If you are planning a great southern getaway to New Zealand, you probably already know about all the stunning scenery, incredible wine, and adventurous thrills that await you. But, did you know that New Zealand also has a pretty impressive festival calendar? Why not splice some events into your trip to add a bit of culture?
No matter what time of the year you’re travelling, or whether you are headed to the North or South Island, there is probably a festival that will suit you. We know it can be hard work scouring the web for events, and we don’t want you wasting all your energy and money just to rock up at a second-class pub shindig put on by someone’s Aunt Shirley. That’s why we have done the hard work for you. We have tried and tested, so you can roll in and rock in.
So, without further ado, Here is a list of the 10 best festivals in New Zealand.
WOMAD is a nifty little acronym that stands for World of Music, Arts and Dance. This is an internationally organised festival that celebrates world music, art and movement in various locations across the globe. The event is for anyone who likes to sample from a wide bouquet of offerings, and you certainly won’t be disappointed if you find yourself twisting and grooving along to any of the WOMAD performers. This is an absolute favourite for NZ’ers who flock to New Plymouth annually. See why for yourself.
Rhythm & Alps
Do you want a side of sweet tunes with your smorgasbord of mountain scenery? Then you have to hit the Rhythm and Alps festival in Wanaka on New Zealand’s south island. This has to be one of the most picturesque and pristine places in the country, and now you can experience it with world-class DJs and bands. There are camping facilities for those who want to stay on-site (and even hot showers). This is a New Years Eve event and will promise to bring in a new calendar year unlike any before.
Rhythm & Vines
If alps aren’t really your thing, we like sister event Rhythm and Vines almost as much! Invigorating Gisborne on New Zealand’s east cape, be among those who experience the first new year’s countdown in the world! Then once you have grooved the night away, see the first sunrise of the new year before anyone else. That alone is pretty special, but when you add in a divine list of musical acts, you’ll be on cloud nine.
Marlborough Wine Festival
Any wine aficionado heading to NZ will know their Marlborough, and if you like a tipple, you can’t bypass an opportunity to sample New Zealand wines in their home territory. The Marlborough Wine Festival is New Zealand’s longest-running wine event and offers the chance to sample a huge array of world-class wines – not to mention mouth-watering food, and equally tasty music. Get yourself to one of NZ’s oldest and most beautiful vineyards for a party to end all parties.
If you want to get to know New Zealand music better, then Jim Beam Homegrown is the event for you. Local kiwi musicians rock out over five stages in the windy capital of Wellington. With over 50 acts, there is always something for every taste, and you can couple this with an opportunity to explore the thriving cultural capital.
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival
If you are looking for something a little more quirky, then the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival is one to mark on your calendar. Here is a celebration of wild food from the West Coast. It brings together unusual delicacies and treats, alongside gourmet offerings, with the aim to expand your palate. You will find local seafood, artisan sausages, a variety of game meat, a good old fashioned hangi, and some music to top it off.
New Zealanders love an excuse to celebrate almost anything, and the month of March is no exception. This is a beer festival unlike any other. Every offering is made especially for the event and has never been tasted before. So if you love a white and frothy beverage, then your tastebuds will certainly thank you for a trip to Nelson-Tasman. There is also a solid musical line up to provide the perfect soundtrack for knocking back a few.
World Buskers Festival
Have you ever liked the soothing street sounds of a city busker? Well, now you can see all the best in one place. The World Buskers Festival gathers street performers from all over the world for an entertainment extravaganza. Check out the array of local, national and international acts ranging from musicians to magicians, artists, and street performers.
Wellington On A Plate
Wellington On A Plate (WOAP for short) is a region-wide tastebud takeover. This festival hits Wellington’s venues, laneways, restaurants and the occasional carpark for a celebration of food and bevvies. There are over 100 pop-up events so there is no way you could get bored. Just remember to save room for dessert.
Last but not least, take a look at some NZ history with the Victorian Fete. It’s actually cooler than it sounds. Take a step back in time and get your nostalgia fix in Oamaru. Loads of festival-goers show up in full Victorian style dress, so don’t forget your knickerbockers.