Here's your not-to-be-missed hit list of all the best things to see and do this Christmas in Auckland.
1. Check out the beautiful new Queen Street Christmas lights - 1200 pentagons will colour the streetscape by day and turn into a stunning synchronized lighting display each evening during December.
2. Watch live performances in Aotea Square (7-21 Dec) including Random Acts, Bandstand under the Stars, and Live Music at Lunchtime.
3. Christmas Markets in Aotea Square, 14-16 Dec. Fri 5pm-10pm, Sat and Sun 10am-5pm.
4. Wynyard Quarter's Advent Calendar - if you haven't been down, go and check it out. Artwork by NZ artists Dick Frizzell and Billy Apple are just two of the 25 images featuring in the largest Christmas Advent Calendar Auckland has ever seen. Doors open daily.
5. Silo Park's Night Market will be on each Friday in December, from 5pm followed by the Silo Outdoor Cinema at 9pm.
6. Santa's Grotto at Smith and Caughey's, Level 6, Queen Street.
Santa will be there daily until Christmas Eve for wish lists to be rectified and photos to be taken. The delightful window displays are not to be missed either.
7. Telecom Christmas Tree in Victoria Park, after 5 years running, it's become an Auckland tradition, and we love it. This year your best bet is to park in downtown (just $2 per hour, evenings and weekends, to a maximum of $8) check out the Queen Street lights, wander through the viaduct across Te Wero bridge along to North Wharf, check out the stunning Silo's with poetry by CK Stead. Marvel at Wynyard's Advent Calendar, then cross the road to Victoria Park to end your spectacular Christmas trail under the Telecom Christmas Tree.
8. BIG little City Rides of the Christmas Lights and Sights, if seeing all the Christmas sights of the central city sounds like a bit too much walking for you - flag down or call a pedi-bike cab. For $5 per person go on a tour of the city's Christmas lights and favourite sights. 0800 422 453.
9. Santa on Whitcoulls Corner, after 53 years, our giant Santa is an icon, it just wouldn't be Christmas in Auckland city without him. Make sure you give him a wink while you are shopping, he can't wink back any longer, some would say sadly, others would say thankfully.. but we think the big guy des4erves a respectful nod none-the-less.
10. Doves in Durham and Angels on Elliot - we couldn't decide, but whether you meet for your Christmas catch-up in the casual chic of Mezze Bar in Durham Lane or a bite to eat at Elliot Stables, enjoy the Christmas cheer of our city's beautiful decorations.