Budget Friendly Entertainment For Spring
Daylight saving started, check. Spring school holidays on, check. Less than a month to Labour Weekend, check. It's starting to feel a lot like spring! And although most of New Zealand hasn't had too bad a winter who isn't looking forward to the longer and warmer days ahead?
So what to do with the family during spring? How to keep them occupied without breaking the bank? Well a casual check of local newspapers and event websites will give you lots and lots suggestions. From indoor festivals, to outdoor markets and events, there is actually an awful lot over the next few months in New Zealand.
Spring has fickle weather, so it's often a last minute decision, particularly for any outdoor activity. That said spring can be one of the best times to explore our local and regional parks and beaches. It's not swimming weather but it can be lovely weather for a day trip.
If you are anywhere near Taranaki then their many local gardens are an awesome display of spring blooms this time of year. Wellington's Botanic Gardens are already in full tulip-display mode.
Although I don't like to mention it, it's less than three months to Christmas. If you have a wet day and fancy some advanced Christmas baking now is the perfect time to be making the Christmas Cake and Christmas Mince and the Pudding (for the freezer). Even if you've not done it before, there are heaps of recipes on the Internet, and these are easy things to make which taste so much better than the over-priced commercial alternatives.
Or maybe get the kids making crafts which they can give away for Christmas presents? Waiting to December can be a big mistake - as the end-of-year circus of functions and school breakups does tend to take over.
School Holiday Entertainment
During the school holidays, every town has plenty of entertainment on for the kids and parents alike. Council's and schools tend to run cheaper options including holiday programs at:
Some specific budget-friendly activities on these school holidays around New Zealand:
- MOTAT in Auckland is running a "Turn Back Time" Victorian-themed experience
- Auckland Museum has a number of different free programs for kids of various ages including story telling and crafts
- In Wellington Porirua's NZ Police Museum is offering a free Junior Detective Mystery
- Also in Wellington there is a free Meet the Puppets sessions with the puppet stars of Capital E National Theatre
- Most major libraries have some type of local free activity over the holidays
Other Spring Events
The Indian Diwali Festival of Lights is celebrated in many parts of New Zealand, during October, and children particularly love the colour and exotic sights of the Indian "lighting of the lamps" festival. Check your local listings but Wellington, Auckland, and Napier all have events for Diwali.
For a more traditional event what about an A&P show? Hawke's Bay is celebrating their 150th anniversary of the Napier A&P Show at Labour Weekend.
Aside from the school holidays what else can you look forward to? Well as usual Labour Weekend brings lots of entertainment options, many of them cheap or free.
Armageddon Expo 2013 is happening in Auckland over Labour Weekend - not free but THE event of spring for everyone into gaming, comics, cosplay and similar.
Although we may have lost the America's Cup, it's got to be said the profile of yachts and boats with sails has not been so high in NZ for a long time. Auckland is hosting the Tall Ships Festival which will see about 600 sailors participating. There won't be any super-fast catamarans, but it will be a cool family-friendly event!
Guy Fawkes Night
It's rather curious that we still celebrate the unsuccessful terrorist act on the English Parliament over 300 years ago - but there you go -remember 5 November is the big night - though some cities will put on display on the previous Saturday night.
I hope somewhere in these of suggestions you find something to inspire you - New Zealand is spring really does offer something for everyone, and usually without the summer crowds!