Santa Parade: What you need to know

By Ophelia Buckleton

Santa will make his way down Queen St this weekend during the annual Farmers Santa Parade in Auckland. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
Santa will make his way down Queen St this weekend during the annual Farmers Santa Parade in Auckland. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

Excited kids will line the streets of Auckland CBD today to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas in the annual Farmers Santa Parade, but this time with a difference.

The star of the show will be taking a new route due to roadworks on Albert St, brought on by the City Rail Link.

The parade will begin on Mayoral Drive as in previous years, however Santa and his sleigh will turn right in to Customs St East at the foot of Queen St, before finishing at Britomart.

Thousands of people are expected to turn out for the parade which is in its 83rd year.

Highlights this year include the Koi Boys, three Angry Birds helium inflatables, Disney's Mickey and Minnie Mouse inflatables, Austin Powers and a Cinderella float.

There will also be a float to celebrate to our five Kiwi Paralympians for their outstanding accomplishments in Rio earlier this year.

The float will include our Paralympic superstars Holly Robinson, Anna Grimaldi, Nikita Howarth, Rebecca Dubber, Laura Thompson and Jesse Reynolds.

Start time:
Pre-parade entertainment will begin at noon before the parade at 1pm.

The after party:
Go along to meet Santa in Aotea Square at 2.30pm. Santa's Party will feature a stage show, including The MOE Show, the Powerpuff Girls and Auckland's best acrobatic duo with their 'Merry Circumas' performance.

There will also be rides, face painting, a photo booth and a spectacular LEGO Christmas Tree.

Route:
Santa will leave from the corner of Mayoral Drive and Cook St, guiding his sleigh down Queen St and turning onto Customs St East, ending up at Britomart Place.

Parking:
Free parking available between 1pm and 6pm at Downtown Carpark on Customs St West and Victoria St car park.

Parking restrictions will be in place on Upper Queen St, Randolph St, Vincent St, Beach Rd, Princess St, Queen St, Quay St.

Auckland Transport is urging people to plan ahead and travel early to avoid the madness.

Road closures:
All inner-city roads will be closed from 11am until approximately 5pm.

Weather:
A few showers are forecast for Sunday, however mainly in the evening. In case of bad weather, the parade will be postponed to Sunday 4th December.

Listen to Newstalk ZB after 9am on Sunday for cancellation announcements.

Transport:
Free shuttle
A network of three shuttle services will operate free of charge between 6am and 5.30pm.

Central- Victoria Park to the University of Auckland (every 10 minutes)
Northern- Victoria Park to Britomart (every 5 minutes)
Eastern- Britomart to the University of Auckland (every 5 minutes)

Buses
Buses will operate to a Sunday timetable and normal fares/passes apply.

Auckland Transport now has 99 cent weekend fares for children aged 5 to 15 travelling on an AT HOP card.

A number of CBD bus stops will be relocated and there will be some diversions in place due to road closures. Santa's helpers will be in site to assist passengers.

The CityLink will not be operating from 6am to 6pm.

Additional bus services
•Howick & Eastern - 500, 550
•Birkenhead Transport - 955, 973, 974
•Go WEST - 136, 153, 222, 224
•Metrolink - 248, 258, 267, 277, 302, 312
•756 City Centre to Panmure via Mission Bay and Glen Innes
•Northstar - 839, 858, 875, 879
•Northern Express
•Albany to City Centre via all Busway Stations
•Additional Northern Express buses will travel to Victoria Park (temporary bus stop on Beaumont St) between approximately 10.45am and 12.30pm, with at least 8 services per hour. Outside these times, the frequency from Albany is 15 minutes.
•Hibiscus Coast Station to City Centre- every 30 minutes all day.
•City Centre to Albany and Hibiscus Coast Stations via all Busway Stations
•Additional Northern Express buses will be on standby to depart from Victoria Park (Fanshawe St - stop 7036) as frequently as required from around 2.15pm, including some extra buses going as far as Hibiscus Coast Station.
•When the extra buses are no longer required, the frequency to Albany will return to 15 minutes and to Hibiscus Coast Station every 30 minutes.

Ferry
Fullers will have additional ferry services to get you to the parade, normal fares/passes apply.

Train
Every 20-30 minutes on most lines into the city. Normal fares/passes will apply.

Auckland Transport is urging those travelling on the Western Line to use the eastern entrance to Britomart in Takutai Square.

For those using the Southern, Eastern and Onehunga Lines use the Queen St, Tyler St and Galway St entrances into the Britomart building. The back entrance from Commerce St is closed.

No balloons are to be carried inside the train station or on board, due to the risk of contact with overhead powerlines.

- NZ Herald

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