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Best or Most Interesting New Zealand Festivals

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There are loads of New Zealand festivals organised each year, from music, food and wine festivals and even gumboot throwing. Among the comprehensive list of New Zealand’s famous festivals, I’d like to introduce to you some that I think you should add to your bucket list. If you happen to be in New Zealand during March you could find yourself very busy!

Best New Zealand Festivals

January

There are several excellent festivals, which are well worth adding to your budget and plans, welcoming in the New Year in New Zealand – check them out here: Outdoor New Years Eve Celebrations NZ

February

1. Marlborough Wine & Food Festival

  • Location: Brancott Estate Vineyard, Marlborough

If you’re a wine drinker you’ve more than likely come across a wine from Marlborough before. It’s extremely popular for good reason. The Marlborough wine festival is a must-go event in New Zealand. You’ll have a chance to see and enjoy an extraordinary collection of world-class wines and delicious local specialties. Brancott Estate is also one of the oldest and most beautiful vineyards (and pretty big!).

More info: http://wine-marlborough-festival.co.nz/

summer festivals new zealand
Brancott Estate Marlborough – Olivier Colas (http://olouf.fr) [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

2. NZ Fringe Festival

  • Location: Venues throughout Wellington

The fringe festival was first organised on Wellington in 1990 and has become one of the longest running ones in New Zealand. This festival is celebrated over three weeks, and attracts more than 1,100 artists from New Zealand and other countries in the world. The NZ Fringe Festival Wellington has achieved many awards and was voted one of the 10 must-do festivals. At this time, Wellington really does come alive.

More info: https://fringe.co.nz/

What exactly is a fringe festival? 

Fringe festivals are all about providing an accessible avenue for independent theatre artists to produce and perform their work in front of an audience. The Fringe is really the essence of theatre; virtually anybody can submit a show to the Fringe and the festivals place no limits on content so shows can be bold, raw and uncensored.

wellington at night
Wellington at Night By russellstreet [CC BY-SA 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

March

3. Gumboot Day

  • Location: Taihape’s main shopping centre

Taihape is known as ‘The Gumboot Capital of the World” so where better to have ‘Gumboot Day’? (A Gumboot is a Wellington Boot or Wellies). Taihape hosted it’s first Gumboot Festival back in 1985. And apart from the ‘World Boot Throwing Championships’ there’s loads of other things going on during the day; enjoy the live music, check out the food and craft stalls as well as loads more activities you can find in rural New Zealand (sheep shearing is pretty popular!).

Top Tip: If you happen to be driving through Taihape in late January you can also visit the Annual Taihape A&P Show where you can also try your hand at gumboot throwing, check out the craft and food stalls and the wood chopping and shearing events.

More info: https://taihape.co.nz/events/gumbootday2019/

new zealand festivals gumboot day
The most Kiwi of our New Zealand festivals on this list – Gumboot Day By SängerOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

4. Homegrown Music And Arts Festival

  • Location: Wellington Waterfront

Held on the same day as Taihape’s Gumboot Day in 2019 (how could they?) Wellingtons Homegrown Music and Arts Festival is one of the most famous and longest running festivals in New Zealand. It consists of 57 Acts and 7 stages so if you’re a fan of rock, ignoring this festival will be a big mistake. Although the cost of tickets might seem quite high to a backpacker on a budget (more than $139), it’s still well worth visiting.

More info: https://www.homegrown.net.nz/

homegrown wellington
Wellington Waterfront – Gordon Haws from Ipswich, UK [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

5. Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

  • Location: Cass Square, Weld Street, Hokitika

This is one of the greatest food festivals in New Zealand. Hokitika Wildfoods festival is an occasion to celebrate things from the Wild West coast. People who attend will have a chance to enjoy wild foods such as marinated tuna, gourmet sausages, whitebait fritters, smoked salmon, game meats, a traditional Maori Hangi, and so on. Other unique dishes such as mountain oysters, crocodile bites, duck heads, scorpions, fish eyes, pig ears, worms, etc. are also available at the Hokitika Wildfoods Festival if you like that sort of thing.

More info: https://wildfoods.co.nz/

wildfoods festival hokitika
Wildfoods Festival Hokitika by Eli Dukelicense

6. Marchfest

  • Location: Founders Heritage Park, Nelson-Tasman

This is a unique craft beer and music festival, which is held in a beautiful environment in Nelson – the sunniest city in New Zealand. Different from other beer festivals, all beer used for Marchfest has never been tasted by the public before. Nelson is the sole hop growing area of New Zealand with a high rate of craft breweries per head of the population, so a visit to Marchfest is promised to be different.

More info: https://marchfest.com/

 raft beer festival new zealand
Craft Beer – Uri Tours (uritours.com) [CC BY-SA 2.0]

7. WOMAD

  • Location: TSB Bowl of Brookland, New Plymouth

WOMAD stands for World Of Music, Arts, and Dance. It’s an international event to celebrate the many forms of arts, music, and dance. This festival is aimed at creating awareness of the potential of multicultural societies.

womad
York Tillyer [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

8. Crankworx Mountain Biking Festival (Crankworx Rotorua)

  • Location: Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park

If you’re a mountain biker then this is the New Zealand festival for you. Crankworx Rotorua is one of the best mountain biking festivals in the world, so you’ll find many emerging riders from all over the world particpating. Together with some great live music, this festival will make your trip to New Zealand even more special.

More info: https://www.crankworx.com/festival/rotorua/

crankworx rotorua
Crankworx Rotorua by XPinger (Chris Sutton)license

May

If you’re a fan of comedy then make sure you check out the New Zealand International Comedy Festival which is held in many locations across New Zealand.

June

9. Queenstown Winter Festival

  • Location: Throughout Queenstown

The Queenstown Winter Festival marks the beginning of winter in Queenstown. Usually, this festival lasts for about two weeks with a series of activities and events throughout the city celebrating everything to do with winter and a few other things too. You should not miss this special occasion in Queenstown, New Zealand.

More info: Queenstown Winter Festival

queenstown winter festival
Community and cultural groups at the Community Walking Parade 2017 JG 05 https://www.winterfestival.co.nz/

November

10. Victorian Fete

  • Location: Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct, Oamaru

New Zealand was a British colony in the past and the Victorian Fete is an occasion to sample the Victorian era right in the centre of Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct. If you’re attending you should get into the spirit of it by wearing vintage-style dress and maybe even try riding a Penny Farthing. You can also enjoy special foods, drink wine or beer, or buy traditional or antique craft pieces.

More info: https://www.victorianoamaru.co.nz/fete

I’ve introduced you to 10 of the most popular festivals in New Zealand that are worth checking out. Have you ever been to this country or participated in any of New Zealand’s popular festivals? If yes, share your experience and knowledge by commenting under this article. If not, I hope my article has been useful to you. Thanks for reading!

Author: I am Emily Pham. I was born in Vietnam – a country with many unknown beaches, historic sites, and tourist attractions. Understanding that Vietnam nowadays is a famous destination, I establish the blog site vina.com with the purpose of introducing the elegant beauty of Vietnam to friends around the world. If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, our blog will provide you with essential information on where to go and what to do in our country.

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