Similar in scope to the Whitianga Scallop Festival, the Auckland Seafood Festival was started in 2006 as means of celebrating the abundant seafood culture so prevalent in this South Pacific outpost. Held each January during Auckland’s anniversary festivities this extravaganza is frequently held overlooking the bustling and scenic expanse of Auckland Harbor. Some of the country’s best musical acts perform over the course of the three-day festival, and the event is punctuated by culinary competitions, free activities for kids, and an ample selection of New Zealand’s finest locally sourced beers and wines.
The main draw, however, is undoubtedly the seafood. The waters around Aotearoa pulse with over 100 species of seafood, and festival vendors expertly prepare dozens of mouth-watering dishes for attendees to enjoy. Be sure to hit the festival with a loose belt and an empty belly because everything from crayfish to mussels to paua and oysters accompany the wide range of fish plucked straight from the nearby waters. For those who want to take something away from the weekend besides a full stomach and a hangover, cooking classes are provided by some of the area’s top chefs at no additional charge.
Tickets for the festival are reasonably priced and are available either by either advance purchase or for a slightly higher cost when purchased at the festival gates. In a country blessed with the bounty of the sea, the Auckland Seafood Festival is one of the premiere ways that New Zealand travelers can introduce themselves not only to the capital city, but to the cuisine which captures the hearts and palates of an entire people and nation.