Autumn 2017 in New Zealand event highlights

With the arrival of autumn, New Zealand basks in some of its most settled temperatures and conditions.

With the arrival of autumn, New Zealand basks in some of its most settled temperatures and conditions while the landscape changes into burnished seasonal colours, making it an ideal time for international tourists.

From March to May visitors have free reign to explore at leisure, as Kiwis have gone back to work and school, leaving New Zealand an international visitor’s playground.

Relax in one of the many picturesque vineyard wineries, feast on bountiful local delicacies, get actively involved in sporting events, or enjoy an arts or music festival - all while taking in the diverse and beautiful New Zealand landscape and sharing the experience with friendly locals.

March 2017

Motatapu 47km High Country Mountain Bike – Wanaka
4 March, 2017
Set in the spectacular mountain terrain of New Zealand’s Southern Lakes, the Motatapu Speight’s 47km High Country Mountain Bike races through an off-road course only open to the public once a year. The race is a great mix of terrain to suit all mountain biking abilities with hills to climb, rivers to cross and a few steep descents thrown in the mix.  The ride starts on the shores of Lake Wanaka and finishes at historic Arrowtown. 
Motatapu High Country Mountain Bike

Forrest GrapeRide - Marlborough
4 March, 2017
The Forrest GrapeRide - which takes recreational riders on a journey through the world-renowned Marlborough wine region in the South Island - is one of the most unique events on the New Zealand cycling calendar. The 101km circuit starts and ends at the Forrest Estate Winery passing through historic New Zealand towns, the stunning Marlborough Sounds and beautiful beaches. But the highlight has to be the ‘100 Virgin Grape Crush’ which sees 100 female riders help crush 3 tonne of pinot grapes ready to be turned into wine.
Forrest GrapeRide

Auckland Arts Festival
8 – 26 March, 2017
The Auckland Arts Festival is an 18-day arts extravaganza, spread across a city wide landscape and featuring New Zealand and international artists. Since its inception in 1948, the Auckland Arts Festival has been a showcase of New Zealand’s unique cultural diversity. With over 200 free exhibitions across Auckland, the festival brings the city to life with a spectacular exhibition of dance, theatre, music and visual arts.
Auckland Arts Festival

ISPS Handa New Zealand Golf Open – Queenstown
9 - 12 March, 2017
Hosted at two of New Zealand’s most spectacular South Island golf courses - The Hills and Millbrook Resort – the New Zealand Open incorporates a unique Pro-Am format that brings together a prestigious blend of Professional and Amateur golfers. The tournament will include a minimum field of 140 amateurs and 140 professionals playing alongside one another.  The professional golfers will compete for the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open title whilst simultaneously a pairing of one professional and one amateur will play a best-ball format for the New Zealand Pro-Am Championship.
ISPS Handa New Zealand Open

Dunedin Fringe Festival
9 - 19 March, 2017
Dunedin vibrates with artistic activity and creativity during the 10-day Dunedin Fringe Festival, the largest festival of its kind in the South Island. Known for featuring experimental and innovative art forms of all kinds, the 2017 festival is set to attract an estimated 200 artists from New Zealand and around the world to showcase their unique talents to over 10,000 people across the 10 days.
Dunedin Fringe Festival 

Hokitika Wildfoods Festival - West Coast
11 March, 2017
The world-famous Hokitika Wildfoods Festival, in the South Island's West Coast region, brings a unique approach to mixing local and wild delicacies particular to this part of the world. Visitors can sample all sorts of weird and wonderful foodstuffs, including crocodile bites, huhu grubs, "mountain oysters", and garden snails and enjoy the friendly festival atmosphere for which this event has become famous.
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival
11 March, 2017
Held at a beautiful rural riverside setting, the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival provides the opportunity to sample a variety of wines from a number of the finest wineries in the region, from both larger well-known wineries to smaller boutique establishments. The festival is also about profiling the great local food and produce, showcasing 10 of the region’s top restaurants. Entertainment throughout the day features live music, art exhibitions, cooking demonstrations  and static displays catering for all tastes.
Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival

WOMAD - New Plymouth
17 - 19 March, 2017
Known as the ‘world’s festival’, WOMAD brings together a selection of some of the biggest artists from round the globe with the aim of celebrating different forms of music, art and dance. Held in the lovely green surroundings of New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park (a New Zealand 'Garden of National Significance), WOMAD is a family-friendly event. A new element to WOMAD this year is ‘World of Words’, a site-wide programme created to provoke thought and encourage people to learn, listen, and participate.

