What to do in Auckland on a rainy day

by Vomle Springford / 01 September, 2018

See Auckland from a different perspective at 'Into the Underworld', an exhibition at Silo 6 that has digitally mapped the city's subterranean lava caves.

 Here are ten ideas for what to do in Auckland when the rain is coming down in September.

1. Going West Writers Festival

Check out the Going West Writers Festival programme, from 1-16 September, and hear from leading NZ writers like Annaleese Jochems, Dame Fiona Kidman and Steve Braunias, to name just a few. There will be poetry slams, workshops, talks, a book fair, films and theatre, with the highlight being the Books and Writers Weekend. Don't miss Lizzie Marvelly, Dame Fiona Kidman, Sandra Coney and Golriz Ghahraman together in conversation with Carol Hirschfeld, on Saturday morning, September 15.

2. Gallery hop

It’s an obvious choice but there are few places where you can while away a couple of hours like a gallery or museum  best of all they are mostly free for New Zealand residents. 

Celebrate 125 years of women's suffrage; on September 19, 1893, New Zealand became the first country to grant women the right to vote. A number of events are happening throughout September, including the Sunrise Celebration at Aotea Square on the 19th with PM Jacinda Ardern, Selina Tusitala Marsh and Annie Crummer.

Also marking the 125th anniversary is Are we there yet? Women and equality in Aotearoa, which explores the ongoing struggle for gender equality in New Zealand, through photography and film. On until 31 Oct at Auckland Museum. 

Into The Underworld returns to Silo 6 in Wynyard Quarter on Saturday the 8th of September. This second iteration has new works and moving images of Auckland's underground lava caves, mapped with LiDAR technology.

Check out From the Shore at Te Uru which considers the influence of Maori filmmakers Barry Barclay and Merata Mita on a current generation of artists. Featuring work by Tracey Moffatt, Tanu Gago, Rob George, Nova Paul, Lisa Reihana and Tuafale Tanoa'i aka Linda T.

Read: 50 things to do in Auckland for under $20

The Walters Prize contemporary art exhibition is also on at Auckland Art Gallery, with works by finalists Ruth Buchanan, Jacqueline Fraser, Jess Johnson and Simon Ward, and Pati Solomona Tyrell. Also at the AAG, enjoy the refined geometric paintings of late modernist painter Gordon Walters in New Vision, on until 4 Nov. While you there, check out Radical Beginnings, a collection of works by the first generation of fine arts-trained Maori artists; and The Body Re-Born, which looks at the rise of the feminist art movement and Maori women's art movement. 

Don't miss the Secret World of Butterflies at Auckland Museum, featuring thousands of butterflies. Adults and kids will both appreciate this one. On until May 2019.

3. Escape Room

Gather some friends and find out who's possibly a psychopath. You all get locked in a room, tasked with a series of puzzling tasks that will – if you can solve them – lead you to the key to unlock the room; it's challenging and full of surprises. There are several places around Auckland to try out this frustrating, but rewarding activity.

4. Beer tastings

Head to Kingsland to sample locally made beer from the Urbanaut Brewing Co and learn about the brewing process on a one-hour brewery tour. You could also hit up Garage Project for tastings too – the Wellington outfit recently opened a Cellar Door in Kingsland. North of the city, Metro Top 50 bar The Beer Spot in Northcote offers 40 beer taps for you to make up a tasting flight and every week a different food truck is on site.

5. Just drive

Cruise around, blast some tracks and park up somewhere on the coast to watch the wild weather take its course over the sea (if it's particularly stormy, check for warnings). Try the Eastern Bays, or go north to Milford, Takapuna or Devonport. 95bFM's Totally Wired show with Jess Fu on a Saturday usually has an excellent line-up of new releases if you want something fresh to listen to.

6. Go to the Kauri Museum in Matakohe

Many will be skeptical of the enjoyment that can be had at the Kauri Museum – but it’s an incredible, in-depth snapshot of an era in Aotearoa few of us would recognise. The huge collection sprawls over several buildings: Exhibits recreate the living quarters of the late 19th century and early 20th century, complete with eerie mannequins, plus there are guns, butter churners and other machinery of the era on display. Don’t miss the glittering Gum Room, filled with thousands of kauri gum pieces.

7. Above and beyond

Go to the Stardome for one of their trippy shows in the Planetarium. The line-up changes regularly from educational to musical shows, and there are shows for children. Tickets are only $12 for adults.

8. Play a wholesome board game

Head to Metro Top 50 bar Peach Pit for a drink and a board game from their weird and wonderful collection. For classics like Cluedo and Monopoly, head to Brothers Beer at City Works Depot; they also have a huge range of craft beer to try while you play. Remedy Coffee on Wellesley St also has lots of board games, and books to enjoy in the lounge-like surrounds.

Read: Where to eat on the cheap - Metro's Top 50 Cheap Eats 2018

9. Go to the library

Auckland Libraries have everything: movies, books, mags, e-books, audiobooks, music, graphic novels. Plus, there’s always various events happening like book launches, clothing swaps, seed exchanges, knitting groups and children’s readings and activities.

10. On the box

Support some locally made shows on the box or on TVNZ on Demand: Nigel Latta's cerebral new series The Curious MindThe Unortho_docs, about Kiwis chasing the American dream, and The Male Gayz, which explores queer Aotearoa.

There's also Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi's new show Wellington Paranormal, which is the kind of Kiwi show we need more of, according to Diana Wichtel.

Plus, check out Takaro Tribe on TVNZ on Demand, which aims to introduce kids to te reo Maori (but you could also join in).

While you're here, enjoy some long reads

Peruse noted.co.nz for in-depth journalism from MetroListenerNorth and South and Radio NZ. Or create a list of places you want to try from the latest Metro Top 50 BarsMetro Top 50 Restaurants and Metro Top 50 Cafes 2018. 

This article was updated 1 September, 2018.

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