Chinese New Year | How to enjoy the Auckland Lantern Festival

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You haven’t missed out the festival ends Sunday the 24th February!  For more info visit the organisers website

Attending this event has been on my to-do list for years and yesterday, late afternoon we headed over to town and got amongst the wonderful crowd.  We were blown away by the HUGE masses of people.  It was mind boggling.  Princes St was home to most of the vendors and the food stalls, and the foot-traffic gridlock.  Once you moved past being overwhelmed at the throng, it was definitely doable, with short fast-moving queues for food.

The food was amaze.  SO cheap!  I could have eaten my weight in dumplings, noodles, rice, pork buns……….and then there were the specialty foods, bbq squid seemed to be hugely popular as people everywhere had cups and kebab sticks brimming with whole squid dripping bbq sauce – we should have but didn’t.

It was the most pleasant festival I have ever been to, definitely a reflection of the quiet, respectful culture that was being celebrated.  I haven’t even touched on the lanterns because they were so amazing and pretty that only really the photos can attempt to do them justice.

Tips for surviving the Auckland Lantern Festival

  • Plan your parking well.  Don’t even attempt to cross Queen St to park.  It appeared that 90% of attendees thought trying to get in to the Victoria St carpark was a good idea.  Don’t bother.  The only agro bad-behaviour we witnessed were drivers honking and yelling because they had been stuck in bumper-to-bumper gridlock for ever trying to get into this carpark.  Park further away and walk or hop on a link bus to get you to the festival.  Sky City parking would be my pick, luckily we were able to park at Dave’s work just past Sky City and that area was congestion free.
  • Don’t take you dog.  really, there were dogs being dragged through insane crowds it was horrible
  • If you can possibly avoid it don’t take your stroller.  Access to Albert Park from the Queen St side is by narrow stairs and steep paths, people were finding it hard to negotiate with their strollers.  If you do have to take your stroller it may be best to split up and leave the buggy/child combo in the park with an adult while someone else gets dinner from the vendors.  The park is manageable, Princes St is chaos!
  • Come hungry, food is super cheap i.e. 10 dumplings for $5, 10 med pork buns $5, the lines move quickly and everything is delish.
  • Take cash, everything is quicker with the dollars.
  • Take water, it’s freaking hot.
  • Don’t try and get on the southern, north western motorways via Hobson St after the event – more gridlock.  Use alternative routes through the city, they are there!
  • Enjoy, come with patience and soak up the atmosphere!