One of our highlights each year is going to the Auckland Lantern Festival in the Auckland Domain. Auckland Lantern Festival is a free famiy friendly event held at the end of the Chinese New Year festivities and is celebrated on the 15th day of the Chinese lunar month. This is a popular event with hundreds of handmade Chinese lanterns, music and dance performances, Chinese art and more.
10 useful tips for visiting the Auckland Lantern Festival with children
1. Go early in the evening while it is still daylight.
The lanterns, stalls and rides all start from early in the evening before it turns dark. Then you can decide how long you want to stay after the sun sets. The Lantern Festival gets a lot busier later in the evening, and it is much harder to keep track of your kids in the dark too.
2. Choose whether you want to go on a busy or quiet night
The Lantern Festival is on for four evenings from Thursday to Sunday. Thursday is usually the quietest night to go (as there are only the lanterns and no rides and food stalls) and Saturday night is usually the busiest. The video above was taken on the night before the Lantern Festival opened, so don't expect to see the Lantern Festival this quiet.
3. Take some cash
Remember to take some cash with you, in case you the kids want some rides, or want to get a bite to eat from the food stalls. Not everyone accepts EFTPOS. You bring your own picnic for dinner if you don't want to buy food at the stalls.
4. Use a front pack or back pack for babies and toddlers
If you have babies or toddlers, bring a font or back pack rather than a buggy as it will be much easier to get around with the crowds and uneven surfaces.
5. Don't expect to park close by
Parking can be difficult to find, so you may want to catch the bus or train or ride your bike. The closest bus stops are on Khyber Pass Road and the closet train stops are at Newmarket and Grafton. There are secure bike parks at the festival if you family wants to ride.
6. Wear comfortable shoes and bring something warm to wear for later.
Make sure you and your children are wearing comfortable shoes as it may seem like a long walk to the lantern festival for little legs. Once the sun sets it can get colder too, so bring an extra layer for everybody.
7. Have a plan if your family group splits up where to meet.
With so many people it can be easy to get separated, so agree on a meeting place in case you do.
8. Plan a fun trip home
Take some torches from home, or buy a glow stick at the Lantern Festival for your kids, so they can have a fun walk back to your transport. You will be less likely to have to carry them if they are having fun too.
9. Don't miss the fireworks
If you have older children the Lantern Festival closes with a firework display late on Sunday evening.
10. Consider going in the day time if you children are very young
If you have really young children who can't stay up late, it's still visiting the domain to have a look at the lanterns in the daytime.
Auckland Lantern Festival is on each year to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities and is celebrated on the 15th day of the Chinese lunar month.
The 2018 Chinese Lantern Festival welcomes in the Year of the Dog at the Auckland Domain from Thursday 1 March to Sunday 4 March 2018. The event is free to attend. For more information see: www.aucklandnz.com/lantern-festival