Auckland will be the first major city in the world to welcome in 2020, and this year several streets in the downtown area will for the first time be pedestrianised for party goers, families and visitors to move freely and safely and enjoy the New Year’s Eve festivities.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) is working closely with Auckland Transport on road closures in the in the city centre on New Year’s Eve from 10pm until 2am on 1 January 2020.
The closures, around Queen Street and Victoria Street, will be a taste of what’s to come in future years as Auckland moves towards a pedestrian-friendly city centre.
Mayor Phil Goff says with more people than ever before living in the city centre and thousands more choosing to travel into the city for New Year’s Eve, temporary closures will help to ensure that people can enjoy the celebrations in a safe, enjoyable and pedestrian-friendly environment.
Councillor and Planning Committee chair Chris Darby agrees, saying “There is a real public appetite for rebalancing the city’s streets to be places for people and not just through streets for cars. These closures represent a vision of the future of Auckland’s city centre.”
ATEED General Manager – Destination, Steve Armitage, says: “It’s clear from the past couple of years that the city centre is popular with locals and visitors alike on New Year’s Eve, dispelling the belief that Auckland empties out over the holiday period.
“Last year, Auckland Transport reported that there was heavy vehicle congestion in the city centre for several hours either side of midnight, so we want to create a safer environment by closing a section of the roads”.
Vehicles within the road closures, including parking buildings, will not be able depart until after 2am.
Extra public transport options will be available post-midnight. There will be 31 additional bus services; more trains will operate on the Onehunga Line and Eastern Line (to Sylvia Park); and there will also be added ferry sailings between Auckland and Devonport.
Joining in the celebrations for the first time, Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum and Te Ara I Whiti - Light Path will light up alongside other iconic Auckland landmarks the Sky Tower and Auckland Harbour Bridge, adding more exciting visual elements to the cityscape.
Vector Lights will sparkle on Auckland Harbour Bridge for a second year, displaying a fabulous light show from 9pm to 1am. At the stroke of midnight, the lights will sync with the Sky Tower fireworks in a five-minute display of dancing colours.
On Federal Street, SkyCity will host Auckland’s biggest New Year street party, from 5pm to midnight with Ladi6 and Chong Nee & Friends as the headline acts.
Families can join in on the fun this year, as Panuku Development will activate an alcohol-free, whanau-friendly space on Karanga Plaza and Wynyard Quarter, which offers a fantastic view of Auckland’s midnight moment.
As well as Auckland’s waterfront, the following locations make for great viewing of the grand spectacular that will welcome in the New Year: Little Shoal Bay, Northcote; Bayswater Marina; Mt Victoria, Devonport; Queens Parade, Devonport; Bastion Point; Harbour View Beach Reserve, Te Atatū Peninsula; Sentinel Beach, Herne Bay; Mt Eden.
The New Year’s Eve celebrations and upcoming January events will ensure the new decade starts with a bang.
International tennis stars will be in town for the ASB Classic (6-18 January); the Black Caps and White Ferns will take to the field at Eden Park; and Trans-Tasman basketball will take centre court at Spark Arena.
The Tāmaki Herenga Waka Festival will wrap up the first month of the new year with a one-night spectacular of storytelling, music and performances to celebrate Māori culture and heritage in Auckland.