Brightly coloured Chinese lanterns will light the Domain at the Auckland Lantern Festival from February 13 – 16, 2020. Celebrating the Chinese New Year welcoming in the Year of the Rat, it’s an event filled with hundreds of handmade Chinese New Year lanterns as well as crafts, performances, and food (plenty of food).
It’s a free family-friendly event with activities and entertainment for everyone. It is expected to draw nearly 200,000 visitors over the four day weekend, so be sure to check the tips section below for transport suggestions. The first day is lanterns only. Therefore it is best for photographers as well as people who want smaller crowds.
Auckland lantern Festival 2020 had been CANCELLED.
Check back early 2021 for the next lantern festival.
Updates for Auckland Lantern Light Festival 2020
- Entrance to the family-friendly Auckland Lantern festival is free.
- The lantern festival is held on the Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park.
- This year the starting hours are earlier than in the past, although it closes at 10.30 pm every night. Opening times are as follows:
- Thursday, February 13, 2020, from 6.30 pm.
- Friday, February 14, 2020, from 5 pm.
- Saturday and Sunday, February 15 -16, 2020 from 4 pm.
- There is no dedicated parking for the event. The standard domain parking fills up quickly, and as with most Auckland domain events, many of the streets are closed to traffic. If possible, head to the city early in the day to enjoy the Auckland Museum and the Wintergardens (both on the Auckland Domain), rather than looking for parking in the evening.
- Even the nearby paid parking lots filled up last year.
- Public transportation may be the best option.
- Primary event sponsors are ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development), Harcourts, and ASB.
Photo highlights of prior year’s Auckland Lantern Light Festival
Food stalls at the event
- There will be about 100 food and craft stalls on Friday to Sunday. So arrive feeling hungry.
- Most only take cash, although there were ASB ATM machines near the food stalls last year. On Friday night, the queue to get cash was the longest queue we saw all evening.
- In honour of the Chinese New Year, most of the food stalls offer Asian foods. Pad Thai seemed a popular option, and it was what I selected. There are also smoothies, fresh coconut milk, and plenty of sweets including deep-fried ice cream or ice cream in a fresh pineapple bowl.
Special events at the Auckland Lantern Festival
Some of the special events we have enjoyed at prior year’s lantern festivals include:
- An opening ceremony
- Fireworks finale on the final night
- Musical performances
- Acrobatic performances
- Martial arts arena with demonstrations
- Short films from the NZ Film Commission
- Lion Dance
- Xi’an Shadow Puppets
- Face painting
- DJ sessions beginning at 8 pm
Chinese zodiac: year of the
- Rat (1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032)
- Ox (1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021, 2033)
- Tiger (1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022, 2034)
- Rabbit (1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023, 2035)
- Dragon (1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024, 2036)
- Snake (1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025, 2037)
- Horse (1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026, 2038)
- Goat (1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027, 2039)
- Monkey (1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028, 2040)
- Rooster (1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029, 2041)
- Dog (1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042)
- Pig (1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031, 2043)
More prior year’s Auckland Lantern Festival images
Practical information on visiting the Auckland Lantern Festival 2020
- Bring a camera and check out these tips for taking better night light shots.
- If you are going to drive, try to arrive plenty early, or park in the surrounding neighbourhoods. After 30+ minutes of driving around the domain searching for a car park, we ended up finding street parking in Newmarket and walking the 1.6 km back to the Auckland Domain.
- Use the AT Journey planner to find the best public transportation options from your neighbourhood.
- Another option is to spend the night in Auckland. We use booking.com to find the best rates in the city. Click here to check availability at Auckland Hotels
- In past years, Auckland Lantern Festival event maps were distributed by volunteers at the entrances to the festival along any of the primary walking paths into the domain.
- The city loves a good party, and the Chinese Lantern Festival is one of many exciting events in Auckland throughout the year.
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