Auckland, known as the City of Sails and more recently the “Big Little City,” is undeniably the gateway to New Zealand. The vast majority of international visitors pass through Auckland’s airport and grab a car hire
, to continue from there on flights, on public transport to discover the rest of this beautiful island nation in the South Pacific.
It’s always a good idea to stick around in Auckland for a day or two before moving on, not least because, as the biggest city in the country, it is the setting for a lot of big events. With several sports stadiums, the big Vector Arena, a few convention centres and plenty of urban parks and more intimate venues, it hosts a lot of the action that happens in New Zealand.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development recently announced the 25 major events
which will get top spot on the Auckland events calendar for 2015 and 2016. From sport tournaments and international touring artists to cultural celebrations, the schedule is set and it looks to be a good one and an exciting year to come for Auckland. The organisation is also looking to work this year on improving the sponsorship and application process for major event organisers in the future, to make sure that the coming years can continue to improve on Auckland's already-impressive line-up of things to do and see for residents and visitors.
ATEED Chief Executive, Brett O’Riley, said of the events calendar, “we had an unprecedented line-up of major events over summer, including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, the Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover and just-completed FIFA U-20 World Cup 2015 and it will be another huge year in 2017/2018 with the World Masters Games. We have built a balanced, stable portfolio and a good understanding of the model in the events industry, so this year presents as the ideal time to fine-tune our sponsorship process.”
What's on in Auckland for 2015/2016
There’s always something to do in New Zealand
’s biggest city - but these ones in particular caught our eye!
- New Zealand International Film Festival: Coming up fast, this one kicks off on the 16th of July and includes screenings at theatres right across the city. For visitors to the country, especially film buffs, it’s a great opportunity to see some local talent and learn something about New Zealand. Tim Wong’s “Out of the Mist: An Alternate History of New Zealand Cinema” is a fantastic option for an educational film experience.
- The ASB Auckland Marathon is a great way to get up close and personal with the city! Taking place on the 1st of November just as the Rugby World Cup final finishes, Aucklanders are hoping that it will be a celebratory race. It’s your only opportunity to cross the Harbour Bridge on foot and offers some amazing views.
- Ed Sheeran must be quite fond of touring and of New Zealand, because he has been a few times now! Auckland can expect lots of visitors for his next concert at Mt Smart Stadium on December the 12th, 2015.
- The Auckland Seafood Festival is happening on Halsey Wharf in the upmarket Viaduct Precinct in January 2016, a great time to enjoy the sun and the fruits of the sea.
- Aucklanders have embraced Diwali in years past, and 2015 will be no exception with a festival in Aotea Square over the 17th and 18th of October. It’s a great cultural celebration which brings together people from all walks of life around the city.
Aucklanders also love their sport, and the city is set to host some great events in the coming year. Here are some matches you might like to plan your trip around:
- The Warriors NRL team (Rugby League) is based at Mt Smart Stadium and will be playing many matches there for the 2015 season. The camaraderie and passion of Warriors fans is something you need to experience!
- The Blues Super Rugby franchise (Rugby Union) is based in the iconic Eden Park for the 2015 season, with a roster of home games for lovers of New Zealand’s favourite sport
- The ITM 500 Auckland V8 Supercars is set to take place at Pukekohe Park Raceway in early November 2015, a very important event for motoring enthusiasts.
- Rugby League has another important event happening in Auckland - the Auckland Nines, League’s answer to Union’s Sevens. The early 2016 tournament, exact dates to be advised, will be the third held at Eden Park and like the first two should attract fans from all over the country and across the ditch.
- The Holden New Zealand PGA Championship forms part of the PGA Tour of Australasia, and will be held at the Remuera Golf Club from the 2nd-6th of March 2016. A great day out!
- The Finn Gold Cup sailing tournament for Finn class vessels will be hosted in November 2015 by the Takapuna Boating Club. This worldwide championship will see sailors from around the world compete off Takapuna Beach.
- The NZ Festival of Tennis - ASB Classic and Heineken Open - will take place at the ASB Tennis Arena from the 4-16th of January 2016. The hot sun never stops big crowds for these premier tennis events.
A car rental from Auckland is the best way to not only see what the city has to offer, but to continue on to see the rest of New Zealand. The urban area spreads far and wide over the shores of two harbours and the slopes of many volcanic cones, so having your own vehicle gives you the freedom to get from place to place and event to accommodation with no worries.
Once you leave the city limits and hit the open roads
, you will appreciate the opportunity to travel on your own schedule. New Zealand is full of hidden gems, and a rental car means you can pull over and enjoy whatever small town, landscape or beach that takes your fancy. Wellington
are good options for beginning your New Zealand road trip.