While it feels like everyone we know is half way to Europe by now, in our opinion, there is a lot to love about July in Auckland. Despite the inclement weather and the impending arrival of school holidays, the City has a raft of gastronomic and cultural delights that promise to impress even the harshest of critics. Here, we’ve rounded up a guide on all the things to eat, see and do in Auckland over July. Mid-winter has never looked so good.
The Hub & The Snugs at Elemental
This winter, the City’s beloved Elemental Festival returns, which will see an enthusiastic embrace of culture taking over Auckland. With music, performance, food and art being the drawcards for this festival and a number of venues around the City participating, one spot will prove the go-to for anyone who wanting the full Elemental experience. The Elemental AKL Hub is set to take over Aotea Square with art installations of epic proportions, roaming performances and live DJs, alongside the return of its famous ‘snugs’ — an igloo-like take on al fresco dining, where punters can enjoy a delicious food and drinks within the confines of an enclosed (but translucent) pod. Suitable for six people, there’s no better excuse to get the friends together for dinner and a show.
Dates: Thursday the 14th of July — Sunday the 31st of July.
Battle of the Vines: A French Takeover
In the final instalment of the delightful Onemata Wine Dinners, this elegant affair promises some of the finest French flavours over one lovely evening. Inspired by the Park Hyatt restaurant’s coveted collection of rare and exquisite wines, the dinner will see guests enjoying a night of comparing and contrasting drops from Clos Henri Winery Marlborough and Domaine Thomson Winery Central Otago. Diners will enjoy New Zealand and French varietals alongside a specially curated menu, featuring some of Onemata’s most beloved dishes. Reservations are essential.
Date: Thursday the 7th of July | $175 per person.
Takarua — Nafanua, War Goddess Banquet
As the sequel to the sold-out 2021 production, Takurua — Battle of the Brothers, this second iteration promises just as much in the way of culture, entertainment and gastronomic delight. Takurua — Nafanua, War Goddess is a truly unique experience that weaves together hospitality, theatre and dance and is one of the headlining experiences of Elemental. Sharing the story of Nafanua, one of history’s most famed war goddesses, and drawing inspiration from Māori hākari, the Samoan fale aitu tradition and Pasifika feasting rituals, Takurua welcomes you to join a celebration of indigenous practices in food preparation, dance, feasting and theatrical storytelling.
Dates: Thursday the 14th of July — Saturday the 23rd of July | $120 — $200 per person.
Samsung Foldable Film Festival
The free Samsung Foldable Film Festival celebrates the nostalgic launch of the latest Samsung Mobile. In this special event, Flying Fish Studios directors have all leant their versatile perspectives and unique takes on the cameras found in the phone. The result is a curated short film festival that shares immersing, engaging stories showcasing the power of film and some of the country’s best talent. Only 200 Kiwis will have the opportunity to secure a spot to the festival’s exclusive premiere, including a drink and popcorn — tickets are free but essential.
Date: Friday the 8th of July.
Church Road’s The Feast of Five Dinner at The Lodge Bar & Dining
The best food goes beyond simply tasting good alone. And the most excellent meals harness all five senses to offer an immersive culinary experience. It is precisely this kind of idea that has inspired the latest collaboration between Matt Lambert, the head chef of The Lodge Bar & Dining, and Church Road, the 125-year-old winery that hails from Hawkes Bay. As dining aficionados, we know that some of the best experiences can come from collaboration, and this is certainly no exception. In a specially-crafted, five-course degustation menu with matching wines, diners will discover how the five senses can completely alter their food experience.
Date: Wednesday the 6th of July | $170 per person.
Ancient Greeks Exhibition at Auckland Museum
The latest exhibition in residency at Auckland Museum is a look back at one of the most ancient civilisations, the birth of democracy and the relevance it maintains in today’s world. The Ancient Greeks Exhibition explores iconic sculptures and the culture’s history in an exhibition never seen of this scale in Auckland before The collection is on to view until Sunday the 6th of November, but school holidays are the perfect time to take the kids.
Dates: Daily throughout July | $25 adults, members free.
Georgia Jay Sample Sale
Auckland-based leatherware and handbag designer Georgia Jay will open the doors to her coveted collection this weekend. This sale allows those in the know a first chance to shop the beautifully bold samples alongside sale items and seconds from her most exciting (and most colourful) current collection. Those who can’t make it to the K Road sale this Saturday can shop the sale online exclusively on Sunday — not limiting the coveted pieces to those currently in the city. It’s a sample sale that promises greatness, especially for those seeking the next up-and-coming New Zealand brand in leather goods.
Date: Saturday the 2nd of July.
Peter Gordon presents Kai Franklin
With ongoing alert levels putting a spanner in the works for Homeland’s signature cooking class offerings, we’re really looking forward to this special event with Peter Gordon. As a celebration of Franklin’s food producers — the region that produces up to 26% of all produce used across Auckland’s hospitality venues — the four-course dinner promises to be an ode to the region. Alongside a chance to hear from the producers directly, diners will experience the lauded chefs’ delicious interpretation of the ingredients.
Date: Wednesday the 6th of July | $145 per person.
Quantum Memories at Commercial Bay
An investigation that feels eerily like an episode of Black Mirror, the Quantum Memories exhibition from Refik Anadol Studio poses grand questions about the future of our society. Considering the intersection and growing scale of Google’s AI, the project is inspired by and speculation of the Many-Worlds Interpretation in quantum physics – a theory that many parallel worlds exist in the same space and time as our own. The 3D visual piece will take up residence in Commercial Bay, prompting a provocative shopping experience that is both interactive and intuitive.
Dates: Thursday the 14th of July — Sunday the 31st of July.
Ice Skating at Aotea Square
Reminiscent of a New York Christmas, this public skating rink offers less glamour and more giddiness as we dust off the skates and prepare to dance across the ice again. Open daily for the entirety of Elemental AKL, alongside the regular occurrence of Drag Discos courtesy of our local divas, this experience is delightfully winter-in-the-city, and we couldn’t be more excited. Whether it’s an outing with the kids or a cute first date, this is an experience you don’t want to miss this month. Bookings aren’t essential but are recommended.
Dates: Friday the 24th of June — Sunday the 31st of July | $23 adults, $19 children.
Dope Lemon at Auckland Town Hall
Music lovers will be pleased with the lineup as part of this year’s Elemental AKL, including some significant international artists who have seen plenty of time pass since last gracing our shores. Dope Lemon, the side-project-turned-main-act from folk singer Angus Stone, is one headliner who brings his effervescent vocals to a palpable scale thanks to the acoustics and charm of Auckland Town Hall.
Date: Friday the 22nd of July | Tickets begin at $69.90.