Colourful lanterns, Chinese food and fireworks made for a huge turn-out at the weekend's Auckland Lantern Festival.

The four-day event, which finished last night, celebrated its 17th birthday with a new and bigger venue: the Auckland Domain.

Tens of thousands packed out the event; causing delays and traffic blockages in surrounding streets.

Ahead of yesterday's final day of festivities, organisers issued a statement calling on the public to take public transport - or walk - to the Domain to ease congestion.


Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development spokeswoman Melanya Burrows said the number of people who had passed through the gates would not be known for the next few days. But the crowds had been "huge", she said, and the festival was well-known for attracting up to 250,000 people each year.

The international performers proved to be the crowd favourites this year, reeling in big numbers.

Among the international performers to take to the stage this year were the Guangzhou Acrobatic Arts Theatre group, the Shanghai Puppet Theatre show and the Second Hand Roses Band.

The fireworks display - a big highlight of the festival - topped off the event with a spectacular show late last night.