Christmas 2020: Where to find Santa in New Zealand

Here are some spots you can find the big man in red.
Here are some spots you can find the big man in red. Photo credit: Getty.

Why not take some time out to enjoy the freedoms New Zealand is lucky to have and get into the Christmas mood by visiting Santa? 

The big man in red is busy this December, making winter wonderlands of the likes of Westfield or Kiwi Property malls, and even appearing on your phone with Countdown's augmented reality Santa filter.

Here are some other spots where you can find Santa this month:

Snowplanet (Nov 28 - Dec 24): Santa can be found here staying warm in his cabin. Guests are told to pile on the layers as it's a chilly -5C in the snow dome. Families can get a photo with Santa, toboggan around his Winter Wonderland and partake in other Christmas-themed activities.

Smith and Caughey's (Nov 21 - Dec 24): Head to Auckland's Smith and Caughey's department store to take part in Santa's Enchanted Forest Experience. Before you meet and get a picture with Santa, guests can explore the Enchanted Forest, even getting a glance at Santa's helpers preparing toys for December 25.

Rainbow's End (Nov 28 - Dec 23): Santa's Grotto is open! On weekends, Santa's elves will be around on the weekends to greet visitors and take them through the grotto to meet the man in red. There will also be a visit to his sleigh in the snow afterwards. On weekdays, meet the elves while Santa is busy. 

Centreplace (Nov 28 - Dec 24): Before he heads back to the North Pole, Santa can be found in Hamilton's Centreplace, outside the Farmers department store. Children who check in here will receive a free Christmas book.

Tauranga Crossing (Nov 27 - Dec 24): You'll find the jolly fellow in his new Toy Workshop, which is located in the Centre Court, between Michael Hill and Pascoes. Kids are given a "bespoke, limited edition" decoration with a pack of felts to customise it.

Queensgate Shopping Centre (Dec 11 - Dec 13): The Santa hanging out at this Wellington mall is encouraging Kiwis to bring along their furry friends for a picture. The 'small dog' and 'other pets' day is already sold out, but if you want to bring your 'big dog' along for a photo, there's still a chance.

Ballantynes (Nov 21 - Dec 24): Meet the big man in red at this Christchurch department store on the lower ground floor next to the Christmas shop. Due to COVID-19 measures, children won't be able to sit on Santa's knee, but next to him. 

Queen Elizabeth II Park (days between Dec 10 and Dec 22): In place of this year's cancelled Christchurch Santa Parade, Santa's Mega Grotto will run for 10 days so children don't miss out on the fun. To cut down on expenses for parents, a professional photographer won't be available, so attendees are asked to bring their mobile phones. 

The Palms (Nov 28 - 24 Dec): The Palms shopping centre will be hosting Santa in the Centre Court opposite Donut King. It's free to meet him, while a Scene to Believe Christ photo costs $15.90. Any child who purchases a photo will receive a free book.