It may sound strange to many people around the globe, but New Zealanders don’t celebrate a white Christmas. Instead, we celebrate a green Christmas here in Auckland and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere.

Each year from the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes Day kicks off the festive season with firework displays all around New Zealand. And when that happens, you know Christmas is coming!

In this post, we will share the top 13 special ways to celebrate Christmas in Auckland with your family this year.

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Christmas Tradition in New Zealand

You may have seen the native Pohutukawa trees all around Auckland. They are New Zealand’s native Christmas trees, due to the red flowers blooming around this time of the year. Now, Pohutukawa is a symbol of New Zealand’s culture and featured on many postcards.

© Photos by Kida

It’s a common sight to see Aucklanders load up their trailer or caravan, en route to a summer-long vacation by the beach (e.g. camping in Coromandel). Some choose to stick around town and enjoy late-night shopping at the mall. Others choose to hire a campervan and go on a road trip along the coast.

As for our family, we have decided to blend in with the locals this year and celebrate Christmas in Auckland city. We will hunt for the best Christmas events on Eventfinda and local websites and share them firsthand with you.


New Zealand Travel Guides by Region: North Island

Northland: Paihia | Tutukaka Coast | Whangarei
Auckland: Clevedon Coast | Matakana Coast | Waiheke Island | Waitakere Ranges
Waikato: Coromandel | Hamilton | Raglan
Bay of Plenty: Rotorua
Taranaki: Egmont National Park
Manawatu-Manganui: Tongariro


1. Christmas Parades in Auckland

From early December onwards, many local suburbs host their own community Christmas parades. Businesses in the area dress up in creative costumes, showcase their best performances with live, cheerful Christmasy music.

One of the highlights for our toddler is the number of lollies she can catch during the parade. Kids go mad collecting bucket loads of sweets that will keep them sugar high for the entire week! Occasionally, you can see rogue balloons flying in the air, or the sound of balloons popping, followed by babies’ cries.

© Photos by Kida

Last but not least, Santa himself makes an impressive appearance usually on a fancy vehicle. His jolly cheers mark the end of the parade. Followed by local market stalls, music, and entertainment are available before and after the parades.

Browns Bay Christmas Parade Santa Claus Appearance Auckland New Zealand Family Celebration
Santa Claus appearance at Browns Bay Christmas Parade 2019 – Auckland, New Zealand

© Photos by Kida

Farmers Santa Parade

The annual Farmers Santa Parade is the oldest and largest Christmas parade in Auckland. The parade features the most popular cartoon characters of the year, and the most recognized icons in today’s pop culture.

This parade attracts hundreds of thousands of people all around the world. You can expect to see some amazing floats and giant pop-ups. Kids expect to get showered with candies, lollies and confetti!

Don’t forget to check out Santa’s Party at Aotea Square afterwards! There will be food trucks, performances and carnival rides. What a way to celebrate Christmas in Auckland!

© Photos by Kida

Hot Tip

If you plan to travel by car, parking will be free at Downtown and Victoria Street carpark. Conditions apply, this year you must park before 11 am, and leave between 2-6 pm.

Farmers Santa Parades Christmas Celebration with Family in Auckland Santa Clause
Santa Clause Appearance at Farmers Christmas Parade 2017

Orewa Christmas Parade & Surf Sounds Concert

This year, Orewa Christmas Parade is bigger and better, followed by Surf Sounds Concert featuring guest artists. There are food trucks and amusement rides, located right by the beach with a big playground area.

When kids exhaust themselves with all the running around, set up your picnic rugs around the concert stage. Enjoy live music and the great festive atmosphere before ending the night with fireworks by the beach!

Orewa Christmas events have become our family’s favourite events to celebrate Christmas in Auckland and one of the most anticipated family day outs each year.

© Photos by Kida

Hot Tip

Traffic can be really bad after the concerts, so park a little further and bring your wheels if you’re travelling with kids.


2. Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park

This is our family’s favourite Christmas event in New Zealand, and it’s very much becoming a part of our family’s tradition to celebrate Christmas in Auckland.

Hosted by Coca-Cola at Auckland Domain, this free, family-friendly event attracts over 100,000 people annually. Featuring the nation’s top-performing artists, followed by one of the most spectacular firework displays.

Hot Tip

Getting to Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park can be a pain. With the amount of traffic, we would recommend taking public transports instead. However, if you don’t mind a bit of walking uphill inside the Domain, our secret parking site is at the University of Auckland Business School for a flat rate of $6 (Others are charging over $20 for the night).

Plan your travels early to get a good view of the central stage! But don’t panic if you arrive late, as there will be 2 large screens broadcasting the show live. Bring a picnic rug and blankets. We buy our glow-in-the-dark sticks for our toddler in local dollar shops for half the price before the show.

© Photos by Kida


3. Celebrate Christmas at Westfield Shopping Malls

Westfield shopping malls across the country are the first to decorate, bringing in holiday vibes with sales and kids activities from as early as late October! What a way to kick starts the school holidays.

You can find a list of events at the information centre at your nearest Westfield shopping mall. Alternatively, go on their website to check out the latest updates.

Some events include the Ronald McDonald show, colouring and creativity zone, face painting, photos with Santa, and visits from elf and ballerinas.

