Christmas in New Zealand

Auckland Christmas Balls

It’s been a long time since we’ve spent a Christmas in Canada. Even before moving on our boat, we spent a few holidays skiing the Alps and another with wild animals in Kruger Park. After multiple seasons in the Caribbean, this year, we’re enjoying Christmas in New Zealand. Here are some of the fun traditions and activities we’ve experienced this holiday season.

New Zealand’s Christmas Trees

Being a commonwealth country, New Zealand celebrates Christmas like us, with Santas, Christmas carols, and Boxing Day. They follow many of the same traditions as North Americans, including Black Friday.

One of my favorite things about Christmas in New Zealand is the Pohutukawa. These evergreen trees bloom bright red flowers every December, giving them the status as the New Zealand Christmas tree. We’ve seen them all over the North Island, near our marina, and in Auckland city. They red flowers paired with green leaves are beautiful, and this year, they are at their brightest red due to last year’s record rain.

Pohutukawa New Zealand Christmas tree, red flowers
New Zealand Christmas Tree

Franklin Street Auckland Decorations

When we were in Auckland in early December, we made a point to visit Franklin Street, famous for its Christmas decorations. It’s been a top tourist attraction every year for decades because all the houses on the street decorate.

Christmas decor Franklin Street Auckland
Home decorated on Franklin Street in Auckland

Conveniently located near the bars and restaurants of Ponsonby, Franklin Street is a great stop pre-or post-dinner. Residents put up a nice variety of holiday lights and decorations. Some even have recordings of Christmas carols. It wasn’t too busy when we were there, mostly families with kids enjoying the holiday spirit, but the closer it gets to December 25th, the busier it gets.

Snowmen house decorations
The only snowman we plan to see this year

Other House Decorations

Franklin Street was the most impressive neighborhood, but others decorated theirs for the holidays.

This home in the Onerahi area of Whangarei had some kiwi twists, including a Santa at the “barbie” and a kiwi bird.

Christmas decorations on a house, santas
Decorated house in Whangarei even has a kiwi!

Several houses in a row on a street in Matamata (also known as Hobbiton) were so nicely decorated, I had to stop for a photo.

Decorated houses in Matamata

Santa Fun Run

What a treat on a Sunday morning to see people of all ages, and their pets, running in Santa costumes. Brian joined the fun run around the town basin loop, while I took photos and cheered. Celebrating Christmas in New Zealand means wearing a Santa hat at the very least.

Santa run Whangarei
Running and cycling in Santa costumes in Whangarei

Boat Decorations

We’re in a marina this holiday, and some people did a great job decorating their boats, reminiscent of our first boat Christmas in Florida. The marina hosted a competition with prizes to encourage decoration. Some cruisers got competitive and did a great job decorating.

Boat decorated in Christmas lights
Our neighbors decorated their boat for Christmas

Unlike us, who last minute put up our Charlie Brown tree in the bow and couldn’t find working lights. We think it’s cute though.

Christmas tree on a boat
Our little tree on the bow of Go

Whangarei Christmas Trees

One of the churches in Whangarei invites local community groups to decorate their own Christmas tree. The church displays all the trees for anyone to visit. It was nice to see youth groups and charities represented through their decorated trees. The rooms full of trees exuded positive and cheery vibes.

Whangarei community trees
Community Christmas trees in Whangarei

Auckland’s Sky Tower

Auckland’s Sky Tower, the over 1000 foot tall telecommunications tower, is a New Zealand landmark. Lit up red and green, the Sky Tower looks lovely for Christmas!

Auckland's Sky Tower lit in Christmas colors
Auckland’s Sky Tower lit for Christmas

Christmas in New Zealand Means Summer Vacation

Since we’re on the other side of the planet from North America, it’s summer in New Zealand. Schools closed in mid December and don’t reopen until February, so all the kids celebrate Christmas during summer vacation or “hols” as they call it here. (Kiwis love their abbreviations.) You think Christmas shopping is bad where you are, try doing it when no one has work or school!

We’ve been informed that a lot of Kiwis go sailing for Christmas, so the beaches and bays will be busy. We have friends visiting, so we’ll be exploring New Zealand by land and water. Should be a fun Christmas! Hope you have a great holiday too!

Christmas in New Zealand pin
Pin me
Pin Christmas in New Zealand
Please pin

Author: Mel

Living aboard a sailboat, scuba diver, cat parent, cyclist, blogger, love the water and exploring new places.

Leave a Reply