Auckland City takes a big break

By Susan Edmunds

On land or at sea there are stacks of things to do on Auckland's Anniversary weekend, writes Susan Edmunds.

Gracie Bush (left), 12, and Felicity Rood, 10, taste some sea escargots at the Auckland Seafood Festival. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Gracie Bush (left), 12, and Felicity Rood, 10, taste some sea escargots at the Auckland Seafood Festival. Photo / Sarah Ivey

After a slow start to summer, the sun looks set to shine for the long weekend and there is lots going on around the city to cater to every taste. From regattas to music festivals, you won't be short of things to do if you decide to stay in town for the weekend. We round up some of the highlights.

FOOD

The Auckland Seafood Festival is one of the highlights on the city's culinary calendar, and it's happening on Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Wynyard Quarter, from 11am until 6pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and, although it is licensed, this is an all-ages event. There will be music from Hello Sailor and Avalanche City, and chowder, craft beer, champagne, oysters, scampi, scallops and mussels for the taste buds. Bellota, Bracu, Dine, Hammerheads, Kermadec, Marvel Grill, Sails and Urban Turban will showcase some of their top dishes.

If you'd rather take the chance to stock up your own pantry, use the long weekend to shop at one of the city's many markets.

The Titirangi Village Market is on at the War Memorial Hall, the Clevedon Holiday Markets are at the Clevedon Community Centre, and the Pokeno Country Markets and Gulf Harbour Village Markets are also worth a visit.

ON THE WATER

Head north for the Mahurangi Regatta at Sullivan's Bay, Mahurangi West, from 11am on Saturday. It's the biggest classic yacht regatta in the Southern Hemisphere.

Or head out on the Jane Gifford Anniversary Regatta cruise from Scott's Landing, also at 11am. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children.

As has been the case since 1840, Monday is the Oceanbridge Auckland Anniversary Day Regatta. The best spots to watch the regatta on the Waitemata Harbour are from the Viaduct Harbour - where organisers are promising lots of family activities, Bastion Point, North Head, the East Coast Bays, Tamaki Drive and Orakei Wharf. There will be the usual fleet of yachts, tugboats and tall ships as well as an air display from the Red Checkers and the Warbirds this year. Racing starts at 9.50am.

ARTS

Enjoy some Shakespeare in the Park at the 8pm Saturday session of Macbeth at the PumpHouse Theatre in Killarney Park in Takapuna. Tickets are $24 for adults.

Or head to Dingle Dell Reserve on Dingle Road for The Culture Garden, part of the Music in Parks 2012 series on Saturday at 6pm.

On Sunday, The Flaming Mudcats are playing Cornwall Park as part of the Summer Music Concert Series.

In the Auckland Domain, there's Jazz at the Rotunda on Sunday at 2pm.

Though this year's Big Day Out might have been the last, St Jerome's Laneway Festival on Monday at Silo Park, on the corner of Beaumont and Jellicoe streets, proves festivals are not a thing of the past. There will be three stages of music as well as boutique pop-up restaurants, food stalls, market stalls and art installations.

Check out some Chinese and Korean culture at the Chinese and Korean New Year Festival on Friday and Saturday at the Northcote Town Centre. The free event will feature demonstrations of martial arts and musical performances, as well as food and fortune telling.

Or, for something a bit different, wander around the 12th Annual Auckland International Buskers Festival, which is on all weekend in the central city. Performers include Victor Rubilar, who has broken four Guinness World Records with his amazing ball-handling skills and has also been shown on Sweden's Got Talent.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Get a dose of the countryside at the Warkworth A&P Show on Saturday and Sunday, at the town's showgrounds. It's one of the longest-running A&P shows in the country and will feature sheep shearing, livestock, wood chopping and sheepdog trials.

Or take a public tour of the Ports of Auckland, running every two hours from 10am until 4pm on all three days of the weekend from the Fullers Ferry Terminal on Quay Street.

Head for an evening at the races for the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million at Ellerslie Racecourse on Sunday. It's a twilight meeting for New Zealand's richest race, with a band playing after the on-course action.

And it's the last weekend to check out the Amazing Maze 'n Maize at Karaka, open from 10-5 on Kingseat Road, $35 for a family pass.

- Herald on Sunday

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