Cordis Auckland by Langham

Cordis Auckland by Langham, is a 5-star hotel in downtown Auckland.

Although this was my first time staying at the Cordis I have visited before. Easter last year I had Easter Lunch at Eight Restaurant. At Eight Restaurant patrons can choose dishes from eight kitchen stations. Also in 2013 following the Coca Cola Christmas in the Park concert I stopped at then Langham to check out their Gingerbread Village.

I booked an Executive Room for two nights prior to Christmas. The room was clean and comfortable but in comparison to other inner city 5 star hotels the room felt a bit dated.

Executive Room guests receive access to Cordis Club Lounge on Level 10. Privileges including complimentary daily breakfast, afternoon tea treats, and evening drinks and canapés.

On the first afternoon I had afternoon tea and on the second day I went to the evening drinks and canapés. The service in the Club Lounge is efficient and pleasant.

Club Lounge guests also receive access to the heated rooftop pool and spa pool, saunas, and herbal steam room at Chaun Spa. I did not use these facilities though.

Cordis Auckland by Langham is at 83 Symonds Street, Auckland Central.

Christmas at Prince’s Gate Hotel

I celebrated a Christmas Day with a buffet lunch with my parents at the historic Prince’s Gate Hotel in Rotorua.


The hotel was originally built in Waihi in 1897. In the 1900s the booming gold-mining town of Waihi was the third largest town in New Zealand.

The hotel played a significant part in early New Zealand. It housed extra police officers deployed to the area during the Waihi gold miners’ strike and was used as hospital following an influenza epidemic.

In 1917, it was decided to relocate the building to Rotorua. The hotel was dismantled and transported by horse-drawn wagon to Waihi Railway Station where it was taken by rail to Rotorua.

It was reassembled on the corner of Arawa and Hinemaru Streets directly opposite the gates to the Government Gardens. The Prince’s Gate, also known as the Prince’s Arch and Gateway, was built for the 1901 Royal Visit by the Duke and Duchess of York.

The hotel reopened in 1921 as the Prince’s Gate Hotel.



The lunch was $95 a head and included a carvery / hot station with manuka smoked champagne ham, turkey breast, roast angus beef sirlon, salmon, steamed and roast vegetables.

On the opposite table there was a cauliflower soup, antipasto platter, penne & tuna salad, Caesar salad, and Greek salad.

The dessert station included pavlova, mini cheesecake, brandy snaps, creme burlee tarts, and Christmas pudding with custard.

Breads and tips were served at the table.




Christmas Village, New Plymouth

The Christmas Village is a beautiful Christmas shop in New Plymouth.


The shop has a seven beautifully decorated areas that are each stylised around its own theme. They also have a marquee attached to the main building with more beautiful Christmas items.

Santa’s sleigh is also parked outside the village. Although Santa was not home when I visited.

The village is traditionally open every Saturday, Sunday and Monday from 10am to 4pm. From October it is open 7 days a week.

The Christmas Village will close on 23rd December and reopen for 2020 in April. It is located at 63 Egmont Road, RD 2, New Plymouth.













Karaka Lakes Christmas Lights

At Christmas the residents of Karaka Lakes go all out decorating their homes with lights.

Light Up Karaka Lakes

Light Up Karaka Lakes

Light up Karaka Lakes has been running since 2010.

There has been a little bit of controversy between the council and the neighbourhood group this year with the council charging $5500 for a traffic management plan on top of the $8000 charged for resource consent to host the event.



The highlight is a light and music show – think flashing lights synchronised to Christmas carols and Frozen. The light shows starts at 9pm, weather permitting, and will run until 24th December. The light show is at 20 Cornwall Place (on the corner of Cornwall Place and Lake Drive).

Santa also offers free rides on his sleigh, weather permitting, from 8pm.



Christmas Lights House Pukekohe

Every year the owners of number 25 Prospect Terrace, Pukekohe decorate their home for Christmas.

25 Prospect Tce

As well as decorating the house and front lawn with Christmas lights they have decorated shelves inside the front and side windows with a variety of Christmas ornaments.

The lights are on from 8:30pm till 10:30-11:00pm.

We arrived a little after 8pm and it was drizzling and not quite dark enough yet to fully enjoy the lights.

25 Prospect Tce, Pukekohe decorated for Christmas

25 Prospect Tce, Pukekohe decorated for Christmas

Christmas window display

Christmas window display

From 10th to 24th December, weather permitting, they will also have a Santa onsite. They are also running a competition ‘Find the Peg’, children find a mini peg hidden in the front shelves. Winner will be drawn on 23rd December.

They are also collecting funds for the Pukekohe Volunteer Fire Brigade. Last year they raised $913.60.

Waiuku Christmas Display

The Waiuku Memorial Hall has been transformed into a Christmas Wonderland.

Waiuku Christmas Display

Waiuku Christmas Display

The Christmas Display, which is on at the Waiuku Memorial Hall (80 Queen Street, Waiuku) is open Thursday to Sunday from 10am to 8pm until 24th December. From 16th to 24th December it will be open every day.

Adults are $6 and children are $2.

Also on Sundays visitors can catch the train from Glenbrook Vintage Railway (153 Glenbrook Station Road) to Waiuku and experience both these attractions.

The Christmas Display is created by Waiuku residents Jim and Phyllis Sneddon. They have been building their collection for the past 20 years and have been displaying it for the last 5 years at Waiuku Memorial Hall.

This is the last year the Sneddon’s will display their collection as they plan to sell the collection next year. Hopefully someone will take over the collection and continuing displaying it.







Christmas on Queen Street 2015

Queen Street is getting into the festive spirit with Smith and Caughey’s annual Christmas window display and the giant Santa erected on the corner of Queen and Victoria Street.