Havelock Mussel Festival - Marlborough
18 March, 2017
Visitors can join this annual celebration of the greenshell mussel harvest, and experience the freshest tastes, sights, and sounds available at Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds - greenshell mussel capital of the world. Activities include family entertainment, great food, wine and beer, competitions, market stalls, cooking demonstrations, and a whole lot of mussels.
Havelock Mussel Festival

iD Dunedin Fashion Week
18 - 26 March, 2017
New Zealand’s ‘underground’ fashion capital of Dunedin hosts an annual runway show of high profile international acts alongside Kiwi designers and emerging talent. With more than 30 events in a range of venues throughout historic Dunedin and Otago, the event features designer collections not seen elsewhere in New Zealand – and the opportunity to witness fashion on the world’s longest runway, the platform on the majestic Renaissance style Dunedin Railway Station.
iD Dunedin Fashion Week

Balloons over Waikato – Hamilton
22 – 26 March, 2017
Balloons over Waikato is a visual spectacle featuring magnificent hot air balloons from New Zealand and overseas. Five days of fun and competition is enjoyed by over 130,000 spectators, culminating in the Hamilton Night Glow - an orchestrated show with live music and fireworks.
Balloons over Waikato

Pasifika Festival - Auckland
25 - 26 March, 2017
Pasifika Festival – celebrating New Zealand’s diverse Pacific communities – is a two-day event held in an open amphitheatre at Western Springs Stadium in central Auckland. The festival is a colourful blend of Pacific Island food, dance and cultural workshops and is the most significant cultural festival of its kind in the South Pacific. The festival welcomes tens of thousands of locals and visitors who come to indulge in the vibrant Pacific islands culture.
Pasifika Festival

CubaDupa – Wellington
25 – 26 March, 2017
CubaDupa is Wellington’s vibrant street festival revering the creative spirit of Cuba Street and the Wellington community. This unique festival has a focus on breaking down the barrier between performer and audience in an event that incorporates music, dance, circus, theatre, and installation. The festivities spill into the streets and laneways of the city creating an immersive fun filled experience.
Cuba Dupa

Crankworx – Rotorua
25 March – 2 April, 2017
Crankworx - the biggest mountain biking festival in the world - is returning to Rotorua for the third time in March 2017.  The mountain bike season will kick off with five days of world-class riding and competition for the world’s best mountain biking pro-athletes dosed with concerts, culture and cranking. Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park will host rising stars, industry innovators and the next generation of mountain bike riders in Speed and Style, Slopestyle, Downhill and Enduro events. There is also a raft of other events for amateur and non-bikers, including Kidsworx for the mini cyclists.
Crankworx Rotorua

MarchFest – Nelson
25 March, 2017
Marchfest is a sizzling celebration of craft beer and music, set in New Zealand’s sole hop growing region. Each year new craft beers from around the region get their first public tastings but it’s not just about the beer as the festival also showcases the best wine, cider, juices, local produce and cuisine that sunny Nelson has to offer.

Le Race - Christchurch
25 March, 2017
Le Race - staged in Christchurch - is one of New Zealand’s most iconic and exciting cycling events. The lure of Le Race attracts top competitors from around New Zealand as well as international cycling enthusiasts. The 100km race starts in the Garden City and leads riders on a diverse and challenging track all the way to coastal Akaroa, a small New Zealand village rich with French history and a fitting finish to New Zealand’s very own Le Tour.
Le Race

100km Flyer – Taupo to Rotorua
25 March, 2017
The 100km Flyer is an annual race that sees some 3,500 participants cycle from one New Zealand tourist mecca to another, taking in some of the most scenic countryside the North Island has to offer as they cycle from Rotorua to Lake Taupo. There are no age restrictions on this event which is open to anyone with a bike.
100k Flyer

April 2017

The Ultimate Waterman - Southland
1 - 9 April, 2017
The world’s finest watermen will come together in New Zealand to compete in eight different surfing disciplines over nine days.The invitation-only contest will seek out the best conditions Southland has to offer, creating a unique event that will test the eight elite competitors’ skill and endurance on some of the planet’s most stunning coastlines.
The Ultimate Waterman

Waiheke Wine & Food Festival
1 April, 2017
The Waiheke Wine & Food Festival provides a unique opportunity to taste many of Waiheke’s boutique wines in one place. Held at Te Motu ‘The Airstrip’ on 1 April 2017, Waiheke winegrowers will come together on one day, in one place, to celebrate the harvest on the island. In addition to the wine there will be a selection of locally produced cuisine to indulge in and live music playing throughout the day.
Waiheke Wine and Food

Festival of Colour – Wanaka
4 – 9 April, 2017
Festival of Colour is an exciting biennial celebration of the arts, held in the spectacular autumnal lake side town of Wanaka in New Zealand’s Southern Lakes region. The six day programme is filled with more than 60 inspiring performances and exhibitions of theatre, music, dance and visual arts from both New Zealand and global artists.  
Festival of Colour 

