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22 Epic Things To Do In Auckland This Waitangi Day Long Weekend

By Alice Rich
2nd Feb 2023

Let’s try that again shall we? Cross your fingers and pray for sun. Maybe throw in some sun salutes for the ultimate manifest because this weekend’s going to be fire (unless, of course, it’s just very wet instead, and not in the fun way). 

Luckily, there are a whole lot of weather-proof frivolities going down this weekend, from responsibly imbibing your weight in rosé, a brand new bottomless afternoon tea to all the Vengaboys you can handle (from afar… with your eyes only, thanks). The Auckland Pride Festival returns in full glory and there’s an actually rad Waitangi Day celebration planned for Monday too. All this and more. Get amongst before Summer slides into mythic status. 

Here are 22 epic things to do in Tāmaki Makaurau this Waitangi long weekend. 

Friday 3 February 

Take A Bite Of Lychee Baybee

Lunar beginnings combine with Pride 2023 in Lychee Baybee, a juicy concept party platforming creatives, artists and performers of Asian descent. Bringing Sichuan level hot to Phoenix Cabaret, you’ll be treated to performances by Imugi, Maiden Chai Noir and Coven-Aucoin, with bangin’ beats by KC YO, RNGSUS, Little Bok Choy and Sinjin. 

Level Up Your Doodling 

Swap your screen for a pencil this Friday and try your hand at live drawing at the Auckland Art Gallery. These sessions are a great way to shake off any workday tensions by flexing your creativity in the gallery spaces of Tāmaki Makaurau’s art capital. You’ll be guided by observational drawing tutor, Abbey Lyman, and drawing materials are provided (but you’re welcome to bring your own provided they’re dry). 

Level Up Your Bottomless Brunch Game

Bottomless Brunch, like wearing athleisure with no plans of working out, is an iconic part of the culture of Tāmaki Makaurau. But now the magic of bottomless brunch meets the boujee fantasy of afternoon tea in a sweet little number put together by the good folks at Park Hyatt’s The Living Room and it’s launching this weekend. Enjoy a five-course afternoon tea menu, live-looping tunes by DJ Sam Jones and, of course, two hours of bottomless mimosas, Prosecco and shandies. Yaaaas.

Feast On Tāmaki Makaurau’s Tastiest Food Trucks

The Food Truck Collective is slingin’ all your fave eats this weekend so head along to Point Chevalier Community Centre for mouthwatering kai by Cream Ice Cream, Hapunan, Paella Pan and Smoothe Operator. Busy Friday? No problem! Pop to Auckland Botanical Gardens on Saturday for a similarly delicious lineup.

Saturday 4 February

Rose Tint Your Weekend 

Is there anything better than a glass of ice-cold rosé? If like us, you just can't get enough of the pink stuff then you'd be pleased to hear that our fave one-day wine fest, Rosé All Day, is back—bringing with it 50 different varieties of rosé from New Zealand and all over the world to East St. Hall. 

Taste All The Gins

If gin’s more your tipple of choice, act fast and nab a pair of tickets to the only remaining tasting session at the Auckland Gin Festival. Get your sip on, big time, with 150 boutique gins to sample and loads of tasty treats by Local Legends Eats, Karmic Kitchen, Cream Ice Cream and Karaage Boy to balance out all that, erh, hydration. 

Flex Your DIY

Resolved to stop supporting fast fashion this year? Give your duds a whole new lewk with a Tie-Die Workshop hosted by The Recreators on Queens Wharf this Saturday. Drop in between 10am and 4pm with the weariest piece of your wardrobe or get amongst a bunch of the second-hand t-shirts provided then tie-die like there’s no tomorrow (which, ironically, makes it more likely there will be a tomorrow).  

Put All The Boom In Your Room

If you’re all about the 90s-soaked nostalgia (you are) and you like to party (you do), jump aboard a plane to Ibiza—wait, no, head to the Auckland Town Hall this weekend for the Vengaboys’ 25th Anniversary Tour. That’s right, the Vengabus is coming. Featuring special appearances by Whigfield, N-Trance, Reel 2 Real and The Mad Stuntman, and Resident DJ Nick Skitz, this is one lineup that’s sure to make you go shalalala.

Sunday 5 February

Live It Up

McDonald Street will be awash not with flood water but with craft beers and ciders as part of Ubernaut Brewing’s brand spanking new Morningside Live Block Party. The boutique one-day event will be headlined by Fat Freddy’s Drop and a slew of other hyper talented acts, plus comedy from Chris Parker, Janaye Henry, Guy Montgomery and Courtney Dawson. Heck, there’s even live-drawing, whatever a ‘Big Fan Hot Box’ is, a chill out zone and a mackin’ Fat Freddy’s inspired Philly cheesesteak. Damn.

Nod Your Head 

Score a soulful serving of house at Takapuna’s Regatta Bar this weekend, serenaded by beats by Peter Urlich & Bevan Keys, BAVHU, Sweetpants and General Lee at Nice ‘n’ Urlich ‘Shore Thing’. Spring for a boujee VIP package for a private spot with plenty of beverages and eats. Luxe. 

