What's on / Event / Family / Christmas Lights 2023

Christmas Lights 2023

Christmas Lights is returning to MOTAT for 2023! grab your tickets to this popular event now.
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Date & Time

6-9, 13-16, 20-23 December 2023 | 8pm-11pm


Currently on


$2 - $5

Over 12 spectacular nights, MOTAT Great North Road will be transformed into a festive wonderland with stunning light displays, live music, entertainment and much much more.

Running Wednesdays through Saturdays from 6 - 23 December, enjoy tram rides and carol singers, outdoor games, a visit with Santa, along with some delicious kai while taking in the lights.

We will also have a low-sensory cottage to provide a comfortable environment for individuals who need a safe and quieter space during this event.

MOTAT Mates are able to book Christmas Lights tickets for those under their membership free of charge. Tickets are subject to availability and entry cannot be given without a ticket.


Not a Mate? Find out more about the MOTAT Mates annual pass here.

If you have any queries relating to ticket purchases, please contact us at

Christmas Lights is an extremely popular event and sold out last year, so make sure you grab your ticket early to avoid missing out.

Please note:

  • MOTAT Christmas Lights is an all-weather event and will take place rain or shine. There will be no refunds or transfers.

  • The Christmas Lights tram ride is a novel and fun event activity that travels up to the corner of Great North & Motions Road and back. The trams will not be transporting people to and from the Aviation Hall car park.

  • Tickets are subject to availability and entry cannot be given without a ticket.

  • There are no door sales for tickets. You must purchase your tickets online before coming to the event

  • We are aware that scammers are commenting on our social media posts offering tickets, please do not purchase these. Tickets purchased elsewhere may not be genuine and could mean you are declined entry on the night.

  • Full terms and conditions can be found here

Christmas Lights is proudly sponsored by La Lumiere.

Delightful tram rides!

Delightful tram rides!

Christmas Lights General FAQs

What is Christmas Lights?

Christmas Lights is a chance to experience the unique heritage of MOTAT at night, lit for the festive season. The lights and activities are designed for the entire hapori whānui (community); from young to old, TikTokers to grinches, there truly is something magical for everyone to take in. 

How much does Christmas Lights cost?

Tickets are $5 for adults including seniors, and $2 for children (aged 5-15). Under 5’s are free but you must book their free entry ticket at the time of booking. Tickets can be purchased here.    

Note: Purchasing a General Admission ticket to the museum does not entitle you to entry to the event. You need a Christmas Lights ticket valid for the date of your visit.  

Where is Christmas Lights?

Christmas Lights will take place at MOTAT Great North Road. The entry gate is Gate D on Stadium Road. 

Note: No activity will take place at our Motions Road (Aviation Hall) location and no tram service will run from the car park at the Aviation Hall.  

What time does Christmas Lights open/close?

Christmas Lights opens at 8pm and runs until 11pm.

Who can I talk to about ticket queries?

If you have any questions relating to booking tickets for Christmas Lights, please email us at tickets@motat.org.nz.

We will respond to queries between 10am and 3pm Monday - Friday.

Can I bring food?

Yes, you are welcome to bring along kai to eat at Christmas Lights. There will be local food vendors on site to purchase throughout the evening too.

Will food and drinks be available?

Yes, a range of food and non-alcoholic beverages will be available from vendors that cover a variety of dietary requirements. If you have specific food requirements, you can bring your own kai along too. There are also several drinking fountains around the venue to top up at as well.

Is alcohol be available?

No, there will be no alcohol for sale or allowed through the gates at Christmas Lights to foster a safe community atmosphere. 

Can I bring my dog?

Only service dogs are welcome at MOTAT. No dogs or other pets or animals are permitted.

Should I dress up for Christmas Lights?

Yes of course! We welcome any level of Christmas attire. Feel free to come dressed how you will be most comfortable; a lot of our Team will be in costumes.

Please note, that the ground at MOTAT can be uneven and the weather at this time of year can be unpredictable. We recommend you wear sturdy footwear rather than jandals. 

What dates is Christmas Lights?

Christmas Lights will run Wednesdays through to Saturdays, from 6 – 23 December. Christmas Lights will not be running on Christmas Eve or Sundays through to Tuesdays. 

Will there be movies playing like last time?

Movies will not be playing this year as our main exhibition hall is unavailable to visitors while it’s transformed into an interactive science and technology centre, opening in 2024. You can find out more about this exciting development here 

Is there a quiet hour?

Unfortunately, we are not offering a quiet, low-sensory hour at this event. We do offer a low-sensory space each event night in the Village at Willow Cottage. 

The low-sensory cottage is a low-stress and comfortable place for those who need a safe and quieter space during this event. Please don’t mind our friendly host who may pop in to say hello and provide assistance if needed.

We are exploring ways of making Christmas Lights more accessible in the future and appreciate your support and understanding. 

My child gets overwhelmed by loud noises. What can we do to prepare for this before we arrive?

The nature of this event means there will be bright lights, loud noises, and big crowds which young children can often get overwhelmed by.

