"Journey through the spectacular illumination of lanterns, feast on Chinese delicacies and enjoy stunning on-stage performances at Albert Park."
The sun goes down and the lanterns light up.
The Auckland Lantern festival is the first place I met B. It was the year of the snake. We wandered through the lanterns before deciding that this was too busy to chat for a first date, so we headed off down to the Macs brew bar for some drinks.
Snake - Seductive and cunning, the suspicious snake is also wise and charming. - Chinese New Year Calendar
I must have been seductive, charming, wise and especially cunning because we have been together ever since. And this year (2014) we decided to go back and relive our first date. But this time we were going to spend more time looking at the lanterns.
From memory it took me about an hour last year to drive into the city and manage to find a park amongst the many festival visitors. (I was over an hour late for our first date, poor B!). So this year we decided to bus into the city, although being Aucklanders, taking public transport does not come naturally to us. This was a great idea however, no parking, no traffic and dropped off right by Albert Park.
The date was February 14th, Valentine’s Day. B had already surprised me at work by sending a red rose and a box of cupcakes (he is usually not the romantic type). Dinner at the lantern festival was going to be our "Romantic" valentine’s day. So that’s what we did, dinner was chicken teriyaki rice, teriyaki squid kebabs, chicken kebabs and toffee coated strawberries (can you feel the romance? It was almost palpable...). We sat up on the grass and munched into the goodness of the street food which reminded me of our times in Borneo.
Everyone needs to try a toffee coated strawberry stick.
After enjoying our dinner we decided to go for a walk around the festival and enjoy the lanterns. People all around the festival had purchased bubble makers, lanterns, funny hats and the all-important 23 million dollar power ball ticket in a lucky red envelope.
As you walk around the festival you see a variety of lanterns in all different shapes and sizes. The lanterns are especially beautiful while the sun is setting, their gleam illuminating the whole park. Some of our favourite lanterns were the birds hanging high up in the trees, the bees feeding on nectar in flowers and the monkeys who were climbing up lamp posts.
Other highlights include on-stage performances, kite making demonstrations, Cantonese Opera Society of New Zealand, Jiangzhou Drumming Group from Shanghai, Butterfly Troupe - female musician group from Hangzhou and Tang Dynasty.
Horse - The free-spirited horse is sociable and independent, but can be impatient. - Chinese New Year Calendar
By this time we had seen most that the lantern festival had to offer and since it was the year of the horse we were impatient for a drink. So like last year we decided to leave and walk down to Macs Brew bar. Yum a glass of rose and a beer for B, a great way to end a fantastic evening!
The lantern festival is a must if you are visiting Auckland, New Zealand in February. Now in it's 15th year, you can see eight hundred incredible hand-crafted lanterns that illuminate the night skies. This is a free event so there is no excuse to not go along and celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Date night next year B?
P.S. Don't forget the Sky Tower fireworks on Sunday night to finish the Lantern Festival celebrations.