The best places to visit Santa this Christmas in Auckland in 2020

The best places to visit Santa this Christmas in Auckland in 2020

Here is our pick of the best places to take the kids to see Santa and have a family photo this Christmas in Auckland, New Zealand.

1. Snowplanet

Santa at Snowplanet

Visit Santa at Snowplanet from 28 November 2020 to 24 December 2020 in the snow. Remember to dress up warm as you will be in the snow dome, and it is a chilly -5 degrees to make Santa feel at home.  We like visiting Santa at Snowplanet, as not only do the kids get to meet Santa, but they get to have fun playing in the snow. Plus we didn’t seem to get as many questions asking “Is Santa really real?” when we visited him here.

Santa’s Visit includes:
Visiting Santa in his cabin, one printed group photo per family and 1 lollipop for each child. 
Costs are $15 for a 1 person family, $28 for a 2 person family, $39 for a 3 person family, $48 for a 4 person family and extra persons are $12.

Santa’s Family Snow Fun add-on includes:
You can add on 30 minutes exploring Santa’s Winter Wonderland to your Santa Visit which includes tobogganing and snow tubing for an extra $25 per person, $15 for under 5s and FREE for under 2s. There is a dedicated tobogganing track with an ice archway and two custom-built, ice-walled tubing tracks to shoot down, and you can have up to 5 rides.  

Winter Wonderland Premium Experience add-on includes:
If your kids want to spend longer in the snow, then the Winter Wonderland Premium Experience gives you an hour to experience Snowplanet’s Winter Wonderland, goodie bags for the kids, tubing and tobogganing and more. Your family can try out the snowman snowball throw, the reindeer ring toss, be the snowman in the LED photo board, explore the playhouses and slides and give the ice climb a go.  You can book your Santa Visit online in advance and then on the day choose to upgrade to a Premium Experience if you like.

Online bookings are essential as the number of Santa sessions are limited to 4 or 5 families every 15 minutes, so the wait in the snow is not too long for families with young children.

2. Visit Santa at Christmas Lights at MOTAT

MOTAT Tram Christmas Lights
Christmas fairy light tram rides at MOTAT

MOTAT Museum of Transport and Technology in Western Springs is celebrating the spirit of giving with its special Christmas Lights at MOTAT this Festive Season from 8pm to 11pm from Friday 11 December 2020 to Sunday 13 December 2020 and then nightly from Wednesday 16 December 2020 to Thursday 24 December 2020.  

The Museum grounds will be transformed with Christmas Lights.  The kids can meet Santa and his elves and share in the magic of Christmas. There’ll be plenty of things to see and do with live entertainment, indoor Christmas movie screenings, tram rides lit by fairy lights, carollers, snow falling in the Discovery Dome, Christmas card making craft activities, Santa’s grotto and more!

Note that it is recommended you park on Great North Road, as the Trams will not be doing pick ups from M2 for this event.

Entry is $2 for children, kids under 5 years old are FREE and $5 for adults.

Santa at MOTAT Christmas Lights
You can take a photo with Santa on your own camera at the Grotto at MOTAT

3. Santa's Enchanted Forest at Smith & Caugheys

Santa’s Enchanted Forest Experiences are at Smith & Caughey’s in Queen Street from 21 November to 24 December 2020. Smith & Caughey’s is one of our favourite places to visit Santa. Children can enjoy the enchanted forest lights and displays before they visit Santa. Plus you can enjoy their Christmas window displays before or after your visit. Guests won’t be able to sit on Santa’s knee, our photography team recommending guests to be grouped together to the side of Santa. 

This year visiting Santa is a little different with extra COVID-19 safety precautions in place to keep Santa, Santa’s Helpers and the guest’s health and well-being in mind. There will be a barely visible Perspex screen on each side of Santa, between Santa and his guests and Santa will be wearing a cheery red face mask. Santa’s Helpers and the Christmas Fairies will be also be wearing masks.

There are two options to have your photo taken with Santa in 2020. The booked experience at $20 per child includes a visit to the Enchanted Forest, a collectable Christmas tree bauble, a visit to see Santa, downloadable photos and a keepsake photo. If your children don’t mind queuing, and be warned queues can be an hour or longer the non-booked experience is $15 per child. The booked and non-booked experience include the same things, apart from the booked experience has NO QUEUE and includes the downloaded photos. The booked experience usually sells out, so you are best to book online early. Both the booked and non-booked experience includes free entry for up to two adults.

Smith and Caughey's Christmas
Auckland for Kids visits Santa's Enchanted Grotto at Smith & Caughey's

4. Santa's Grotto at Rainbow's End

At Kidz Kingdom in Rainbow’s End on weekends and holidays at Rainbow’s End from 28 November 2020 to 23 December 2020, the kids will be greeted by Santa’s Elves before visiting Santa’s Grotto, plus afterwards they can play in the snow on his sleigh.  Note if you visit on weekdays you can visit the Elves in Santa’s magical grotto but Santa will be busy preparing for his rounds. 