Smith & Caughey's Christmas window display

Smith & Caughey’s Christmas window display

This past weekend the infamous giant Santa, his two reindeer and presents were erected on the side of the newly opened Farmers store on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets. The giant Santa had his origins with Farmers, from 1960 to 1990 the sculpture was displayed on Farmers’ Hobson Street store.

Santa on the side of the Farmers building, corner of Queen & Victoria Sts

Santa on the side of the Farmers building, corner of Queen & Victoria Sts

The Auckland Farmers Santa Parade, which travels down Queen Street is coming up on Sunday November 29th with a new starting time of 1pm. The rain date is Sunday 6th December.

2014 Farmers Santa parade

2014 Farmers Santa parade

For more pictures from the 2014 Auckland Farmers Santa Parade check out my blog post from last year.

Earlier in the month Smith and Caughey’s (253 – 261 Queen Street) unveiled their annual Christmas window display. Santa will also be in store in Santa’s Enchanted Forest from November 24th to December 24th. Check their website for more details.

This year’s display is inspired by Clement C. Moore’s (1799 – 1863) classic Christmas poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. The display features mechanical puppets and music.







Auckland Farmers Santa Parade

Tens of thousands of people lined the streets this afternoon for the 81st Auckland Farmers Santa Parade.


The Parade was introduced in 1934 by Farmers founder Robert Laidlaw and has been running strong ever since.

Prior to the parade volunteers collected for the Child Cancer Foundation. There is a link on their website if you wish to donate.

The Parade started at 2.00pm, and travelled a 2.2km route starting at the corner of Cook Street and Mayoral Drive, before turning left and travelling down Queen Street, then turning left onto Customs Street West and up Albert Street, finishing at Albert and Wellesley Streets.

Auckland Farmers Santa Parade route map

Auckland Farmers Santa Parade route map

Helium balloons at the Santa Parade

Helium balloons at the Santa Parade

Christmas themed floats

Christmas themed floats

Santa Parade floats

Santa Parade floats

The Parade was followed by Santa’s Party in Aotea Square hosted by Stacey Morrison from The Hits. There were performances by the Kangoo Jumps, Popcorn the clown, Auckland City Theatre Academy, National Youth Theatre Company, West City Concert Band and pop boy band Titanium. And an appearance by Santa Claus himself of course!

Kangoo Jumps

Kangoo Jumps




National Youth Theatre Company





Christmas on Queen Street

It is only mid November but Queen Street is already starting to get into the festive spirit.

Santa with his reindeer and presents on top of Whitcoulls Building cnr of Queen & Victoria Sts

Santa with his reindeer and presents on side of the Whitcoulls building, corner of Queen & Victoria Streets

This past weekend the infamous giant Santa, two of his reindeer and presents were erected on the side of the Whitcoulls building on the corner of Queen and Victoria Street.

In 1960 Farmers erected the giant Santa sculpture on the front of their building on the corner of Hobson and Wyndham Street.

The sculpture weighed over 5 tons (4535 kg) and was nearly 18 metres (59 ft) tall. It featured a winking eye and a beckoning finger to encourage customers into the store. Over the years many Aucklanders found the beckoning finger and winking eye to be ‘creepy’.

Santa was erected on Farmers’ Hobson St store every Christmas for almost 30 years. After the store was sold in 1990 the giant Santa was relocated to the Manukau Shopping Centre where he appeared at Christmas from 1991 to 1995. In 1996 the shopping centre decided not to put Santa up because of his tired and worn appearance.

In 1998, Stephen Hanford purchased Santa from Farmers for $1. A restoration project began and Santa found his new home on the side of the Whitcoulls building on Queen Street. When Mr Hanford left the country in 2003 he transferred ownership to Whitcoulls. In 2008 Whitcoulls announced they could no longer finance the giant Santa and gifted it to the City.

In 2009 Santa underwent a $100,000+ makeover, which included removing his ‘creepy’ beckoning finger.

In October this year it was announced that Santa and his reindeer would not be returning this Christmas because Auckland’s downtown business association Heart of the City could no longer justify the installation costs of $180,000.

It was a miracle on Queen Street! Auckland construction company Mansons TCLM offered to take responsibility for installing, storing and maintaining Santa. SkyCity also offered a $50,000 donation to the cause. Santa was saved.


Santa's reindeer being erected Sunday 16 November

Santa’s reindeer being erected Sunday 16 November

On the twelfth day of Christmas, a gift was sent to me:


11 swallows swoopin’, 10 sloops a-sailin’, 9 mermaids singin’, 8 dolphins swimmin’, 7 monkeys swingin’, 6 Jolly Rogers, 5 chests of gold, 4 cacklin’ hens, 3 black cats, 2 cutlasses, an’ a parrot in a palm tree.

Last Thursday evening, department store Smith & Caughey’s unveiled their annual Christmas window display.

Smith & Caughey's

Smith & Caughey’s

This year’s display is inspired by the children’s book A Pirate’s Twelve Days of Christmas, written by Phillip Yates and illustrated by Sebastia Serrà.

Smith & Caughey's Christmas window display

Smith & Caughey’s Christmas window display

Smith & Caughey’s Christmas window display is on at their Queen Street store (253 – 261 Queen Street) until January 4th. Also from 26th November Santa will be in store in their annual Santa’s Enchanted Forest.

Coming up on Sunday 30th November (rain date Sunday 7 December) is the Auckland Farmers Santa Parade, which will be traveling down Queen Street. This has been annual Christmas tradition for 80 years.

2013 Auckland Farmers Santa Parade

2013 Auckland Farmers Santa Parade