This week, take a gander at some incredible Renaissance works of art, eat all the treats at a despicably adorable minion-themed high tea, blow off some steam with a spot of axe throwing, paint your own masterpiece in a stunning location and get lost in an epic musical experience.
Later this month, salute summer with all the music festivals, craft it up at Fat Kitty Cafe and start your morning right with a rave on Queens Wharf. Not to mention, Hamilton, the incredible Cirque Du Soleil On Ice and the Moustache Cookie Bus' final roadie are in store later this year.
Here’s what’s on in Auckland this week, this month, and this year.
What's On In Auckland This Week
Learn How To Throw An Axe
Sweet Axe Throwing Co | Wednesday 25 January
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Find out by putting your wood-chucking skills to the test and unleash your inner lumberjack at the social axe-throwing league hosted by Sweet Axe-Throwing Co. Blow off some steam by chucking a few axes at a large wooden target, and don’t forget to aim for the bullseye for gloating rights, of course.
Beats By Bingo
The Portland Public House | Wednesday 25 January
Gather your music-loving pals and head to The Portland Public House this week for a night of musical madness. Beats by bingo is no ordinary bingo night, no siree! It’s a musical experience where song titles take over numbers on your bingo card. All you’ve got to do is get the right songs in the right line and you're a winner. Simples. Expect throwback jams, sing-alongs, prize-winning and a grand old time.
Paint In The Park
Grey Lynn Park | Wednesday 25 January
Get ready to get the drinks and your creative juices flowing at this boozy painting in the park event. Paintvine is giving you the opportunity to learn how to paint your own masterpiece with the help of step-by-step instructions and a bit of Dutch courage. Leave the art supplies and clean up to them, and simply bring your own wine or beer to enjoy a sunny evening full of tipsy creativity and conversation in one of New Zealand’s most idyllic parks. Head to Grey Lynn Park this Wednesday and paint a peony bouquet, oh, and don't forget to BYO alcohol and picnic.
Shakespeare In The Park 2023
The Pumphouse Theatre | 21 January-18 February
Feel like doing something a little more cultural this week? The PumpHouse Amphitheatre returns this year with Shakespeare in the Park. For their annual Auckland summer shows, the dedicated cast and crew have been working hard and will remain true to Shakespeare’s vision with professional performances of The Merry Wives of Windsor and Antony & Cleopatra. Grab a blanket and BYO treats, as well as some good company.
RENAISSANCE: The Age Of Genius
Aotea Centre | 4-29 January 2023
An immersive multi-media experience is gracing Aotea Centre in a classical sound bath where artworks by renowned Renaissance artists come alive before your eyes. The 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. Tickets are available here from $45.
Minion High Tea
Cordis Auckland | 5-31 January 2023
Cordis Auckland is embracing all things despicable with its adorable Minion High Tea. Join Kevin, Carl and their fellow henchmen for this school holiday extravaganza, featuring more blue and yellow treats than you can poke a banana at (because that's EXACTLY what a Minion would do). We're talking lemon macarons, Minion-shaped lollipops and suitably coloured popcorn (and for the adults, something a little more mischievous: sparkling wine, or TWG tea if you prefer).
Secrets Of Stonehenge
Auckland Museum | Until 25 April
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).
What's On In Auckland In January 2023
Movies In Parks
Various locations | January-March
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. January is full of fantastic flicks for all you movie buffs out there, so grab the popcorn and keep your eyes peeled for The Greatest Showman, Finding Nemo, Minions and many more.
Music In Parks
Various locations | January-March
You know it’s summer when you can kick back and spend your days outside listening to some free live tunes. Music in Parks' much-loved music events are back with an epic line-up this year. Groove to the sound of some of the best talent Tāmaki Makaurau has to offer. With more than 60 music artists on stage this year and a variety of genres like blues, reggae, opera and pop—there’s something for everyone to tune in to.
Fat Kitty Cafe Craft Night
Dominion Road | 24 January
Queer-owned and operated Fat Kitty Cafe’s monthly craft club is back for 2023! Hosted by Wool on Wheels NZ’s Julie Keegan, and kicking off at 6.30pm, head along to this cosy spot on Dominion Road to connect over craft and earth-shatteringly good pan Asian-fusion kai. If their Fat Hashbrown with torched vegan mozzarella is on offer, don’t say no.
Queens Wharf | 27 January
Cult-favourite Morning People are bringing the summery vibes to Queens Wharf with their signature high-energy early morning rave, complete with silent electronic music (IYKYK), coffee, fruit and Club Mate. The party kicks off at 6.30am and runs through to 8am making it a perfect wake-me-up before work. Tickets are free but are limited so if this is a bit of you, grab your ticket, stat.
