Forget the hassle of parking and come by bus, train, on foot or bicycle - up to 200,000 people attend the festival each year and there is limited parking and extensive road closures around the Auckland Domain for the festival.
Auckland Transport provides secure bike parks at the festival, next to the information tents and marked on the festival map.
There will be two scooter drop off/pick up zones on site. We encourage everyone arriving via scooter to walk it to one of these sites, as there will be big crowds to navigate around inside the Domain. Leaving the scooter where someone might trip over it isn’t a good idea either – don’t be that person!
Visit our transport page for more information on getting to the festival.
For first-time festival goers:
This is Auckland’s largest cultural festival, with big crowds, so plan your trip to the festival ahead of time.
Thursday 13 February is Lantern Appreciation Night, with no stalls, food or amusements. The opening ceremony will run from 6.30pm to 8.00pm and then it’s just you and the lanterns! This is a much quieter night than the other three - perfect for those who would prefer to avoid crowds.
If you want all the hustle and bustle, sights, sounds, smells and colours of the festival at its peak, then Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights are the best nights for you. Saturday is definitely the busiest night of the festival, followed by Sunday which finishes with a bang – the fireworks finale!
If you’re after a delicious treat, grab something early before the food stalls get super busy from 6.00pm onwards.
There is limited parking and extensive road closures around the Auckland Domain for the festival, so it's best to come in by bus, train, on foot or bicycle. However, we know Kiwi's love to drive, so we would recommend you check out car parks within a 30-minute walk of the festival, to avoid congested roads, or car parks near public transport that will stop near Auckland Domain.
For people with limited mobility:
Accessible parking and drop-off areas are on Cenotaph Rd, with controlled entry via Maunsell Rd.
There are fewer people earlier in the evenings, or on Lantern Appreciation Night (Thursday 13 February), making it easier to move freely around the festival.
All the temporary toilet blocks in place for the festival have accessible toilets.
Find the new Year of Rat lantern and the other animal lanterns representing the Chinese zodiac.
Visit the Cultural Courtyard and have a look at the awesome traditional kites being made by kite-makers who have had the technique passed down to them through generations.
Keep your eyes peeled for the roaming performers and don't miss the ancient Lion Dance.
Watch the incredible, energetic display of martial arts – maybe you’ll be inspired to join your local martial arts club.
Find the diabolo demonstrations and get involved in the action!
The Auckland Lantern Festival is a free, family-friendly event.
The Auckland Domain gets very busy during the festival, so just in case you get separated, write your mobile phone number on your child’s arm or hand and snap a photo of your child in the day’s outfit when you arrive.
We suggest you leave larger prams and pushchairs at home if possible. Crowds are lighter earlier in the evenings too, making it easier to get around with little ones.
Agree on a meeting place if family members get separated.
There will be Lost Kids/Information tents – just ask one of our friendly staff, volunteers or security team where the nearest one is.
With a registered AT HOP card, children aged 5 to 15 years pride for free on buses and trains in the weekends. Find out more on Auckland Transport’s website.
Bring with you:
Only what is necessary - travel light for ease of movement amongst the crowds of festival goers.
The weather is changeable in Auckland, so bring sunscreen, a hat, and a raincoat.
Bring your friends and family – it’s a great group outing, and a family-festival event with something for all ages.
Bring some cash – queues are expected to get quite long at cash-out sites and while some food stalls have EFTPOS, many take only cash.
For leaving behind:
Cigarettes, pipes, vapes – the Auckland Lantern Festival and Auckland Council parks are smokefree.
Dogs – service dogs are welcome, but the festival attracts large crowds (up to 200,000 every year) and your pet may be happier at home.
Alcohol – the festival is alcohol-free and intoxicated festival-goers will be asked to leave.
If you would like to provide us with feedback or suggestions regarding Auckland Lantern Festival 2020, please email us.