A cheap, last-minute guide to Valentine's Day

by Alice Harbourne / 11 February, 2016
Want to show your boo you like 'em without fully subscribing to corporate conspiracy? Here are some last-minute suggestions that align perfectly with your mid-festival season austerity measures.

Photo: Kristen Bell/Twitter

Read more: 50 summer date ideas
Dirt cheap

Let Buting and Strang do the heavy-lifting
Use characters from your latest TV obsession as a vehicle of expression by printing out pics and making your own Valentine's Day card. "You Planted the Keys to My Heart" is a good Making a Murderer-themed sentiment, "Be My Dandelion" is an endearing if slightly creepy Orange is the New Black take on things. Get creative.

Washing line cinema
Hang a white sheet on the washing line, borrow a projector from a friend/the office I.T department, or hire one if you have to, and host your own backyard movie night. Make popcorn/put a pizza in the oven and let the hipster smugness of it all keep you warm.

Swims 'n Roses
If you can't afford a bunch of roses, go visit some instead. A walk around the Parnell Rose Gardens (currently in bloom) is pretty romantic. Bring a towel and go for a swim/sunbathe in nearby Judges Bay afterwards. 

Free arts
Take advantage of Te Tuhi's Second Saturday, the free, fortnightly event series at the contemporary art gallery in Pakuranga. This Saturday there's a free hour-long singing workshop by artist Olivia Webb, requiring no prior experience, followed by a curator's talk. Perfect for couples who fancy something entirely different.

LYC Big Gay Out
The flagship Auckland Pride Festival event, NZ's largest LGBT gathering is returning to Coyle Park in Pt Chev this Valentine's Day. It's totally free and features a line-up of live entertainment between 12pm and 7pm. Visit website for details.

Raspberry mousse with pistachio and green tea from Miann dessert bar.
Raspberry mousse with pistachio and green tea from Miann dessert bar.

Under $20

Pre-loved love
Buy them one/all of the following: a vinyl version of their favourite album from recently reopened Real Groovy; a novelty coaster/fridge magnet/teaspoon from one of Auckland's many wonderful junk shops (we love Just Plane Interesting in Oratia); a pretty second-hand book from Hard to Find bookstore.

Wrap a ribbon around a box containing a: Little & Friday doughnut/Bluebell's Cakery cupcake/Moustache Cookie/Miann gateaux

Tick another Metro Cheap Eat off the list: see our guide to the 100 best places to eat in Auckland for under $20. Pizza, dumplings, fish and chips, tacos...the heart wants what the heart wants.

Drink something cheap and delicious while enjoying a picnic in the Domain. The liquor ban kicks in at 10pm, but this is a sophisticated affair, I know.
Under $50

Heartstring-tugging Kiwi music cabaret Daffodils is making a special Valentine's Day return. Tickets from $40.

Dine in. Read Simon Farrell-Green's guide to eating cheaply at home and make $50 seem like $100.

Anno Domini. Cocktails by Mea Culpa, burgers from The Bearded Clam and music courtesy of Seekae, Roland Tings & Race Banyon mean that Auckland Art Gallery's terrace is turning into a house party this Sunday evening. Tickets cost $38.

Too shy for a serenade? Take your partner to Bach Musica's Valentine's Day concert instead and swoon as a selection of the most popular classical love songs are performed. Auckland Town Hall, 5pm.

Want more date ideas? Here are 50 summery suggestions. 


Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a breakthrough in New Zealand?
108428 2019-07-16 00:00:00Z Tech

Huawei's dogged determination: Can it make a break…

by Peter Griffin

The tech company at the centre of a trade war between the US and China is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prove it can be trusted.

Read more
The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing Grace
108368 2019-07-15 00:00:00Z Movies

The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing…

by Russell Baillie

A long-lost concert movie capturing Lady Soul in her prime is heading to the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Read more
The untold history of China's one child policy
108182 2019-07-14 00:00:00Z History

The untold history of China's one child policy

by RNZ

Nanfu Wang explains the story behind her film One Child Nation, which screens at the International Film Festival this July.

Read more
Is Vladimir Putin right about the death of liberal democracy?
108314 2019-07-14 00:00:00Z World

Is Vladimir Putin right about the death of liberal…

by Paul Thomas

Vladimir Putin reckons “the liberal idea has become obsolete”. As Mandy Rice-Davies said, “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?”

Read more
The psychology of psychopaths and social media users
108199 2019-07-14 00:00:00Z Psychology

The psychology of psychopaths and social media use…

by Marc Wilson

Psychologists are getting a picture of people who are big on social media. It's not always pretty.

Read more
Acclaimed writer Greg McGee on his family's stolen children
108138 2019-07-13 00:00:00Z History

Acclaimed writer Greg McGee on his family's stolen…

by Clare de Lore

Greg McGee always knew his great-grandfather had kidnapped his father and uncles as infants, but now for the first time he’s revealing that...

Read more
Video-streaming platforms are failing their impaired customers
108303 2019-07-13 00:00:00Z Tech

Video-streaming platforms are failing their impair…

by Peter Griffin

When it comes to video streaming, the hearing- and visually impaired can only dream about the technology that’s passing them by.

Read more
We like big vehicles and we cannot lie
108312 2019-07-12 00:00:00Z Politics

We like big vehicles and we cannot lie

by The Listener

It would take a psychologist to explain Kiwis’ love for utes and SUVs. But it’s not the only reason people are revved up over the attempt to reduce...

Read more