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14 Epic Events To Get Involved In This Auckland Anniversary Weekend And Beyond

By Lauren Sanderson
23rd Jan 2020

A boy walking in the sun with ice cream

For those of you who have had a long week, never fear as an extra long weekend is coming. Woo! And it's going to be a gooden. Auckland has something special up its sleeve—an epic line-up of events for you this Auckland Anniversary Weekend—from festivals galore, dance parties, yoga in the sky and movies under the stars. 

So, what are you waiting for? Get amongst the fun in the sun this weekend. 

Check out the awesome events happening in and around the city this weekend.  

All Weekend

Auckland International Buskers festival

An impressive line-up of international street performers will take to Auckland’s streets for four days of epic entertainment this month at Auckland International Buskers Festival. Prepare to be wowed—think breakdancing, music, hula-hoops, fire stunts, acrobatics and more. Auckland’s streets come to life as eleven of the world’s best buskers, including a Kiwi, perform some class acts to keep you entertained over the long weekend—so there’s no excuse to miss a thing.

SeePort Festival 2020

We love our city of sails and what better way to show it just how much we love it than with a three-day festival dedicated to Auckland’s beautiful waterfront. Returning for its seventh year of seaside fun, SeePort Festival will transform the wharf into a bustling summer festival. Think carnival rides, boat sailings, delicious food, virtual-reality experiences, simulators, port tours and that’s not all. Oh, and did we mention you can take in the beautiful city of sails from the air, as Heletranz are offering a $95 Helicopter flight—with views of the Ports of Auckland Terminal, Harbour Bridge, Waitemata Harbour, the City, Sky Tower and the North Shore—now that's a bargain. There will be music and entertainment on and off the water for you get involved in and even a live performance from Auckland Symphony Orchestra. All of this fun, whilst learning about the city’s rich maritime heritage, count us in!

10 Minute Dance Parties

Get ready to rave hard, in celebration of the universal nature of dance as Aotea Square hosts the ultimate dance party. It may only be for 10 minutes, but it will feel like a night out on the town—now that’s time well spent. Shimmy, shake and bop inside a converted shipping container and dance until your heart’s content—the best part is it’s free. So, if you’re looking at getting your groove on, but without the expense then Aotea Square is the place to be. Get involved this weekend.

Chinese New Year Festival - Year of the Rat

New Year seems like a distant memory now. Want to relive the NYE festivities all over again? Well, now you can as The Chinese New Year Festival is taking over Federal Street this long weekend. Expect lion dancers, Taiko drummers, traditional calligraphy demonstrations and dancing pandas, plus much more! Set amongst the backdrop of a beautiful Cherry Blossom tree, Auckland Night Markets and craft market stalls will also pop up under the Sky Tower. Keep your eyes peeled for the God of Fortune as they perform a SkyJump from the Sky Tower followed by the traditional ‘painting of the eye’ ceremony.

Friday 24 January

Movies in Parks: The Lion King

The sun is shining, the nights are light, so there is no excuse to be hidden away indoors watching Netflix. Get outdoors and watch a movie in the park instead, it’s way more fulfilling. Pack a picnic, or dig into the variety of food on offer and pull up a pew or should we say a beanbag and watch much-loved Disney classic The Lion King (the 2019 version) under the stars. Hakuna Matata.

Saturday 25 January

Exquisite Waiheke Pool Party

Did someone say pool party? Hell yes, count us in! Hold up, this isn't just any old pool party either, it’s on stunning Waiheke. WOW. Picture this—cruising to Waiheke, partying on a private resort minutes away from a golden sand beach, complete with pool, spa, minigolf course, bar and restaurant. Honestly, you had us at golden sand beach. As if all that wasn’t enough, there will be DJs to keep you partying long into the night—in fact MONTELL2099 will take you on a 90-minute journey through sound, accompanied by a fire and light show. Seriously, it’s the party of all parties.

Brazillian Day festival 

Head to Rocket Park, Mount Albert, this weekend to get a taste of Brazillian culture. The Brazilian Day Festival will have your taste buds tingling with an array of food stalls that will serve up traditional fare such as brigadeiro (Brazilian truffles), feijoada (black beans with rice Brazilian style), churrasco (smoked and slow-cooked BBQ), and Pão de queijo (cheese bread made with tapioca flour). Get in our bellies. That’s not all—delve into Brazil’s culture with samba workshops, Zumba classes, a bustling market, live dancers and we can’t forget the carnival parade. You can also try your hand at capoeira, a style of Afro-Brazilian martial art. So, what are you waiting for, get amongst the fun.

The New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million

An event not to be missed in Auckland's very busy social calendar is The New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million—one of New Zealand's richest sporting events. Watch in awe as 14 of the country’s best jockeys compete for their share of one of the $1,000,000 Karaka Million 2YO. If it's a day out at the races you want, then you're going to love this glamorous event. After all, who doesn't want to spend their Saturday popping bubbles, sipping on champers and living it up with the elite. 

Sunday 26 January

Sonorous Festival 2020

Calling all house and techno fans. If you haven’t experienced the magic of Sonorous Festival yet, then 2020 is your year. An epic line-up of international and local talented artists will take over Matakana Country Park during Auckland Anniversary Weekend—which means you can party on a Sunday without the worries of Monday looming on you. Some of the best names in house and techno will be creating some interstellar sonic grooves for you to get amongst.

Monday 27 January

Laneway Festival New Zealand

Get out those glitter sticks as the hottest event of summer is back and it brings a serious line-up with it. Some of the world’s most critically-acclaimed acts will be joining in the fun at Laneway Festival, party it up with the likes of English pop-rock band The 1975, Kiwi crooner Marlon Williams and pop princess Charli XCX. That’s one hell of a party. This inner-city fest is a hub of excitement and should be on every Aucklander’s calendar.

Tuesday 28 January 

All's Well That Ends Well | Pop-up Globe Youth Theatre

Watch as the talented cast of The Pop-up Globe Youth theatre brings to life the colourful characters in Shakespearean classic All's Well That Ends Well, adding a modern twist to the well-known tale that questions the social order and shows the headstrong determination of a young woman in love. You don’t want to miss out on the action as once the shows close the theatre will pop-down ready to embark on its overseas adventures. So, don’t miss your chance to see the final season of theatrical trickery from the masters of modern Shakespeare.

Wednesday 29 January 

Cinema at the Stadia - Bohemian Rhapsody playing at Mt Smart

Calling all Queen fans! Pull up a pew or should we say car at Mt Smart Stadium as they open their gates and transform the stadium into a drive-in cinema for the first time ever. Cruise along the turf and park up to watch the much-loved flick Bohemian Rhapsody on New Zealand’s largest outdoor screen. Popcorn and soft drinks will be provided plus if you’re feeling peckish there will be plenty of food trucks on hand to keep the hunger at bay. So, pop the sunroof, the boot or jump on the bonnet and sit back and relax under the stars.

Thursday 30 January 

Yoga in the sky 

Get your bend on and release your inner zen with a yoga class with a difference. We’ve all experienced yoga in studios, on the beach, home yoga but what about in the sky? How, we hear you ask? Well, SkyCity’s yoga in the sky takes your yoga experience to a whole new level, to the observation deck of the Sky Tower—186 meters above the CBD, to be precise. Soar above the clouds as you slide into cobra pose and relax while taking in the 360-degree views of the city. Sun salutation has never felt better, than against the backdrop of Auckland’s sunrise. 

Want to continue the summer fun? Check out the epic must-go-to festivals here.  

Image credit: Priscilla Du Preez

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