New Zealand - Spring 2019 event highlights

September through to November means springtime in New Zealand, a beautiful time to visit, with lots happening around the country.

Food, festivals, frolics and frocks. New Zealanders celebrate the approach of the warmer months with a burst of energy and creativity, and in ways that are uniquely Kiwi.  

Spring in New Zealand puts a (ahem) spring in everyone's step. The outdoors beckon with new adventures and activities and road trips, and throughout the country food lovers celebrate the fresh bounty of the season with festivals. Springtime is also a spur to creativity, whether in events that celebrate the past or imagine future possibilities.     

Winter Pride Festival / Gay Ski Week, Queenstown 
30 August – 9 September 2019
For Winter Pride Festival / Gay Ski Week - the largest gay pride festival in the southern hemisphere - Queenstown emerges in full rainbow colours, on and off-mountain, with the perfect excuse for people to show their true selves in an accepting, supportive and fun community. This 10-day festival is jam-packed with fabulous events, talented entertainers, dance parties, skiing, boarding and mountain hikes. Packages and combo passes are available for Remarkables, Cardrona, Coronet Peak ski areas. 
Gay Ski Week

The Spring Fling, Hawke’s Bay
1 September – 2 November 2019
A quintessential New Zealand spring will always include lambs and a daffodil paddock, and Central Hawke’s Bay has all of those. Taniwha gardens is a stand out daffodil experience – 20 acres of golden blooms, a free event that’s open every day in September. Wander through the parklands, enjoy some warm country hospitality and pick your own bunch to take home.  

Taniwha Daffodils is part of The Spring Fling, a series of standout events – 18 in 2019 – throughout September, October and early November, and capturing the essence of spring time throughout this beautiful and productive region. Create wonderful memories as you indulge your passion for art, food, wine, shopping, cycling or the great outdoors, in gorgeous events at historic homesteads, on scenic coastal walks and boutique markets.
Central Hawke's Bay Spring Fling

Voyage to Aotearoa: Tupaia and The Endeavour – Auckland Museum
13 September 2019 – 15 March 2020 

This year marks 250 years since first meetings between Māori and Pākehā (Europeans) during The Endeavour’s 1769 voyage to Aotearoa New Zealand. There will be official events in the four regions where the two races met face to face (Bay of Islands, The Coromandel, Eastland and Marlborough).

Visitors can learn more about this key moment in history at a new exhibition at Auckland Museum that portrays events through the eyes of Tupaia, the Tahitian high priest, navigator, and artist who voyaged with Captain Cook acting as translator and mediator between the visitors and tangata whenua (people of the land). Told through three different settings, Tahiti, onboard the Endeavour and Aotearoa, this family exhibition has hands-on, tactile experiences, combined with bold visuals and storytelling. 
Auckland Museum - Tupaia exhibition

Eat.Taste.Central – Central Otago
20 September – 28 October 2019
Take your palate somewhere it hasn’t been before. Fly into Queenstown, and head directly to hospitable Central Otago for some quality time with your taste buds at the third edition of Eat.Taste.Central (ETC) – an event-filled month during which cafés, restaurants and cellar doors celebrate regional goodness and compete for festival honours. Central Otago’s continental climate and stony alpine terrain grows some of the world’s finest wine, dairy, nuts, fruit, honey, and olive oil.

Whitianga Scallop Festival, The Coromandel
21 September 2019 

If you've got a taste for fine seafood, then head to The Coromandel for the world’s plumpest and juiciest Coromandel scallops. Now in its 14th year and one of New Zealand’s most popular seafood events, the Whitianga Scallop Festival features up to 60 food stalls turning out mouth-watering dishes in a lovely seaside location. Entertainment from famous New Zealand performers and seafood cooking demonstrations by iconic Kiwi chefs help round out this exceptional scallop celebration.
Whitianga Scallop Festival

International Hobbit Day, Hobbiton Movie Set, Waikato 
22 September 2019  

Fancy a pint of handcrafted ale and a feast where second helpings are encouraged? On Sunday 22 September at the famed Hobbiton Movie Set, near the Waikato town of Matamata, you can enjoy all that and more as Bilbo and Frodo Baggins's special day is celebrated in style.