Mt Smart Stadium | 27 & 28 January
Listen up! One of the world’s greatest pop legends is coming to New Zealand. Sir Elton John is gracing us with his presence and we can’t contain our excitement. He’s really pulling out all the stops for his Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour. It’s going to be a night to remember, with the icon’s legendary catalogue, “Bennie and the Jets”, “Rocket Man”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Crocodile Rock”, “Philadelphia Freedom” and many more. Whip out your feather boa and wave farewell to one of music's greatest treasures.
Auckland International Buskers Festival
Auckland Waterfront & CBD | 27-30 January
An impressive line-up of international street performers will take to Auckland’s streets for four days of epic entertainment this month at the 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 the world’s best buskers perform some class acts to keep you entertained over the long weekend— so there’s no excuse to miss a thing!
Auckland Folk Festival
Auckland | 27-30 January 2023
After a hiatus in 2022, Auckland Folk Festival is back with a bang celebrating its big 5-0. This celebration will span across Auckland Anniversary weekend for three days at The Kumeu Showgrounds. The lineup features a stellar selection of local and international artists including Folk Bitch Trio, The Jellyman’s Daughter, TE KAAHU (aka Theia), Sneaky Bones, We Mavericks and Kerryn Fields. And because it wouldn’t be a birthday bash without fun and games, expect songwriting competitions, traditional dance performances and dancing workshops too. It’s a 50th you don’t want to miss out on, so grab your tickets pronto.
A Female T. Rex Joins Peter At Auckland Museum
Auckland Museum | Until the end of 2023
From December 2, Auckland Museum will be the first place in the world to ever exhibit a female T. Rex skeleton alongside a male one. While Peter has been installed at the museum for some months, soon he will be joined by Barbara who is also one of only three pregnant, female T. rex ever discovered. “This is an incredible coup for Auckland Museum and all New Zealanders, to have a unique opportunity to see a male and female T. rex in the same space, at the same time. This dramatic display will be the envy of every museum around the world”, says Dr David Gaimster, Chief Executive of Auckland Museum. You can see the scientific report here. What a time to be alive.
Gardens Music Festival
The Domain | 29 January 2023
Dance lovers rejoice! A new dance festival is coming to The Domain in January 2023 and we can't contain our excitement. Clear your calendars as Gardens Music Festival is one not to be missed as the legendary UK DJ Fatboy Slim is the headlining act. Party it up with the renowned dance pioneer who has been wowing audiences since 1996 as he embarks on his largest New Zealand Tour to date. It's going to be lit, so be sure to get your tickets pronto.
Western Springs | 30 January 2023
Grab the crew as the hottest festival in town is back, bringing with it one hell of a party. After nearly a three-year hiatus, Laneway Festival is making a mighty return on 30 January 2023. It's the only place to be on Auckland Anniversary Day and the return festival line-up has just been announced. Haim, Joji, Phoebe Bridgers, Finneas, Fontaines D.C, Fred Again, Girl In Red, Slowthai, Turnstile, Fazerdaze, Erny Belle, Bbyfacekilla and The Beths form part of the stacked lineup with more to be announced. So, if it’s a good time you’re after, then look no further as this event needs to be on every Aucklander’s calendar. See you there!
What's On In Auckland In February 2023
Auckland Pride Festival
Various locations | 1-25 February
Get ready as our favourite iconic festival is back, and it's back with a bang. With its largest line-up of events to date, there is something for everyone to get involved in and show their pride. Join in the fun at Auckland Pride Festival and celebrate the unique mix of cultures, sexualities, and gender identities in our diverse city. Pop the vino and put on your disco pants—the line-up for this year's festival boasts a month of inspiring antics and epic festivities. From a saucy pride gala to the iconic Pride March featuring theatre, cabaret, comedy, dance, art, live music, film, literature, poetry, drag, burlesque—you name it they’ve got it! Get involved, it’s going to be fabulous.
Aotearoa Bike Challenge
Various locations | 1-28 February
Jump on your bikes this month and join in the Aotearoa Bike Challenge—an epic initiative that is encouraging people to take action against climate change. You can ride anywhere and anytime, so even if it's just a 10-minute commute to work, you're still playing your part, plus you'll be in with a chance of winning some awesome prizes. Simply register here, hop on your bike, log your rides and earn points—oh, and don't forget to encourage others to do the same. It’s not only wheelie good (sorry we had to) for your health, but for the environment too.
Auckland Gin Festival
The Cloud | 3-5 February
Is gin your tipple of choice? If so, then grab your tumbler and join in the celebration of all things Gin at the Auckland Gin Festival. Pull up a pew and get your slurp on all whilst learning about the amazing gins on offer, how they came to be and what makes them so special. With over 150 gins to sample, be sure to line your belly with some tasty grub from the on-site food trucks—we don't want any gin-mishaps if you know what we mean. So, what are you waiting for? Go and mingle with some of the world’s finest gin brands in this 3-day gin extravaganza.
