Bring out the lights and get those over-sized Christmas decorations out: It's time to light up Rotorua nights.

The Professionals Christmas and New Year Lights Spectacular is under way with people being urged to share the festive spirit and deck out their homes.

This year the event is being extended to run through the New Year, according to McDowell Real Estate Professionals owner Steve Lovegrove.

The real estate firm has been running the annual Christmas lights event for more than 15 years.


Mr Lovegrove said this year there was $3000 in prize money with $1500 cash for the first prize, $1000 for second and $500 for third. As well as being eligible for the cash prizes, there is also a $250 gift hamper for the best first-time entrant.

He said it was the first time the cash prizes went directly to the winners, previously the prizes went to a school of their choice.

To keep the charity aspect, text voting will cost $3 with money going to the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club to help with the operational costs of the club's new first response vehicle, Mr Lovegrove said.

"That will benefit all forest users: walkers, runners, horse riders and mountain bikers."

Mr Lovegrove said there were normally about 20 or 30 entries, but this year the hope was for 40 entries.

Entries are now open and will close on December 9 to allow a trail map to be produced so people can view the houses before Christmas.

Judging will take place between December 14 and 16, with winners announced on January 20.

The winners will be selected through a combination of voting and judging, Mr Lovegrove said.

To enter the competition look out for an entry form in the Rotorua Daily Post or pop into Professionals McDowell at 1290 Eruera St. Entry is free.