Zen Out In The Botanical Gardens

If you’re in need of a good stretch, a bit of yoga might be just the thing, especially if it’s in a judgment-free setting in the shade of a tree. Luckily, that’s exactly what yogi Angeli Kapoor is offering—free yoga in the Auckland Botanical Gardens every Sunday. Designed to be accessible for beginners and aspiring yogis alike, this is yoga at its finest. BYO mat and an open mind. 

Set Yourself Up For A Very Smooth Sunday

Pssst, secret New York-inspired cocktail bar, Caretaker, offers live jazz every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night from 9pm. The perfect tonic to a wild weekend, shimmy on over to the speakeasy for a total change of pace and unwind with tastebud-tingling cocktails and all the good vibes. Just please don’t ring the bell. 

Monday 6 February

Tune Into The Treaty Grounds With Whakaata Māori

Roll out of bed early on Monday morning to catch a very special live broadcast direct to you from the Treaty Grounds at Te Tii Marae. Screening on Whakaata Māori and MĀORI+ the festivities kick off at 5am with an opening karakia followed by an inspirational kōrero with kaumātua, light-hearted debate, kapa haka, docos and movies. 

Celebrate Māoritanga 

Pulotu Underworld is throwing Hoki Whenua Mai, a party for Māori by Māori at East Street Hall this Waitangi Day. Kicking off at 3pm, and featuring performances by AJ Honeysuckle, Caru XO, Katayanagi Twins, Lady Shaka, Pohewa, Poppa Jax, Seymore and Thomas Rose, this is sure to be one to remember. Tickets are available for both Tangata Whenua (Māori) and Tangata Tiriti (non-Māori) to also attend and support other cultures. 

Feast Up Large

If a laid-back long weekend is more your vibe and you’re all about the good eats, you’ll be stoked to know that many of Tāmaki Makaurau’s best cafés, restaurants and bars are keeping their doors open to sling all the tasty treats. Check out the full list here then get to feasting. Cheers to that. 

All Weekend

Paint The Town Rainbow

Everybody say love. February marks the beginning of Auckland Pride Festival and we’re here for it. Yes, it’s that beautiful time again—a chance to celebrate Tāmaki Makaurau’s vibrant takatāpui and queer communities through creative talent, togetherness and love. This year’s theme is Elevate which has been defined by the organisers as defy, transcend, energise, slay and unify, so you know it’s going to be a vibe. 

Pop All The Bubbles 

Make like that obviously disturbed but absolutely endearing bubble-obsessed fish in Finding Nemo and live your full bubble fantasy at MOTAT this weekend, elbowing small children out of the way as you catch and paint with bubbles. There’s even a bubble show to ooo and ahhh over, as well as giant bubbles you can get inside. No joke. All that excitement will leave you in need of a feed so you’ll be relieved to know there’ll be food trucks on-site to keep you… bubbly. 

Pedal For The Planet

If summer’s far too moist for you and it’s got you feeling all climate change-adjacent, jump on your bike and ride. That’s right, you can channel all that angst into the Aotearoa Bike Challenge stoked in the knowledge it’s wheelie good (we had to) for your health and for the environment. Simply register, mount your two-wheeled chariot, log your rides and earn points, and maybe even some rad prizes. 

Get Those Steps In

If the sun is shining (what is that like again?) a long weekend is a great opportunity to make the most of the stunning nature walks in and around Tāmaki Makaurau. Whether you’re after a coastal stroll, a slog up a never-ending staircase, a forest-bathe or an urban jaunt, we’ve got it all. Check out the best the city has to offer, take your pick, then get wandering. 

Spend A Wholesome Day Picking Strawberries

Fun fact: a strawberry isn’t technically a berry at all but bananas, avocados, pumpkin, tomatoes, watermelon and kiwifruit are. Ponder that while you’re plundering the strawberry fields, and don’t forget to reward yourself for all your hard work afterwards with a real fruit strawberry ice cream. Summer incarnate.

Witness A Renaissance Of Classic Proportions 

An immersive multimedia experience is gracing Aotea Centre in a classical sound bath where artworks by renowned Renaissance artists come alive before your eyes in RENAISSANCE The Age of Genius. The impressive lineup includes the likes of Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, Titian, Peter Bruegel the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Albert Durer. Swish. 

Get Answers To An Ancient Mystery

Stans of the famed stone circle, Stonehenge, will want to hightail it to Auckland Museum to get the down-low on some pretty spicy Stonehenge secrets. Delving into all the big questions—who built it, the intentions behind it, and its role as a domain of the dead-this world-class exhibition is a must-see. Around until 25 April 2023, it’s sure to rock (we had to). 

Weather got you feeling the winter blues? Uplift with your soul with the best feel-good flicks on Netflix right now. 

Image credit: Imugi.

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