Lantern Festival: Illuminated art in Auckland

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One of the most popular summer festivals here in Auckland is Lantern festival organized to celebrate Chinese New Year. This year it took place in Auckland Domain which was illuminated with more than 800 homemade lanterns. Everything was about Chinese art and Asian food, of course. The park looked magical with all those lights but it was so crowded, I didn’t really expect  so many people there, we could barely move around.

However, to mark the year of the Monkey, which started on the February 8, I managed to capture a few of the imaginative lanterns from this year’s festival… Enjoy!

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“Time flies fast when you’re having fun!”

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“Time flies fast when you’re having fun!”, I totally agree with that! One of my favorite places in Auckland for a quick break is definitely Auckland Domain. It’s huge, green, has great walking tracks and it is a perfect place to stop and to chill for a while. And what about these trees? Their transition is my reminder that the time in New Zealand is flying so fast… and I still have a lot to discover…

Top things to do in Auckland area

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You just arrived in Auckland and you have probably planned some of the things that you want to see and do during your stay in the “City of Sails”. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the inner city or a bit away from the crowded streets because here on every corner you can find something exciting to do. Auckland is a great mix of lively city streets, long beaches and beautiful rainforests and sometimes, to get the best experience, you don’t really have to spend a lot of money.

To make traveling more affordable it is always good to know what you can do for free and where you can find a few cheap activities. To help you save some money I gathered some of the best free and cheap things to do while you are in the biggest city of New Zealand!

1. Spend the morning at one of the weekend markets

During the mornings on the weekends there’s a lot going on in the city centre and a bit away. Saturday and Sunday markets are great places to taste the food from all over the world and of course to buy domestic products from the farmers. Market in Coatesville and in Otara are colourful places to be and definitely the places to enjoy in delicious meal for a few dollars.

IMG_26492. Enjoy in the surroundings of the Auckland Domain

Few minutes from the city centre you can enjoy in a true nature oasis. Auckland Domain is a big city park where you can have a nice picnic near the lake and a walk through the native bush, just choose between the Lovers Walk and Centennial walkway. Stop for a moment at the Winter garden, its courtyard is very peaceful place, just the one you need to enjoy the atmosphere.

IMG_25683. For a bit of history stop at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

While you are at the Auckland Domain you can visit this great museum. It is really huge so you have to leave at least two hours for wandering around. Museum is open every day from 10 to 17. Admission is 25$ for international travelers but if you are on the Working Holiday you can use the letter from the IRD as your proof of Auckland address and you will get the free entry.

DSC026304. Visit the craters of the volcanoes – view from the top is magnificent!

You won’t be often in the city which lies on more than 50 volcanos. Here you have the opportunity to walk around the craters and as they are on the top of the hill at the same time you will have the chance to enjoy in the magnificent view over the Auckland. If you want to see the city lights during the night, perfect place for it is definitely Mt Eden cone. Other than that take a walk to the One Tree Hill and Mt Wellington.

DSC027075Free fresh meal straight from the sea is always a good idea!

You love sea food and would really like to taste some of the shells? There are few places near Auckland where you can collect the cockles straight from the beach during the low tide. Usually it is allowed to pick up 50 shells a day per person what is definitely enough for a very nice and fresh bite. Just take a walk around Okoromai Bay and you will easily get free and delicious meal!

To be continued in the next post! Happy travels!