As the Antipodean winter draws to a close and the mercury begins to rise, it’s a good time to visit New Zealand if you’re a horticulture fan. New Zealand spring blossom time heralds a variety of special events held to celebrate the arrival of the blooms and the start of spring. Here’s where to find them.
Beautiful New Zealand Spring Blossom Festivals
Alexandra Blossom Festival
The Alexandra Blossom Festival is New Zealand’s longest running festival. For over sixty years, people have flocked to Central Otago on the country’s South Island. A large crowd is expected for this year’s event, due to take place on September 23rd. There’ll be a colourful parade of floats, trucks, tractors and even supermarket trolleys festooned with floral decorations. In addition, many of the local gardens open their gates to the public. Whether a keen gardener already or an enthusiastic beginner, you’ll be sure to get some inspiration from what you see.
Carterton Daffodil Festival
North Island’s Carterton focuses its attention on the daffodil for its spring celebrations. You can ride the steam powered “Daffodil Express” from Wellington to Carterton, browse its craft markets and enjoy the artwork on display at the Events Centre. Of course, you can also pick armfuls of daffodils to take away with you; the place to do so is at Middle Run, a historic property at nearby Gladstone. This year, the action happens on September 10th.
Nelson Cherry Blossom Festival
Nelson’s annual offering is based around the delicate pink blooms of the cherry blossom. The event’s being held once again to celebrate the close ties between Nelson and its sister city in Japan, Miyazu. Head to the Miyazu Japanese Gardens in Nelson this September 24th and alongside nature’s offerings, you’ll be treated to a Japanese-themed festival. However, the programme has yet to be confirmed. But last year there were stalls selling Japanese food, performances by the Taiko drummers and even a Japanese puppeteer.
Hastings Blossom Parade
Originally, this festival was set up in 1950 to compete with rival Napier. Floats bedecked with flowers and a Blossom Queen made for quite a spectacle. The intervening years have been up and down for the festival. – there was even a riot at the event in 1960 – but it’s been back for a while now. This year’s parade is scheduled for September 16th and the theme is “Celebrate Hastings”.
Whether you plan to attend one of these festivals or simply explore New Zealand’s wildflowers in their natural setting, spring is a wonderful time to visit the country.