Entry to Santa’s Grotto includes your entrance to the Kidz Kingdom for $39.99 for kids aged 2 to 8 or $49.99 to $54.99 for a Child Superpass for kids aged 2 to 13 years old. Parents accompanying children need a part entry ticket which is from $10 to $19 depending on when you visit and if you want a Superpass to go on the rides is $54.99 to $64.99. A photographer is on site so you can purchase a Santa photo memento of your visit with the kids starting at $10 per photo.

Playing in the snow by Santa's Sleigh with the Elves at Rainbow's End

4. See Santa at Howick Historical Village Christmas Carol's Evening

Join the Villagers as Howick Historical Village celebrates Christmas with this classic carol evening event on Saturday 5 December 2020 at 6pm. Enjoy the carollers around the village and enjoy the carol services in the church. Children can take part in the crafts and activities throughout the evening and enjoy treats and food from the food trucks.  Tickets are $8 per person and kids under five are FREE.

5. Your local shopping centre

We know sometimes you just want somewhere close to home to visit Santa, so here are the other local shopping centres in Auckland you can find Santa this Christmas. If you want to take the kids to a local Santa parade have a look at Auckland for Kids December 2020 events calendar

Central Auckland

Santa photography is at Westfield St Lukes from Thursday 26 November to Thursday 24 December 2020 at Level 1 Centre Court*
Sensitive Santa photography on 29 November 2020
Pet photography is on selected days from 28 November to 12 December 2020.

Visit Santa at Westfield Newmarket from now until Thursday 24 December 2020.

Santa is at Sylvia Park from now to Christmas Eve on 24 December 2020 outside Lush. The queue for Santa is “virtual” so you can hold your place in line while you continue to shop or get something to eat. You can choose how your family interacts with Santa and you can make use of the seating positioned around Santa and are welcome to give Santa a high five or wave.

East Auckland

Santa Photos at Botany Town Centre from 21 November until 24 December 2020.
 Sensitive Santa sessions for children with no music, no spotlights and no lines on Sunday 29 November 2020*
Santa’s Pawtraits on 28 November 2020, 5 December 2020 and 9 December 2020 for your fur babies.

Santa is at Pakuranga Plaza from Saturday 5 December 2020 to 24 December 2020.*

Santa's Pawtraits at Botany Town Centre
Christmas Pet Pawtraits at Botany Town Centre

North Auckland

Visit Santa at Santa’s Wonderland at Milford Shopping Centre daily from 1 to 24 December 2020 from 12pm to 5pm

Santa photography at Westfield Albany from 27 November until 24 December 2020* 
Sensitive Santa photography is on Sunday 29 November 2020.
Pet photography is on 1 December 2020, 6 December 2020, 8 December 2020, 13 December 2020 and 15 December 2020

Northwest Auckland

Santa Photos at NorthWest shopping Centre from Saturday 21 November to Thursday 24 December 2020* and a Sensory session on Tuesday 8 December 2020 and a Petmas session on Tuesday 15 December 2020.

Visit Santa’s Snow Globe at Westgate from 1 December to 24 December 2020 to visit Santa* in his pop up snow globe to get your photo taken. Plus there is FREE ice skating from the 10th to the 24th of December.

South Auckland

Santa at Westfield Manukau City from now until Thursday 24 December 2020* 
There is a Sensitive Santa photo session on Sunday 29 November 2020 from 7:30am to 9:30am in a relaxed environment too.  Plus if you want the photo to include your family pet you can book in to the Pet photography session on Monday 30 November 2020 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

West Auckland

Santa at WestCity Waitakere until Thursday 24 December 2020*

Santa at Lynnmall from Saturday 28 November 2020 to Thursday 24 December 2020*


* Please check with your local shopping centre Santa’s hours before heading out as he may not be at the shopping centers every day in December, plus you will need to book in advance at some places to visit Santa.

If you have a favourite Santa that we have left off the list, let us know in the comments below.

Santa at WestCity Waitakere

Reader Interactions


  1. Hi there, I am interested to know if there is a possibility of booking a virtual Santa visit to my company Christmas party the afternoon around 4:30pm Dec 11, Vancouver, Canada, Pacific time.

    If I was Santa this year spending the time in New Zealand during the COVID19 pandemic would be a brilliant idea. Having Santa attend our zoom party from the beach in New Zealand would be amazing. Let me know if that is something you would be interested in being able to do for my company.


    Laurelle Santana

    • Hi Laurelle,

      Auckland for Kids does not host any virtual Santa visits sorry.

      Wishing you a Merry Xmas in Canada!


  2. Additional North Auckland options

    Silverdale Mall
    Saturday 5th December until Christmas Eve
    10:00am – 4:00pm Daily
    Situated outside Farmers
    Bookings not required

    Coast (Whangaparaoa)
    10am-4pm right up until Christmas Eve
    Bookings not required

  3. We Love Aotearoa Whānau Fun Day (Dec 19):

    Don’t miss We Love Aotearoa’s Whānau Fun Day to get your photo taken with Santa, for free! The free, festive event taking place at ASB Showgrounds next Saturday, includes a live set from Stan Walker, pop-up performances, photos with Santa, festive Christmas activities, drift cars, VR experience, games, and more. 10am-3pm.

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