© Photos by Kida


4. Christmas Spectacular at Church

This isn’t just for Christian families. The 2 biggest churches here – Life Church and City Impact Church welcome everyone to their annual Christmas Spectacular.

Our family has been going to both spectaculars since we moved here 2 years ago. Each year, the biggest show at Church is brimming with joy and happiness.

Featuring some of the top-performing artists from Church, who have been rehearsing months before the big day. Bookings are essential, so get in early to reserve your spots. City Impact Church Christmas Spectacular remains a free, family-friendly event this year.

Life Church is accepting a minimal entry fee, which goes to a good cause. Not everyone in our family is Christian, but it’s a spectacular show welcoming everyone near and far to celebrate Christmas in Auckland.

Christmas-Spectacular-Life-Church-Event-2019
Christmas Spectacular Life Church 2019

© Photos by Kida

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5. Christmas Lights at Motat

Celebrate 12 magical nights leading up to Christmas at Christmas Lights at Motat. There are dazzling evening lights, fun, and entertainment for the whole family.

Don’t forget to bring warm jackets as the night falls. We recommend taking the tram early in the evening to avoid long queues, and enjoy the beautiful lights after it gets dark. Motat is our kids’ favourite event to celebrate Christmas in Auckland.

© Photos by Kida


6. Franklin Road Ponsonby

Franklin Road in Ponsonby will be transformed into an amazing fairylight-filled Christmas wonderland every evening in December. Park somewhere and enjoy the spectacular light displays on foot.

I was 26 weeks pregnant at the time and walked the street up and down without realising how long it was! Our family was completely mesmerised by this magical evening and really appreciated all the houses that put in a great amount of effort putting on the display to celebrate Christmas in Auckland!

© Photos by Kida


7. Christmas at Silo Park

Right before Christmas Day, Silo Park celebrates 4 days of family-friendly fun. Food trucks, live music, entertainment, and kids playground. And of course, our favourite of all – a classic Christmas-themed family movie under the stars. Home Alone for the 15th time, anyone?

Evening entertainment begins around 5 pm, but the movie only starts after dark, around 9 pm. Silo Park will be transformed into an outdoor cinema every week, playing the latest movies from January. So check out their website for dates, movies and rain-check updates and celebrate Christmas in Auckland this year with a cold cosy movie night under the stars.


8. Smith & Caughey’s Christmas Windows

At the end of December, the iconic department store in Auckland city – Smith & Caughey, will fill their display windows with Christmas decorations.

There is a theme each year based on a storybook. Many puppets are hand-crafted and creatively designed. The window displays will always be there, so you don’t necessarily have to go during opening hours. Our toddler couldn’t get enough of it!

You can also book a visit to Santa’s Enchanted Forest for a magical experience this year.

© Photos by Kida


9. Night Noodle Market at Victoria Park

This 10-day event is not exactly Christmas-themed. However, I’d like to include it here, as it lines up with the festive season. Night Noodle Markets are held in 3 major cities in New Zealand, Auckland Victoria Park, Christchurch and Wellington.

This year, the dates are from 4 pm between 29th Nov – 8th Dec. It’s a fun-filled cultural experience, more than just noodles and dumplings. There are 22 delicious and cashless stalls scattered around the park. Bring a picnic rug or find a sheltered seat and enjoy live performances until sunset!


10. Christmas Wonderland at Skycity

From early December to Christmas Eve, Auckland Skycity celebrates Christmas every Friday & Saturday night under the giant Christmas tree outside the Casino.

Auckland city comes alive with decorations and events featuring performances from talented artists. Bring the family and plan an evening with dining, entertainment and a chance to get a family photo with Santa!

© Photos by Kida


11. Carols in the Park

To celebrate Christmas in Auckland neighbourhoods, some local communities hold carols in the park in their local parks. You can find dates and times on local event websites or notice boards.

Cuddle up after dinner, and wrap up in warm blankets. Let the kids run and sing along to Christmas carols with a beautiful sunset as a backdrop.

© Photos by Kida


12. Christmas Markets

Most of the Christmas markets are on Saturdays and Sunday, but you can find some night markets in the city during the week.

These community Christmas markets are a fun day out for the family on a sunny day. Kids will love the carnival rides, performances, food stalls, and live music. Keep an eye out for flyers and billboards all around, or find the details of these markets on Eventfinda.

© Photos by Kida


13. Family BBQ

Kiwis love the combination of sunshine, beach and a good ol’ NZ barbie (BBQ). Now is the perfect time to gather your family and friends, spend a day at one of many the New Zealand’s beautiful parks or beaches to celebrate Christmas in Auckland!

Family BBQ NZ Aussie Barbie Kids Baby
Backyard Family BBQ

© Photos by Kida


13 Magical Ways to Celebrate Christmas in Auckland New Zealand

Toddler Celebrating Christmas with Santa Auckland New Zealand

1. Christmas Parades in Auckland
2. Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park
3. Celebrate Christmas at Westfield Shopping Malls
4. Christmas Spectacular at Church
5. Christmas Lights at Motat
6. Franklin Road Ponsonby
7. Christmas at Silo Park
8. Smith & Caughey’s Christmas Windows
9. Night Noodle Market at Victoria Park
10. Christmas Wonderland at Skycity
11. Carols in the Park
12. Christmas Markets
13. Spend Christmas with Family (Have a BBQ!)

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