Auckland Lantern Festival
Manukau Sports Bowl | 2-5 February
New Year is possibly the best holiday in existence. There’s something incredibly freeing about the idea of a year ticking over—particularly the one we've just had—making us feel like we’re ready to face anything. And of course, there are all the festivities that come with the occasion. Well, lucky for us Aucklanders, we can celebrate the occasion once more in February thanks to the Chinese Calendar and the annual Lantern Festival. Having been cancelled the past two years due to the COVID fubar, the Auckland Lantern Festival will be back bigger and better than ever at an exciting new location. Yay!
Tāpapakanga Regional Park | 24-26 February
Just when you thought you couldn’t take another weekend spent moshing to the beat by day and getting down and dirty camping at night, the allure of seeing out the last of the summer sun at Splore Festival should change your mind. This three-day festival/giant dress-up party is in a league of its own with everything from music and performing arts to workshops, installations, wellness classes, and a whole lot of love. Settle in on the beautiful shores of Tapapakanga Regional Park, put on your party pants, and prepare for a three-day entertainment extravaganza. No wonder this is one of the best festivals in NZ. PS. We'd start planning your costume now if we were you.
What's On In Auckland In March 2023
The Final Trip For Moustache’s Cookie Bus
Aotearoa | March 2023
Once upon a time, in between opening a string of stores and, you know, becoming a household name, Moustache Milk & Cookie Bar also ran a cookie bus. This bright yellow restored 1978 school bus with a commercial kitchen could be found spreading cookie goodness around the country, and now after nearly three years of being stuck in storage in Dunedin, she's making one last trip back home to Auckland not without stopping at a number of lucky cities and towns along the way.
Auckland Arts Festival
Various locations | 9-26 March
After being impacted by COVID over the past few years, Auckland Arts Festival is back this year and it's going to be glorious. Bringing acts and artists from all corners of the world, the festival promises to light up our city and social calendars with splendour. With performances ranging from physical theatre to cabarets, circus to live music, and everything in between, there’s a tantalising line up of acts in store to delight festival newbies and seasoned culture vultures alike. Get ready for non-stop New Zealand and international acts—there is absolutely no limit to this event.
Auckland Craft Beer And Food Festival
Spark Arena | 18 March
We have two words for you: Beer. Festival. Yes, you read that right—a whole festival dedicated to your fave tipple. Count us in. Quench your thirst, and get your hop on at Auckland Craft Beer and Food Festival, where you can sample a variety of brewskies and mingle with the local brewers to learn the secrets to a good pint. Satisfy your hunger with delicious eats from some of Auckland's best food trucks and for those that don’t like beer, there’s even something for you—wine and ciders will be on hand to make sure you don’t miss out on all the fun. So, whether it’s a good old pint you’re after or you want to sample the goods first, then this beer festival has a tipple for everyone.
What's On In Auckland This Year 2023
Spark Arena, May-June 2023
After thrilling international audiences worldwide, the multi-award-winning musical Hamilton is finally making its way to Aotearoa. Having scooped Tony, Grammy, Olivier Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, now Kiwis will finally have the chance to get in on the critically-acclaimed act. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway, Hamilton tells the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton which has created a revolutionary moment in theatre. “Australia has embraced Hamilton with an enthusiasm we could never have imagined,” Hamilton Producer Jeffrey Seller said. “Now it is time for our sensational Australian cast to continue their success in the southern hemisphere when the show premieres in New Zealand.” Can we get an amen? Tickets will go on sale from Monday, December 5, go shoot your shot.
Circus extraordinaire, Cirque du Soleil is bringing its one-of-a-kind acrobatic show—Crystal—to Auckland and Christchurch in 2023 but this time the magic will be served over ice. That's right—expect incredible acts on the trapeze, banquine, hand-to-hand, aerial straps, juggling, and hand balancing—but this time all performed on ice for the first time. Watch in awe as the performers lace up to deliver a spellbindingly mesmerising experience combining the art of skating with adrenaline-inducing acrobatics and aerial feats. Thrilling more than 1.8 million people worldwide since its creation in 2017, Cirque Du Soleil's news that it'll be performing on ice for the first time is a big deal. With tickets on sale from 16th November 2022, they'll be performing at Christchurch Horncastle Arena on Friday 16 June, Sat 17 June and Sunday 18 June before landing at Auckland's Spark Arena on Tuesday 4 until 9 July. Get in.
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Image credit: Caretaker, Hamilton by Daniel Boud, Cirque Du Soleil by Olivier Brajon.
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