome picnic). At 8.30pm-ish, or when the sunsets, the movie will begin! Some of the upcoming movies include Toy Story 4, Detective Pikachu, Spiderman, among many others.
When: 24th of January - 18th of April, entertainment starts at 6.30pm, movie around 8.30pm.
More Info: http://www.moviesinparks.co.nz/
3. Silo Park, Summer at Silo Park
Silo Park offers a wide variety of activities to partake in. Pop on down to see a wide variety of movies like Aladdin and Rocketman, complete with food stalls prior. There's also funky markets dedicated to ice cream sundaes, dogs, and much more!
On top of this, there's a special Christmas edition on the 20th-23rd of December. This event includes DJs, a movie, festive food, drinks, Santa photos, and a lot more. And you know what the best part is? All of this is free! Bar the food and drinks of course.
Where: Corner of Beaumont and Jellicoe Street, Auckland CBD.
When: Christmas Special: 20th of December, 5pm & Summer Season: 3rd of January - 27th of March.
Cost: Free (unless you buy food)
More Info: https://www.silopark.co.nz/summer-at-silo-park
4. Music in Parks
I get that you're probably tired of everything being in a park, but welcome to New Zealand summer. Just like Movies in Parks, Music in Parks follows a similar route, free concerts (25 to be exact) scattered around many parks!
When: 12th of January - 11th of April.
More Info: http://musicinparks.co.nz/
5. Franklin Road, MOTAT, Karaka Lake Christmas Lights
Who doesn't love a giant snowman on someone's lawn? I'm gonna run through three of the absolute best Christmas light displays in Auckland.
- Franklin Road: Starting at 7.30pm every night from NOW till Christmas day, you can take a stroll and catch the amazing Franklin Road lights till 11pm! This is definitely the most popular of all the light shows so expect a massive crowd, but for good reason. Almost every single house on both sides of the road partake in this event and absolutely dress their house in some of the prettiest and wackiest lights around.
- MOTAT: To break away from the traditional Christmas light viewings look no further than MOTAT's Christmas Lights Nights. Beginning on the 13th of December till the 24th, the museum will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland with live music, movies, food, a light tunnel (whatever that is, it sounds cool), along with much more! There is a $2 entry fee for adults with this one, but it is well worth it!
- Karaka Lakes: This one is extremely similar to Franklin Road, with houses being absolutely dressed to impress, but instead of being limited to the one street, these lights are all around the Karaka Lakes area. Because of this, it's probably best if you view these lights via the pleasure of your own car while driving through the area. You can catch these lights sporadically throughout December, and they've already started!
Where: Franklin Road, Ponsonby; MOTAT: 805 Great North Road, Western Springs; Karaka Lakes, Karaka.
When: Franklin Road (1st - 25th of December, 7.30pm-11pm); MOTAT (13th - 24th of December, 8pm-11pm); Karaka Lakes (5th - 8th, 12th - 15th, and 18th - 24th of December, 9pm-10pm).
Cost: $2 for MOTAT, the rest are free!
6. Vector Lights - Christmas Edition
I don't know whose idea it was to chuck 90,000 lights on the Harbour Bridge, but I am definitely not complaining. Watching one of the Vector Light shows is perfect for a cute evening out with friends, or a more friendlier friend (wink emoji).
The theme for this show is the '12 Days of a Kiwi Christmas', which is a typical countdown story of Christmas with a Kiwi twist. The show repeats every 15 minutes, so pop down to a good viewing spot anytime within that 3 hour time.
Where: Harbour Bridge, but you should definitely park somewhere with a good view, don't drive over the bridge please.
When: 13th - 24th of December, 9pm-12am.
More Info: https://www.vector.co.nz/about-us/sponsorship/lights
7. Takapuna Summer Days Festival
With summer in full swing come January, why not start your Saturday off right with a daytime festival in Takapuna? With music, beach, food, and sun in the mix, what more could you want?
Takapuna is hosting a festival full of music, circus performances, and magic shows, while being posted next to the beautiful Takapuna beach. It'll be an absolute scorcher of a day (I hope at least), so the food trucks at the festival will be an absolute treat, with ice cream at the ready.
Where: Takapuna Beach, The Strand, Takapuna, Auckland.
When: 19th of January, 11am-7pm.
More Info: https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2019/takapuna-beach-summer-days-festival/auckland/takapuna
8. Christmas Markets
This needs no introduction, I feel as if these wholesome, feel good markets, are just as Christmas, as Michael Buble. This is a friendly reminder more than anything. Christmas markets are EVERYWHERE come Christmas time. So go on and have a Google, and find your local Christmas market, as well as the more popular ones you must see!
Cost: I mean it's free, but if you want something to eat, or a craft, you gotta pay.