10 places to get the best Santa photo

The annual Santa photo is a great way to capture how your children grow and change each year.

Help make sure the photo is a success by maybe popping in and seeing Santa a few days prior, choose a quiet time so your kids aren’t rushed and don’t forget to wear something yourself that you are happy to have pulled out every year and exclaimed over, just in case you need to hold your child next to Santa to get the photo.

Find your nearest friendly Santa from the list below.

#1: Highbury Shopping Centre, Birkenhead, Auckland

Highbuyry CentreSanta will be in Highbury Shopping Centre daily from 10am to 2pm, 8 to 24 December 2018.

Come and have your annual Santa photo taken and enjoy some of the other seasonal offerings at Highbury.

The first 100 children to visit Santa will get a lucky dip prize!

This Christmas at Highbury Shopping Centre you can also:

  • Write Santa a letter
  • Listen to Birkdale North Music Centre performing Christmas music at 10am, 9 December 2018
  • Enjoy local schools performing
  • Have your gifts wrapped and donate a gold coin to the SPCA

Find out more at www.highburyshoppingcentre.co.nz 

#2: Snowplanet, 91 Small Road, Silverdale, Auckland

snowplanet-santaEnjoy the snow at Snowplanet – and a photo with Santa inside his Magic Castle! Santa will be at Snowplanet from 24 November to 16 December 2018.

Prices start at $9 per person, and bookings are essential – phone 09 427 0199 or email santa@snowplanet.co.nz .

Find out more

#3: Santa’s Cave Te Whare Hana Kōkō, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North

Celebrating 100 years, this historic Santa’s Cave is a Manawatu favourite. No matter that you think its enthralling, magical, kitschy, or even a little creepy, it’s a must do.

If formal, posed Santa pics are not your thing, Santa will be in residence at various times so you can get a more casual selfie.

Find out more

#4: Centre City, 11 Gill Street, New Plymouth

santa photosCapture the magic of Christmas by having your photo taken with Santa in his very own sleigh!

Each child will be given a free gift and $1 of each copy sold will be donated to the Taranaki Cancer Society.

Find Santa on Level 2 next to Farmers

Find out more

#5: The Mall,  185 Main Street, Upper Hutt

Santa Claus is coming…Santa Claus is coming…

The Mall in Upper Hutt is excited to welcome Father Christmas

Pop in to The Mall from 11 December to get your Santa photo.

Create special memories this Christmas.

Check the website for times.

Find out more

#6: The Palms, Corner Marshland & New Brighton Rds, Christchurch

Santa at the PalmsCome and meet Santa in his special area outside Kmart.

Santa is also available for ‘Scene To Believe’ Christmas photos daily froom 10am.

Every child who purchases a photo receives a free plush toy!

Find out more

#7:Santa Grotto at Kids Kingdom. Rainbows End, Manuaku

santasSanta’s moved in to Rainbow’s End!

Santa will be in his Grotto Saturdays and Sundays through December, and Xmas Eve.

Visiting Santa is free with your Kidz Kingdom or Rainbow’s End Superpass, or a Night Rides Pass. Photos available for purchase.

Bookings essential.

Find out more

#8: Meridian Mall, 285 George Street, Dunedin

Meridian SantaSANTA and his helpers would love to get a photo with you and hear how good you have been this year!

Find him in his Grotto on the lower level from 11am-4pm daily and until 6pm on Fridays.

Photos are $15 including a print and digital file and $5 per print for additional print. Share your Santa photo with #MeridianMallDunedin to be in to WIN 1 of 5 $100 Meridian Mall Giftcards!

Find out more

Tip #9: Santa Pet Photos, PET Stock, 11 locations nationwide

Bring your own camera and snap your pet’s photo with Santa!

Pay $5 at the counter to help PETstock Assist support local animal rescue groups. 100% of your contribution will help save a life this Christmas!

Bookings are essential!

Find out more

#10: SKYCITY Christmas Wonderland , Corner Victoria and Federal Streets, Auckland

Santa Claus at Skycity AucklandVisit the SKYCITY Christmas Wonderland and have your photo taken with Santa underneath the Sky Tower.

Simply give an unwrapped Christmas gift or a gold coin donation to Santa’s helpers, with all proceeds and gifts going to Variety – The Children’s Charity.

Plus, don’t forget to visit Santa’s Workshop to write your letter to Santa and post it in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro Christmas Globe!

Entry is free. Open to all ages.

Find out more


  1. dawnblyth 06/01/2019 at 9:14 pm

    A timeless tradition in many families. We love getting one each year with our two boys though I think soon it will be harder to get one with the eldest boy. Its a great way of seeing how your children grow each year

  2. Shelz69 05/01/2019 at 10:03 pm

    I love the pet photo idea, very cool. I always like the harvey norman santa at northwood in Christchurch

  3. Alezandra 04/01/2019 at 7:41 pm

    Surprised not to see the North City one, I remembered seeing a queue for a photo picture taking with Santa. We don’t do Santa photos though. My 3 year old son isn’t wanting to take a photo with Santa and we prefer just saving money for a photo op for his gifts. But I do see some families who enjoy having a photo op especially with grandparents too.

  4. Shorrty4life1 03/01/2019 at 3:36 pm

    Great to know. We got to chch bit late we went on boxing day. But we did go to pak n save at northtown mall in Timaru and found that great they would let you take your own photos and each child gets lollies, a present and a balloon. The kids thought it was wonderful

  5. kymmage 31/12/2018 at 12:25 pm

    Would love to go to snow planet to do one. We always do Smith and Caugheys and love it. I didn’t even know about SKY city. But maybe we should take a look next year!

  6. SarahBlair 21/12/2018 at 10:39 pm

    Before we moved, where we used to live in Te Awamutu they had a man play Santa every year (they still do) and they make a Santa’s Grotto, it’s all decorated and looks very magical and all the kids in town go and get a photo and a toy from Santa, usually a soft toy that had been donated. It’s all very lovely except for the fact that the man who plays Santa is my dad, my kids Grandad, so we haven’t had Santa photos for years as my kids insist on telling all of the other kids that ‘Santa is my Grandad’ which either ruins it for the others or results in fits of jealousy from kids who want their grandad to be Santa too.

  7. MuddledUpMolly 21/12/2018 at 4:53 pm

    Great to see a range of options here but as we live in Wanganui, we are restricted to just the two options either at our local shopping centre or Harvey Norman. We always go to Harvey Norman and purchase a basic package which suits us well 🙂

  8. felicity beets 19/12/2018 at 5:27 pm

    would be great to get a photo with Santa – it is also good to hear that a lot of places are doing special sessions for children with special needs – i.e. less crowds, quieter music etc.

  9. Bevik1971 18/12/2018 at 11:39 am

    My daughter has never been interested in getting a photo with Santa haha. I’m certainly not going to make her sit on his knee if she doesn’t want to 🙂 I did ask her this year if she wanted to do a Santa photo and she didn’t jump at it haha

  10. Mands1980 14/12/2018 at 7:54 pm

    This is great to know about the different places to visit Santa and ones you can give money , a gift or be given a book for your child. We are a small rural town so get what we can get without going to the city to see Santa and the kids are happy.

  11. Micht 10/12/2018 at 2:14 pm

    I would like to also add another to the list as its where we usually take our kids each year. Northlands Mall in cHristchurch. The Santa there is so friendly and the packages are quite handy. Also the pics are great and every child gets a brilliant story book. This year is a book by Margaret Mahy.

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