Coming in to the city centre for the yacht racing? Here's all the important things to know for an action-packed 4 days in the city centre from December 17-20, plus inspiration on the best things to see and do while you're here. 

Emirates Team New Zealand

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4 days of action on the water  

From December 17-20, four international teams from New Zealand, Italy, United States, and Great Britain will compete against each other for the PRADA America’s Cup World Series Auckland (17-19 Dec) and the PRADA Christmas Race (20 Dec). The event will see current America’s Cup Defender Emirates Team New Zealand, the Challenger of Record Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team, INEOS TEAM UK and New York Yacht Club American Magic race over four days on the Waitematā Harbour. 

Race details you need to know: 

  • Racing goes from 3pm to 6pm each day, with the first race on December 17 seeing Emirates Team New Zealand compete against Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team. There will be four races per day of round robin competition when all of the four teams will race each other twice. See the race format here
  • The fourth day (20th of December) the PRADA Christmas Race will kick off and will be comprised of two knock out stages, the first stage consists of two head to head match ups, the winners of each will progress to the final, the losers to a 3rd and 4th match which will help decide the final rankings. The pairing of the Christmas Race semifinals will be decided by the results of the PRADA ACWS Auckland double Round Robin. 
Americas Cup Race village

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Enjoying the action from the Race Village 

Situated at the start of Hobson’s Wharf and continuing on through the Eastern Viaduct and the Western Viaduct, up to the Jellicoe Car Park, the America’s Cup Race Village officially opens December 15 and is free to enter and a great place to enjoy the action from or just soak up the atmosphere. Besides the Village stage and big screens, fans can buy merchandise and test their sailing skills on the AC75 simulator, enjoy a meal or drink at Te Pou, a New Zealand themed bar and restaurant, or toast with champagne at the custom-built two storey Mumm Yacht Club champagne bar, all in the heart of the race village. There will also be concerts, cultural activities and other exciting activations taking place with more to be announced soon. The Village has a limited visitor capacity and will operate from 9am until 11pm on racing days and from 10am until 10pm on non racing days. Download the Race Village map here

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Or watch it live from on the water, or other big screens in the city centre

Explore are offering passengers a range of experiences to watch the racing from the water. Packages vary but include priority racecourse positioning, all inclusive cocktail-style catering, an open bar and live commentary. They also have a huge range of other on water experiences including their Auckland Harbour dinner cruises (a great summer date night activity) and their America's Cup sailing experience. See more details here.

Get a group together to support Team New Zealand 

wynyard pavilion

Wynyard Pavillion | 17 Jellicoe St, Wynyard Quarter

Wynyard Pavilion is set to be the home of sailing this summer as Steinlager’s Official Supporter’s Bar of Emirates Team New Zealand. A favourite local for the competing teams, Wynyard Pavilion allows reservations for large groups and corporate hosting on race days and has large screens to watch the sailing throughoutOn December 18, the second day of racing, there are $2 oysters along with $60 bottles of champagne part of their Thank Shuck It's Friday offer. Enjoy the race weekend in style!

The Conservatory

The Conservatory | 17 Jellicoe St, Wynyard Quarter

The Conservatory, another Wynyard Quarter hotspot have also officially been named as the INEOS TEAM UK Official Fan Supporters Bar. To celebrate, they're taking a luxurious approach to experiencing all upcoming race days, offering front-row VIP tables on their lawn for $150 per person, featuring champagne, wines or beers for the table, charcuterie or seafood platters and a divine selection of desserts. There'll also be 5 large high-definition screens around the venue to watch the races up close, and their new head chef has just redesigned their food menu too. 

Summer in the Square

Summer in the Square 2020

Aotea Square | 291-297 Queen Street

Auckland Live has just announced its Summer In The Square programme which includes epic activations for the whole family to enjoy, and will also be screening the racing live from the big screen in Aotea Square all summer long. 

Harbourside seafood platter

Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill | 99 Quay Street

As an official champagne partner with G.H. Mumm Champagne and the 36th America’s Cup, Harbourside Ocean Bar Grill is a great place to head to for watching the racing in style. There are plenty of big screens so you won’t miss a beat – plus keep an eye out on the water from the deck – you might see the boats fly past too! Harbourside have 4 different Race Day Packages to choose from – a race day a la carte menu, a Mumm Grand Cordon Champagne & Seafood Platter package, a Graze & Indulge package or a Banquet Deluxe package. Check out all the details here.

Plan a Christmas catch up for while you're here 

Whether it's summer cocktails, flavoursome tapas or a high tea with all the trimmings, plan a unique Christmas catch up this festive season with our guides.

Check out the transformation at Lower Queen Street Square and do some shopping

The city centre will have a brand new ‘first impression’ location officially opened on December 18 - the new public square at the harbour end of Queen Street. The designs for the square weave together the cultural and environmental heritage of the area, acknowledging the point where the Waitematā Harbour and the Waihorotiu stream that runs beneath the Queen Street valley meet. This local history sits alongside the early-1900s heritage of Britomart Station and the brand new landmark Commercial Bay development full of new retail offerings and just a short stroll from great boutiques in Britomart and High Street.

Check out a Christmas market 

Christmas isn't complete with out a festive market! Check out all the markets taking place in the city centre this December including those at Victoria Park Market and Ellen Melville Centre on December 17. 

Check out a new attraction before, after or between races 

Make your time in the city centre a memorable one by checking out a brand new attraction. The Spark 5G Race Zone (free) is the perfect pre-race viewing activity giving visitors the opportunity to feel, create, learn and even smell all things sailing. The All Blacks Experience is another great one for sport fans, located on Federal Street, celebrating the All Blacks and our national teams; or if you're more of a film fanatic, check out Weta Workshop Unleashed (also on Federal Street) for a guided behind the scenes look at Weta's incredible creative process. 

And check out all the lights and decorations adorning the streets

Find all the best parking and transport tips and tricks 

Check out the info below or use Auckland Transport's journey planner to find the best way to get to the action from where you are. There will be some changes to road access and public transport schedules to help the event run smoothly, so it's a good idea to plan ahead - head to the Auckland Transport website for all of the details. 

Last updated: 11 February 2021