Where to find the best Christmas lights in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and across NZ

After another gruelling year of COVID-19, it's time to get into the holiday spirit - and there are few things as special as wandering the streets looking at Christmas lights.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and the need to keep the public safe and healthy, many of the most well-known displays have been cancelled - including those at MOTAT and Auckland's Franklin Rd.

But don't fear, a number are still going ahead. Check out a list of some of the best below.

Christmas Light Show in Te Komititanga

Heart of the City, Commercial Bay and Auckland Council have teamed up to present a "large scale projected light show" that covers the Chief Post Office (Britomart train station) in downtown Auckland. It's 55m-wide and 32m-tall.

The light show will display a Christmas adventure, with viewers starting in the heart of Auckland, travelling to the North Pole and into Santa's Workshop.

It is running daily between 8:45pm and 11pm until Christmas Eve.

Vector lights for the festive season

The Auckland Harbour Bridge won't sit dull and quiet over the holiday period.

Instead, Vector will illuminate the water crossing with a "sustainable light show" that repeats every 30 minutes between December 13 and December 24 from 9pm to midnight.

The show has its own accompanying soundtrack to help everyone with their festive cheer.

Hamilton Christmas Tree

The First Credit Union Christmas Tree will return to Hamilton's Garden Place once again in 2021.

The 27m-tall tree is strung with Christmas lights of a variety of sparkling colours, making it a bright beacon in the middle of the city. It takes 15 people to install the frame and lighting as well as to fluff the branches and hang the baubles.

It is lighting up Hamilton until the New Year.

Paeroa Christmas Lights

The Historical Maritime Park in the town of Paeroa is promising a "spectacular display of lights dancing to music" as part of the event.

There's a number of different activities and settings at the museum's large site, including an outdoor movie theatre, an enchanted forest and a large Christmas tree.

This is running from December 10 until Christmas Eve.

Professional Christmas Lights

For the 22nd year running, Professionals has organised Christmas lights maps allowing locals to travel around their towns to see the best displays on show.

In Manawatu on Saturday, residents can get a ticket on a bus tour with all funds donated to the Arohanui Hospice. You can also vote for your favourite lit property until Monday.

Wellington Christmas Lights Map

Back for another year, this helpful map will assist Wellingtonians and those living in Kapiti and the Wairarapa hunt down properties displaying Chirstmas lights.

A full list of addresses will be available next week. 

Hornby house Christmas light show

The NotEnoughLights Christmas light show features more than 280,000 LED lights on a property on Dunluce Place in Christchurch's Hornby.

The house and garden is covered in lights that are synchronised to a number of songs.

The incredible show is running every night between 8:30pm and 10:30pm until the end of December. 

Shands Rd Christmas lightshow

Across Christchurch, on Shands Rd, thousands of lights can be found synchronised to rock and classical music.

There's a number of different displays, including Disney characters, Christmas villages, a witches band and custom Hotrod cars.

The event hopes to raise awareness for Motor Neurone Disease and is running until December 30 between 8:30pm and 11:30pm.

Light Up Christmas

If you're unable to make any of the bigger events, and simply want to find a list of lit up properties, this is the website for you.

It boasts "possibly the most comprehensive list of Christmas displays in all of New Zealand", with a detailed map of where to find the beautifully illuminated houses.