Festivities at the five-hectare (12-acre) site will include a guided tour at dusk and a specially created event and party marquee area with individually themed stalls offering traditional Hobbit fare. Guests will be entertained by roaming minstrels and at the Green Dragon Inn, where Hobbits traditionally gather to chatter about the day, the Hobbit Southfarthing range of traditional ales, apple cider and non-alcoholic ginger beer will be on tap and there will be prizes for best (Hobbit) dress on the night.      
International Hobbit Day

World of WearableArt, Wellington
26 September to 13 October 2019

It has no narration, no explanation and needs none. The World of WearableArt is an out of the world, two-hour tour de force of breathtaking costumes, choreography and music that crosses all language barriers and, as a judge of the event once put it, "makes Lady Gaga look like a librarian". Now in its 31st year, the spectacular annual stage show and design competition draws thousands of people to Wellington while the design competition attracts entries from across the globe, vying for prizes including a four week residency at Cirque de Soleil in Montréal and an internship at Wellington's WETA Workshop.  
The World of WearableArt

Port Chalmers Seafood Festival, Dunedin
28 September 2019 

The biennial Port Chalmers Seafood Festival is a true small town community celebration that takes place in a pretty seaside town, on the shores of Otago Harbour. Run entirely by local volunteers, the festival has its roots in the community it serves and helps support. You'll find legendary southern clams, crayfish, fresh fish, NZ green-lipped mussels, whitebait, craft beer, Central Otago wine, fish touch tanks, family entertainment and cooking demonstrations.
Port Chalmers Seafood Festival

Diwali Festival, Auckland
20-21 October 2019

Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an ancient and important festival celebrated by Indian communities around the world. Auckland's annual two-day Diwali Festival, held in downtown Aotea Square, brings thousands of Aucklanders and visitors of all ages and ethnic backgrounds together to celebrate traditional and contemporary Indian culture. Highlights include local and international dance, music and theatre performers, food and craft stalls, a wedding expo, seminars and workshops. Wellington also celebrates Diwali on the waterfront on 24 November.  
Auckland Diwali Festival

ASB Auckland Marathon, Auckland
20 October 2019

Sightseeing and exercise? You can do both at the same time on the ASB Auckland Marathon (Sunday 20 October 2019) as you traverse Auckland's Harbour Bridge and follow the shoreline of its beautiful harbour. Choose from marathon, half-marathon and 12km traverse. There’s even a 2.2km kids run, and the marathon raises funds for causes including mental health, cancer treatment and Starship Children's Hospital. It finishes with a "Party in the Park" celebration. This colourful marathon is a great way to take in the spirit and diversity of New Zealand's largest city.
ASB Auckland Marathon

Summer FAWC! (Food & Wine Classic), Hawke’s Bay 
1 - 10 November 2019

FAWC! is New Zealand’s most beautiful food festival, a delectable slice of regional NZ – a 10-day feast packed with 65-plus events in vineyards, country estates, olive groves, markets and dining establishments. At the November edition of the Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Classic (there’s also a winter FAWC! in June) sample the best from leading chefs and producers in one of NZ’s most productive regions. Think fine full-bodied red wines, lamb and beef, seafood, dairy, stone fruit and olives. On the side, you also get the Art Deco architectural glories of Napier.
Summer FAWC!

The New Zealand Cider Festival, Nelson
16 November 2019
Heaven for cider sippers, Nelson’s fertile fruitful orchards produce over 60% of New Zealand’s cider so where better spot to sample the brew. The fourth edition of the New Zealand Cider Festival will showcase 80+ cider varieties from around NZ.  Set in the historic village of Founders Heritage Park in Nelson the Cider Festival is a celebration of diversity – whether that’s ingredients, producers and consumers – and there’ll be a chance to sample both traditional and ‘new world’ varieties in a relaxed festival environment.  
New Zealand Cider Festival

Toast Martinborough, Wairarapa
17 November 2019
At Toast Martinborough, the entire province of Wairarapa, northeast of Wellington, takes part in a day of fine wine, cuisine and music in the open air. You will find yourself staying longer though because this beautiful part of the country studded with charming colonial-era small towns produces some of New Zealand's best pinot noir, aromatic white wines and dessert wines. 
Toast! Martinborough

Oamaru Victorian Fête, Oamaru
17 November 2019

The town of Oamaru on the southeast coast of the South Island is a place where you can turn back time. Established at the height of Victorian-era expansionism, Oamaru once exported the products of its rich pastoral hinterland across the world, its prosperity reflected in grand commercial buildings made from locally quarried limestone. Times change but thanks to the visionary efforts of a local civic trust, Oamaru has the finest collection of heritage-listed buildings in New Zealand. The Victorian Precinct, open for business year-round, hosts a week-long annual heritage celebration culminating in an old-fashioned fête. It's a fun day of contests, performances and eating and drinking with townspeople dressed in Victorian garb.  
Victorian Oamaru Fete

Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge
30 November 2019 

Feeling fit? Try cycling 160km – that’s up hill, downhill and along the edge of the lake – around beautiful Lake Taupo in the southern hemisphere’s largest cycling event. It's open to individuals and teams, road cyclists and mountain bikers, and there are shorter, less demanding courses including a kids event. With more than 6000 cyclists and around 8000 supporters in town for the weekend, the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge has been putting the Kiwi cycling community into a spin for 43 years.    
Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge