Auckland’s winter festival, Elemental AKL, underway with music, food, art

It’s time to emerge from your winter hibernation, Auckland.

Elemental AKL has returned for a third year, bringing a mixture of more than 50 free and paid events and experiences across the city.

The mid-winter festival began on Wednesday and continues till August 1.

The hub of the activity is the winter playground at Aotea Square, where an ice rink and ice slide are already attracting hundreds of skaters every day, according to Auckland Live.

Five domes where up to eight people can dine privately, known as The Snugs, have also returned.

“Kitted out with comfy furniture, blankets, and heaters, the five eye-catching geodesic domes are the perfect spots for rugging up and relaxing at the snuggest winter catch ups with friends, team lunches, birthday parties or pre-show meals.”

Bookings can be made at

The world’s still off limits for most of us, but thankfully its tastes remain in reach with the Auckland Night Markets offering authentic international cuisine from Hungarian flat bread to churros.

Dining is possible takeaway, al fresco in the square, or inside a booked Snug.

And if people-watching doesn’t provide enough entertainment, Auckland Live’s Digital Stage has screenings of Southern Ocean adventure, Go Further South, with penguins, orca and icebergs on offer as cameras take you on a virtual journey through the landscapes of the chilly sub-Antarctic.

Orchestral rave Synthony – where a full orchestra, DJs and live vocalists mix the magic of lights and lasers with some of the best-loved dance tracks of the last 30 years – has a one-night only show at Spark Arena


Meanwhile, metro trains and buses will be free after 9pm, until the end of that day’s service, throughout the festival, Auckland Transport said.

Face coverings must be worn on public transport.

The free services were a great way to get home safe after enjoying their night out at an Elemental event, Inspector Siaosi (George) Fanamanu, Auckland City District road policing manager, said.

“We don’t want people drinking and then making a bad decision to drive, putting them, their passengers and other road users at risk.

“There’s always an alternative to drink driving so plan your ride home ahead of time.”

Back in Aotea Square, Takurua – Battle of the Brothers dinner theatre offers a banquet of neo-Pasifika cuisine from a team of the city’s best Pasifika chefs, led by Wallace Mua Frost from Euro Bar and Restaurant, and accompanied by displays of Māori martial arts and Pasifika contemporary dance.

For those wanting to enjoy the sunshine, Winter Forage at the end of the month starts with a guided city walk which included learning which plants, leaves and berries can be eaten,as well as learning about Māori food gathering traditions.

Exhibitions, degustation dining, live music, art trails and harbour cruises are also planned over the next two weeks, with more information on the festival at

Auckland Harbour Bridge also lit up from last night for Vector lights for Elemental AKL, with light and sound shows continuing every half hour between 6pm and midnight until July 31.

The soundtrack is available at, with Little Shoal Bay in Northcote, Bayswater Marina, Bastion Point, Mt Eden, Harbour View Beach Reserve at Te Atatū and Auckland’s waterfront among places where the light show can best be seen.

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