Queenstown Bike Festival
8 – 22 April, 2017
Set in the stunning surroundings of Queenstown - New Zealand’s No.1 tourist destination - the Queenstown Bike Festival combines the best of mountain bikes, downhill and road bikes through a diverse series of events suitable for all ages and abilities. Highlights include the Mountain Bike Night Ride - for riders who want to try the unique experience of riding and navigating at night, and the gravity powered extreme endurance bike race in the Cardrona Mega Avalanche. As well as the tracks, Queenstown is the star of show with golden hues turning it into one of New Zealand’s most spectacular autumn landscapes.
Queenstown Bike Festival

Wairarapa Balloon Festival - Wairarapa
13 – 17 April, 2017
The five-day region-wide event showcases over 20 colourful hot air balloons and their masterful pilots. Balloons launch every day at dawn in a breathtaking display from locations near Masterton, Carterton and Greytown, including a spectacular night show.
Wairarapa Balloon Festival

Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka - Marlborough
14 - 16 April, 2017
The Wairau Valley’s dry, golden hills and Marlborough's vineyards in autumn colours provide a stunning and delicious backdrop for Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka air show. This exhilarating three-day extravaganza stars more than 100 aircraft and packs in plenty of ground support including theatrical re-enactments and sampling some of the delicious food and wine that Marlborough is famous for. The 2017 show will be held over the three-day Easter weekend of 14 - 16 April, with highlights such as sunset flying, a concert and spectacular fireworks. 
Yealands Classic Fighters

The Big Easy – Hawke’s Bay
15 April, 2017
Unlike most lycra-clad cycling events, Hawkes Bay’s The Big Easy is a 45km ride where those taking part are encouraged to take as long as they like, appreciating the scenery and the region’s many tasty distractions on the way. Departing from Taradale, the route follows the Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trails and finishes at Black Barn Vineyard for a finale concert and a well-deserved lounge in the sun.
The Big Easy

Contact Epic, The Ultimate Mountain Bike Challenge - Wanaka
22 April, 2017
The challenging Contact Epic Mountain Bike Challenge circumnavigates the shores of Lake Hawea in New Zealand’s Southern Lakes region. The epic 125km ride is a journey of discovery taking in a variety of landscapes including the Hunter Valley and Dingle Burn high country farming stations of Lake Hawea. Contact Epic, The Ultimate Mountain Bike Challenge

Routeburn Classic - Fiordland
22 April, 2017
The Routeburn Classic is a 32.6km adventure race for 350 lucky athletes across New Zealand's famed Routeburn Track. The race climbs to 1127m above sea level as it crosses the high alpine Mount Aspiring and Fiordland national parks - a World Heritage conservation area – passing through a variety of terrain from lush native bush to an exposed alpine environment.
Routeburn Classic

May 2017

Waiheke Half Marathon
6 May, 2017
After a successful inaugural event in 2016, the Waiheke Half Marathon returns in 2017 at Auckland’s favourite island hideaway. The track provides the perfect mix of landscapes - beaches, vineyards and country roads – for keen runners to take delight in on their journey to the finish line. It wraps up at the award winning Cable Bay Vineyards, where competitors are encouraged to celebrate with family and friends over delicious local food and drinks in beautiful surroundings.
Waiheke Half Marathon

Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon – Marlborough
13 May, 2017
The Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon is a celebration of Marlborough’s landscapes, people and produce. Open to runners and walkers, the track through private vineyard land looks out on river, vine and mountain. For relaxed competitors there are delicious tasters of local produce to tempt on the way, and for those wanting to strive for the fastest time, there is a bottle of Saint Clair wine waiting at the finish line.
Saint Clair Vineyard Half Marathon

Air New Zealand Hawkes Bay International Marathon
13 May, 2017
Enjoy running through a natural landscape of wineries, orchards, beach front and late autumn countryside in the inaugural Hawke’s Bay International Marathon. The course is flat, easy running passing through the best highlights of the Hawke’s Bay region, and finishing in the stunning vineyards of the Sileni Estates Winery. Hawkes Bay Marathon 

Bluff Oyster Festival - Southland
20 May, 2017
Crowds pour in and the little port town of Bluff, on New Zealand’s southern tip, when it’s time to celebrate the Bluff Oyster harvest from the cold southern oceans. The oyster season usually lasts from March to August and, while the seafood delicacy will be featured on restaurant menus all over New Zealand, that doesn’t stop seafood lovers from flocking to the Southland town to enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes at the source. The Bluff Oyster Festival is one of New Zealand’s most loved food festivals, attracting locals and visitors from all over to celebrate the seasonal delicacy - straight up or in a variety of dishes. A selection of wild foods, live entertainment, shucking competitions and the Bluff Oyster Sack fashion show round off the experience.
Bluff Oyster Festival