Shands Rd Christmas Experience lights up

The couple behind a popular Canterbury Christmas light display, billed as the biggest of its kind in Australasia, are getting ready to switch it on this weekend.

Carl and Yvonne Yates. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Carl and Yvonne Yates. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The Shands Rd Christmas Experience is set to open tomorrow and will be on every night during December.

About 50,000 people visit the Prebbleton property each Christmas. And its owners, Carl and Yvonne Yates, say they are predicting a bumper turnout again this year.

"We're slightly insane and people seem to enjoy seeing what insane people get up to."

The festive attraction will feature dozens of colourful new lighting designs and animated carnival displays, all choreographed to rock music.

The interactive Christmas wonderland expanded into a neighbouring paddock last year, doubling the display space available.

Yates said their 'village' has now been fully completed, taking the whimsical wonderland to "the next level".

He has no plans to expand the display further at this stage and plans to re-design the main display area as next year's project.

"It's not going to end. There's so much new stuff that is wanting to jump out of my brain that I want to give it a go."

The Shands Rd Christmas Experience. Photo: Geoff Sloan
The Shands Rd Christmas Experience. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Yates admits it cost a lot to run the light show, with hardware, traffic management, and $80,000 a year spent just on the lights alone.

He said, surprisingly, power is their cheapest expense at $2500 for December, thanks to the energy-efficient LED lights.

"Hundreds of thousands of dollars go into this, but it's worth it.

"And, (as) the old saying goes, we can't take it with us when we die so we might as well enjoy it and share it around a bit."

The Shands Rd Christmas Experience will be open from 8.30pmto 11.30pm, December 2 -30. Entry is $5 per child and $15 for an adult.

-By Geoff Sloan
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air