At opening time (8pm), our collection operators will sound their horns and whistles. We recommend wearing ear defenders or covering their ears just before 8pm until they stop. Loud noises from operating collections, big crowds, food trucks, and live entertainment may also happen on schedule or unexpectedly throughout the night.

If this is of concern, please bring along your own pair of ear defenders. If you want to borrow a pair on the night, please talk to our friendly MOTAT team at the information tent inside the entry gate.

Unfortunately, bright lights and big crowds are unavoidable. This is why we have set up the low-sensory cottage for anyone who needs to take a break. If you need assistance, please approach any of our friendly MOTAT team.

How accessible-friendly is the event?

Many of MOTAT’s public spaces are accessible, but as we are an operational museum spread over a large area with varying terrain, unfortunately not all areas are suitable for wheelchair access.

The outdoor areas to get around at Christmas Lights are wheelchair accessible with the help of another person due to the small section of tram lines. 

Visitors who are sensitive to lights and sound may wish to wear tinted glasses or headphones. We 100% support the use of earmuffs too for visitors who need to reduce sound overall.

Accessible toilet facilities and locations are shown on the map

Immunocompromised people can be assured that the MOTAT Team support the use of face masks and our cleaning team will be ensuring in-depth cleaning takes place throughout the event. 

How will I know if the event is cancelled?

Events at MOTAT are very rarely cancelled and go ahead rain or shine. For updates, please check your email that’s registered to your ticket. You can check our website, follow our Facebook account @MOTATNZ or Instagram MOTAT.NZ for updates as well.

Will I be able to use a stroller/pram at this event?

Yes, strollers/prams are permitted at this event. However, you won’t be able to take it on the tram ride or into smaller capacity spaces. While practical, they can create a health and safety risk and will reduce the capacity which adds to wait times and impacts the experience for others.

We recommend using a baby carrier, sling or backpack while attending this event with young children. You may find these more suitable for navigating the busy crowds as well.

Transport and Parking
How do i get there?

Auckland Transport buses run regularly past MOTAT and require an AT HOP Card to tag on, no cash fares are accepted on AT services. The AT Journey Planner is the best way to map your trip to MOTAT Great North Road.  

Buses that run past MOTAT are: 18, 195, 110, 650, 132, 133, and 134. 

The closest train station is Morningside which is on the Western Line Service. Morningside station is a 25-minute walk to MOTAT Great North Road. Please make sure to check the rail line closures page from Auckland Transport before you plan your trip.  

Car parking in the surrounding area is limited at this popular event. We encourage those who can use public transport, bicycles, or their feet, to leave their cars at home. Rideshare is another option. 

A 155-space car park is located at MOTAT Aviation Hall on Motions Road and it is a scenic 20-25 minute walk through the Western Springs Lakeside Te Wai Ōrea Park to Stadium Road.  

Due to Central Interceptor works and neighbouring events on the Western Springs Outer Fields the greenspace on Stadium Road cannot be used for car parking.   

There are also 10 Locky Dock stations available on Stadium Road to securely park bicycles, but please note that the entry line may hamper access at times

Where can I park?

Car parking in the surrounding area is limited at this popular event. We recommend planning in advance and using other modes of travel.

There is limited parking along Great North Road, with the closest at 790 Great North Road to the right of the Caltex service station. Please bear in mind, that there are certain nights that will be particularly busy due to neighbouring events. Make sure to plan your trip in advance as there will be increased traffic which may delay your journey.

There are 155 car parking spaces at MOTAT Aviation Hall on Motions Road and it is a scenic 20-25 minute walk through the Western Springs Lakeside Te Wai Ōrea Park to Stadium Road. No tram service will run between the locations.

Other parking can be found on Motions Road in the areas near Auckland Zoo.

Due to pedestrian safety, Stadium Road will be closed from 4:00pm-11:30pm on event days. There will be no parking for the public. Mobility access only.

Mobility parking is not able to be booked and is on a first-come, first-served basis, for those with a valid mobility parking permit.

Is there accessibility parking?

Mobility parking is not able to be booked and is on a first-come, first-served basis, for those with a valid mobility parking permit on Stadium Road.

Are buses free to Christmas Lights?

Normal bus fares will apply. We expect buses and trains will be running their usual timetable and fares during Christmas Lights, see AT Journey Planner for more information.  

Can I catch an uber or taxi to the event?

You can catch any rideshare service including Uber to Christmas Lights however the drop-off location may need to be changed depending on traffic in the area. We recommend putting ‘MOTAT, Great North Road’ as the drop-off address and notifying your driver that there is a large event so as to drop you off in a safe spot.

Will the trams be running from the MOTAT Aviation Hall car park?

Trams will not be running for this event.

Trams will run only as short entertainment rides during this year's Christmas Lights. They are not available as transport from MOTAT Aviation Hall to MOTAT Great North Road. If you park at MOTAT Aviation Hall, you will need to make your own way to the Christmas Lights entrance on Stadium Road. 

