Festivals in New Zealand

Updated: Jun 15

Travelling is exciting. It connects us with different countries, people, their culture and history, allowing us to shed our own skins and assume various new roles. And if you time a trip to a new country to visit a dazzling local event or festival, it will undoubtedly turn out even more interesting! New Zealand is a country with a distinctive culture that has absorbed the customs and traditions of people from around the world. Therefore local festivals are very diverse and vibrant. In this article, we will talk about the most interesting of them, in calendar order. We will start in September, because this is not just the first month of our New Zealand spring, but also the beginning of the high tourist season.


September.

The Waikato Cherry Tree Festival takes place on September 20 in Hamilton, in the grounds of English Cherry Tree Manor. In early spring, a magical pink cloud envelops their alley of cherry trees. The lush foam of blossoms, which are destined to enjoy the sun for only a few days, is fascinating and makes you think about the eternal divine. Photos taken here are fantastic! During the festival, the estate hosts Japanese and Chinese cultural shows. The dates of the event vary from year to year depending on the beginning of sakura blossom.

WOW is not just an exclamation. It is an abbreviation of the World of Wearable Arts contest, which has long stepped over New Zealand borders and become famous all over the world. For three weeks, spanning September and October, Wellington becomes the podium for showing amazing original costumes created by designers from many different countries. Over 60 thousand people attended the event in 2018. Throughout the year, the WOW costume show tours the world. Unfortunately, this year the contest was cancelled due to COVID-19.


November.

The Victorian holiday (Victorian Fete) attracts thousands of local and foreign tourists to the small town of Oamaru, on the east coast of the South Island, a two-hour drive from Dunedin. As you know, New Zealand was once a colony of Great Britain, and Queen Elizabeth II is still the formal leader of our state. The Victorian Fete allows its visitors to plunge headlong into the Victorian era with its crinolines, exquisite jewellery and the first timid steps of technological progress. Victorian-style Oamaru Town vibrantly recreates the right atmosphere for the era. The next Victorian Fete festival will be held on November 17, 2020.


December.

Christmas is the most important holiday of the year. In New Zealand, we celebrate it in the summer and on the beach, but we still decorate Christmas trees. In our subtropical climate, these green beauties look extravagant, but this does not prevent people from hiding gifts under them and decorating houses and trees with garlands of lights. During the Christmas period, there are many events and sales. It is the season of films in parks and musical events in the open air. Celebrate Christmas and New Year in New Zealand! What could be more unusual? Just do not forget that on December 25 the vast majority of enterprises and organizations do not work. New Year’s Eve is more accommodating in this regard.

By the way, we recommend you celebrate New Year’s Eve in Gisborne at the Rhythm and Vines music festival. Among the highlights of the festival is not only cool music, but also the opportunity to be the first in the world to see the New Year’s sunrise. New Zealand is the first nation on Earth that meets the dawn and welcomes in the new year, and Gisborne as the most eastern city on the planet has front-row seats.

In the upcoming season, Rhythm and Vines will take place on 28-31 December 2020.


February.

February, the warmest month of the New Zealand year, hosts a large variety of events throughout the country. Still, the most striking of them is the Art Deco Festival, which takes place annually in Napier. The city is famous as an architectural jewel in the art deco style and the capital of the Hawkes Bay wine region. For the period of the festival, Napier transforms itself into a scene from the Great Gatsby: wine and champagne by the river, dresses, hairstyles and costumes in the style of the 20s-30s of the last century, vintage cars, parties on yachts and of course the architecture. The dates of the next Art Deco Festival are 17-21 February, 2021.

In February, half the world celebrates Chinese New Year. In honour of this event, the Lantern Festival takes place in Auckland. This is the largest cultural event of the season, which is attended by tens of thousands of people. For a whole week, the Auckland Domain turns into a place inhabited by dragons, mysterious beasts, birds and fish. Everywhere you turn there is Asian food for sale and several vivid performances. If you’re in Auckland for the Chinese New Year, be sure to check out the Domain.


March.

Hokitika Wildfoods Festival (on the west coast of the South Island) gathers together representatives of almost all the cuisines of the world. Therefore it is highly recommended for gourmets and any lovers of tasty food. The festival also includes the Wild Fashion Contest, musical performances by various famous artists on the main stage and an After Party.

Also in March, the five-day Balloons Over Waikato Festival takes place. The city of Hamilton has hosted this event for 20 years. Certainly, you are more than welcome to have a ride by a balloon. This is an awesome experience! The grand finale is the evening of Nightglow, where the giant multi-coloured hot air balloons inflate and like huge fireflies, hover above the ground. Just magical! Orchestrated music and fireworks accompany the event. The date of the festival in 2021 is still unknown.

Unfortunately, in the autumn-winter period from April to August, no major exciting events are held in New Zealand; however, the ski season is in full swing, and you have the opportunity to ski and snowboard!

If any event from the list hooked you, and you want to include it in your New Zealand schedule, just fill out the form in the Contacts section. Life is short. Live it as bright as possible! Go travelling!

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