There may be no snow, but Aotea Square in the Auckland CBD is being turned into a wonderland of lights, entertainment and food this winter.

Dave Williams, originally from England, spotted the fairy lights on trees as he was coming into the city this week.

"As a guy who comes from some of the rougher parts of London, it's nice to live in a city that's so easy on the eye," he said.

"With the pink cycleway and these new lights, Auckland's got some great light features and a killer landscape."


Williams' said with the ice skating rink in the square, all he wished for now were for winter markets to make the city's transformation into a winter wonderland complete.

The night market is coming to Aotea Square for the first time this winter as part of the Elemental Festival. Photo / File
The night market is coming to Aotea Square for the first time this winter as part of the Elemental Festival. Photo / File

And it looks like Williams' wish will be coming true.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) confirmed that the light installations were part of the city's first winter festival - which will kick off next Sunday.

The month-long Elemental Festival plays on the elements of air, fire, earth and water and will host more than 50 free and ticketed events taking place in restaurants, bars, theatres, hotels and public spaces.

The Aotea Square lights and also on Vulcan Lane were by award-winning light artist Angus Muir, a spokeswoman said.

But dazzling light shows and other installations will also brighten up parks, the waterfront, city streets and other public spaces.

The Civic Square in Manukau with be lit by Haiku-inspired projections and animations, and an interactive light playground will illuminate Albert Park in the central city for a three-day event, Turama.

Aotea Square, which will host the ice rink and snug "dining igloos", is the festival's hub.


For the first time at the square, it's been announced that Auckland will be getting its own winter markets which will run from midday until late throughout the festival.

With more than 20 market food stalls already confirmed, they include Frenchy's giant crepes, Crispy Skin Peking duck wraps, Tako Yaki seafood balls and Elephant Ears Hungarian fried bread.

"Auckland is going to be the place to be in July," Ateed general manager destination Steve Armitage said.

"With Elemental Akl providing the stage to showcase the best of our cuisine, creativity and dazzling light shows, entertainment and culture."

Robbie Macrae, Auckland Live director, said Elemental Hub at the square would offer a "perfect one-stop, inner city mid-winter experience".

"It's all about getting together, sharing experiences and enjoying the array of fun, food and camaraderie that comes from getting out and making the most of what winter has to offer."


The festival aims to liven up the city in what is traditionally quieter part of the year.