December might feel a little bit different this year for a lot of people. There will be no skiing in Europe or Christmas BBQs on the beaches of our neighbours in Australia. However, we live in such a remarkably beautiful country and want to help you make the most of December in New Zealand!
Below is a detailed list of fun events and activities that are taking place in three locations—Dunedin, Wellington, and Auckland—that will make a domestic trip over the skies or on the road well worth your while!
The Botanic Gardens
If you find yourself down in this beautiful Scottish-esque town on a sunny day, visiting the botanical gardens is a must. The garden boasts over 6,800 plants as well as lots of native birds like wood pigeons, bellbirds, and tui. There is plenty of open space to lay down a blanket and enjoy an afternoon picnic.
The Botanic Gardens are also a wonderland for kids to learn about nature and explore! There’s a printable “Play Trail Brochure” which takes you around the whole of the botanic gardens listing a range of tasks and games fun for all age groups.
St Clair Hot Saltwater Pool
This saltwater pool located directly on the southern end of St Claire beach is the last surviving salt water pool in Dunedin. Its wonderful location right on the beach in combination with its 28-degree heat makes it a magical swimming experience rain or shine.
Upgrades to the pool brought new features of a paddling pool, a disabled changing area, and a gorgeous little café.
Christmas Concert at The Otago Museum
On Saturday 12th December at 1 PM, The Otago Museum is lighting up their soaring atrium and the Dunedin choir is bringing us all our holiday favourites. This truly beautiful event is sure to bring joy and holiday cheer! And even better, the concert is totally free. Make sure you arrive early to reserve a good seat.
Christmas Mysteries at The Planetarium
Starting December 1st, Dunedin’s planetarium is getting into the Christmas spirit with their show “Christmas Mysteries”. The show starts with some exciting festive-themed science experiments and then go on to explore some of Christmas’s most intriguing mysteries.
Want to learn more about astronomy and the star of Bethlehem or the disappearance of the Mars lander on Christmas Day? Yes? Then this show is for you.
Ngā Rama Wherikoriko Pō Night Lights & Christmas Market
Over the three nights from December 18th to 20that the Old Government Buildings, 15 Lambton Quay, Heritage NZ are holding the Ngā Rama Wherikoriko Pō Night Lights and Christmas Market. They invite you to spend an evening enjoying the Christmas Markets for last-minute gifts, live music, food stalls, and other great activities. Santa will be there to greet children and share the magic of Christmas!
As well as this, all of the proceeds of the market go back into New Zealand Heritage. So you’ll have the pleasure of indulging at great local markets as well as giving back to the local community!
A Celebration of Nat King Cole At Wellington Jazz Club
A holiday in Wellington is not complete without a live music concert. Enjoy an evening of jazz music at Wellington Jazz Club where they’re hosting an intimate concert to celebrate the legend, Nat King Cole.
Zak Dikvert and his band will be playing all of the old classics like, ‘It’s Only a Paper Moon’, ‘L.O.V.E’, ‘Orange Coloured Sky’, ‘Candy’, ‘Let There Be Love’, ‘Straighten Up & Fly Right’ and many more. The concert is set for 5 PM on Sunday, December 13th.
Cinderella at The Pantomime
You are cordially invited to the ball! Add a little bit of sparkle to your trip to Wellington and get a ticket to the magical world of Cinderella at The Pantomime. Celebrate the festive season with a dash of comedy and a whole lot of singing and dancing. This show runs throughout December and is extremely popular so get your booking in as soon as possible. The tickets can be purchased on The Pantomime website.
Travelling to Wellington?
There is no better place to spend a holiday in December than the beautiful city of Wellington. Wellington is known for its quirky café culture, indie music scene, and culinary excellence. Our popular Willis Wellington Hotel is situated right in the heart of the city, on Willis Street only a short walking distance to the Waterfront and Oriental Bay.
Celebrate Christmas at Hotel Grand Windsor’s Cooke’s Restaurant & Bar
This year, Hotel Grand Windsor is offering Christmas dining options at their renowned Cooke’s Restaurant & Bar. to complete your festive schedule. Choose from Christmas dining and Festive High Tea to indulge during the lead up to Christmas or book their Christmas Champagne Breakfast and Christmas Day Menu! Save yourself the hassle of prepping for the guests and treat yourself or your family and friends to a luxurious dining experience at one of Auckland’s best hotels!
Glasshouse Christmas Market
On Sunday, December 13th, the Morningside Glasshouse alongside General Collective is hosting a boutique Christmas Market. Within the collective, there will be upmarket vendors selling their unique products suitable for Christmas gifts for your friends and family. Admission is completely free and afterwards, you can enjoy brunch at the popular Crave Café or a festive cocktail at Morningside Tavern.
Christmas Lights at MOTAT
Throughout December, MOTAT is hosting twelve magical nights of festivities. Each night will include a Christmas movie screening, fairy-lit tram rides, Christmas carollers, Christmas cards, and lolly making as well as a range of delicious food and beverage options. Tickets are only $5 for adults and $2 for kids and under 5s go free. Go experience the magic of Christmas at MOTAT!
Travelling to Auckland?
Auckland city is bursting with activities over the Christmas period. We have hotels all over Auckland so whatever you get up to, you always have a place to stay! Our luxurious Hotel Grand Windsor is in a prime location on Queen Street close to many of Auckland’s best cafes, bars, and restaurants. If hostels are more your thing, The Station is an affordable and vibrant accommodation just a few minutes’ walk to Spark Arena and Britomart. We also have our boutique hotel experience at the Hotel Fitzroy located in the trendy suburb of Ponsonby where the CBD meets luxurious oasis.
Enjoy the holidays and travel in comfort and style with CPG Hotels!
Throughout December we are offering exclusive deals for our hotels across New Zealand to help you celebrate a Kiwi Christmas! Whether you are looking to buy a Christmas gift, a birthday present or for an anniversary we also have hotel vouchers that will suit every taste and budget.