Can I walk, scoot, or cycle to Christmas Lights?

Of course! You can cycle or scoot to Christmas Lights but you will need to lock up your transport. We have 10 Locky Docks located on Stadium Road. You will not be allowed to take your transport inside the event.

I’m on crutches/in a moon boot and don’t have a mobility parking permit. Is there anywhere I can park at the event that’s closer to the entrance?

Depending on availability, we may be able to help out. Please contact the MOTAT team by email enquiries@motat.org.nz with your request ahead of your chosen night.

Why do MOTAT Mates need tickets this year?

Christmas Lights is a popular event and we need to manage capacity to ensure everyone attending has an enjoyable and safe evening. Having a ticket reduces wait times and guarantees entry on your chosen night. The best way to make this happen is to ticket the event. Mates will receive an email in October with details of when tickets will be available, in line with the membership benefits. 

I’m a MOTAT Mate, how do I get the free ticket that’s included in my membership?

Mates can access their Christmas Lights tickets via their my.motat account, at my.motat.nz/account/login. Even if you are a Mate, if Christmas Lights is sold out and you have not secured Christmas Lights for your chosen date you will not be admitted entry. So make sure you book your free tickets early.   

Purchasing a MOTAT Mates membership over Nov-Dec does not in and of itself entitle you to entry to this event, especially if event tickets are already sold out.  

You may be asked to provide your Mates membership card on the night at the gate.   

I need help to get my MOTAT Mates free tickets, what do I do? 

Please email our membership team at mates@motat.org.nz and will get back to you within 48 hours. 

Can I come for multiple nights for free?

The free entry offer for Mates is for one visit only. Mates will be allocated one ticket for each person on their membership. If you wish to come for multiple nights, you will need to pay for additional tickets. 

Tickets and Refunds
I can’t come anymore, how do I get a refund?

All tickets are non-refundable and date exchanges cannot be given. Please select your tickets and dates carefully at the time of booking. See the event terms and conditions for all information. 

I’ve booked tickets but want to change to a different night.

All tickets are non-refundable and date exchanges cannot be given. Please select your tickets and dates carefully at the time of booking. See the event terms and conditions for all information. 

It says sold out online, are there door sales?

There are no door sales at Christmas Lights. Please do not turn up without a ticket, you will not be allowed to enter the event unless you have a valid ticket for that date. 

I want to give my tickets to someone else; how do I do that?

We will not be checking names on tickets at the gate. The best way to give your tickets to someone else is to forward your ticket confirmation email with the QR code tickets attached to their email address. Alternatively, you can also print the tickets and physically give them to the person you want to pass them on to.  

Once the ticket has been used, it is no longer valid for re-entry. Speak to our team on the ground if you need a pass out of the gate to re-enter.  

Wellbeing, First Aid, and Lost Children at Christmas Lights
Where is the First Aid Tent? 

The First Aid Tent will be located near the event entry gate, on your right as you enter.  

What do I do if I hurt myself?  

If you or some else is injured, please alert a MOTAT Team member or go to the First Aid Tent located at the event entry gate. 

What should I do if someone gets separated from our group and we can’t find them? 

If you or someone in your group is lost, please alert a MOTAT Team member or go to the Lost & Found Tent located near the event entry gate, on your right as you enter. We recommend telling your friends or whānau to go to this point if they get separated for any reason so we can help reunite you quickly. 

How can my child ask for help if they get lost?

Your child can approach any MOTAT Team member to ask for help. All team members are trained on what to do and will take any lost children to the Lost & Found Tent to wait to reunite with their caring adult. 

How does MOTAT handle antisocial behaviour?

MOTAT does its best to reduce the chances of antisocial behaviour by creating a calm and happy environment. On the off-chance this does happen, we will have trained security and staff on-site to de-escalate and keep the persons involved and the rest of the visitors safe. 

Vaping and smoking are not permitted anywhere on MOTAT grounds.  

The event is alcohol-free.  

How does MOTAT manage queues on the night?

With several scanners and check-in desks on the night, MOTAT has significantly reduced wait times at the entry gate from previous years.  

Once a safe capacity on site has been reached, we might pause entry briefly until we can ensure safe movement is maintained at any one time. If you have a valid ticket for that night, you will be allowed entry, but we ask for your patience and understanding if we ask you to wait a short time as we manage attendance numbers.  

Please be kind to our team at the entrance gate, we are working to keep event attendees safe and make sure you all have an enjoyable experience.  

We do ask our visitors to watch their tamariki (children) and exercise a safety-first mindset with any queues that run parallel to tram lines or a busy main road (Great North Road). 

Who can I contact to try and find my lost property?

Please contact the MOTAT team by email enquiries@motat.org.nz with details of your lost item and they will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, call the MOTAT Operator on 09 815 5800 between 8.30am - 5pm.

Please note: Our event schedule is different to previous years.


Some areas are not wheelchair accessible due to stairs, confined spaces, and uneven surfaces.
Noise: Display and activity areas can be noisy.