It’s festival season in New Zealand!

Summer in New Zealand signals festival time.  Whatever your interests or tastes, there’s an event to suit.  What follows are our picks for New Zealand festival season coming up over the next couple of months.

New Zealand festival season

Food, glorious food

Paella in Aucklan. New Zealand festival
Paella in Auckland by Mark CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia

Foodies are well catered for with a wide selection of festivals taking place up and down the country.  In January, the Auckland Seafood Festival promises live music, celebrity chef demos and of course a celebration of seafood, with the action centred on Halsey Wharf.  The Great Kiwi Beer Festival returns to Christchurch on January 28th with a tempting selection of craft beers perfect for summer consumption.  If you prefer grapes to hops then Nelson Wine and Food Festival is going to be a better fit; head to Middle Earth Winery in mid-February to catch the proceedings. Tiny Twizel also gets in on the act in February with its Salmon and Wine Festival.

Music to your ears

Music lovers are well and truly spoilt when it comes to festivals.  Hot on the heels of Cardrona’s Rhythm & Alps and Gisborne’s Rhythm & Vines comes Laneway.  This New Zealand festival, held in Auckland, features a range of international and home grown talent including local bands, The Chills and The Veils, plus up and coming names like the UK’s Tourist and the DMA’s from Sydney who’ve already nailed Glastonbury and Coachella.  If you’re a fan of reggae or raga, then Raggamuffin X is the one, also taking place in Auckland.  This year’s line up includes the ever-popular Shaggy and also Bob Marley’s son Julian, who’ll join The Wailers for what promises to be a memorable set.

Shaggy pictured in 2006. New Zealand festival
Shaggy pictured in 2006 by Adam J via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Film buffs, brace yourselves

Movie lovers are in for a treat with a series of film festivals due to take place across New Zealand in the next few months.  The action kicks off at Tropfest, the world’s largest short film festival, in February at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands at New Plymouth on North Island.  The following month, indigenous culture is showcased at the Māoriland Film Festival which takes place in Otaki.  Both the Aotearoa Surf Film Festival and Trails in Motion, focusing on trail running, offer short films which will delight their niche audiences.

Something a little different

Colourful hot air balloon. New Zealand festival
Colourful hot air balloon

At the end of March, the skies over Hamilton will be crowded with hot air balloons for the Balloons over Waikato Festival.  Thousands of spectators flood the area for a five day extravaganza culminating in a fireworks display.  For something completely different, try the 24th Paeroa Highland Games and Tattoo which will take place in mid-February.  This celebration of Scottish culture includes pipe bands, Highland dancing, caber tossing and of course the chance to sample haggis.

About JuliaHammond


Julia Hammond is a Geography teacher turned travel writer with a passion for places. Winning Mail Travel's Deep South competition was the catalyst to write for a diverse range of publications including Bradt's Bus Pass Britain Rides Again. She’s written Kindle guides to Cape Town, Peru and London for Unanchor and advice on Savannah for Wanderlust. When not travelling, she can be found at home in Essex planning her next trip, her two golden retrievers curled up at her feet.

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