Northlanders don't need to spend large heading to New Zealand's famous skifields this winter to enjoy ice skating. Just turn up at the Celtic Barn in Waipū, which will be transformed into a state-of-the-art artificial ice rink over the Matariki long weekend.
Promote Waipu has teamed up with the Whangārei District Council to offer Northlanders and visitors alike something new and to have fun, without breaking the bank.
The idea was mooted about a year ago during a meeting of Promote Waipū but plans were postponed due to Covid.
"The community needs a bit of brightening up so we decided to have Waipū on ice in
winter and it's proving very popular. We've never done this before - when we put a post on Facebook on a Friday, we sold out a session pretty much straight away," Promote Waipū vice-chairman Peter Gibbs said.
He said Waipū on ice would be programmed around Matariki. Sessions with students from Waipu Primary School on Thursday, June 23, and the disabled community two days later would be sponsored.
Public bookings are accepted for Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the skating times will be different each day.
"We are really trying to make it a family/community orientated event. People want to get out and do things, especially at a time when events are being cancelled.
"It's proving to be popular, not just in the Waipū community, but right across the district.
The council helped us with a grant and we'd encourage everyone out there to come and enjoy something different," Gibbs said.
He said there was only one supplier of ice rink based in Hamilton and it would require 10 people to put it up.
Skating will be open from noon till 5.30pm on Friday, June 24, from 11am to 8.30pm on Saturday, and noon until 5pm on Sunday.
Admission is $5 for kids under 16, $10 per adult and $25 for a family pass (two adults and two kids) and includes skate hire.
The charges are per half an hour of skating.
Tickets will be available at the door or can be booked online at trybooking.co.nz/KEA.
The first time Whangārei had an outdoor ice rink and a chance to get a glimpse of what a white Christmas in the Winterless North looks like was in December 2013.
A whopping 30,000 litres of water was frozen as part of the 10m by 30m rink.