Summer in New Zealand is a time to recharge the batteries and enjoy sunshine, swimming and succulent food. Christmas is celebrated in shorts and T-shirt style, as the bright crimson blooms of the pohutukawa - New Zealand's native Christmas tree - line the coasts with festive colour.
And just as the pohutukawa flower brings the coast to life, New Zealand summer also bursts into activity with everything from music festivals held in some of the most dramatic locations on the planet to top-notch sporting events like the ASB Classic, and - just because this is New Zealand - topped off with some of the world’s most gruelling and rewarding multi-sports events.
As always, arts and creativity feature strongly and visitors are never far from experiencing some of the most delectable produce found in New Zealand - foods that offer the true flavours of summer.
Mudtopia - Rotorua
1 - 3 December, 2017
Celebrating Rotorua’s distinctive geothermal and volcanic environment, this three-day inaugural festival is shaping up as a deeply immersive experience mixing iconic New Zealand music acts and a slippery slather of mud-related activities for everything from restorative to high-energy pursuits.
South Island Wine and Food Festival - Christchurch
2 December, 2017
A celebration of the South Island's position as one of the world's leading wine producing areas, with more than 40 wineries from Central Otago, North Canterbury, Nelson and Marlborough showcasing their wines. It also features gourmet food producers, top local restaurants, wine seminars, cooking displays and live entertainment.
South Island Wine and Food Festival
TSB Bank Festival of the Lights - New Plymouth
16 December, 2017 - 5 February, 2018
New Plymouth’s magnificent Pukekura Park, a vast 52ha domain, provides a dramatic backdrop for this highly anticipated festival. Festival-goers can expect on-stage night entertainment, daytime activities and the new lighting features from local and national artists.
TSB Bank Festival of the Lights
Rhythm and Vines Music Festival - Gisborne
29 – 31 December, 2017
The Rhythm and Vines Music Festival is one of the biggest parties in the southern hemisphere. Set in the picturesque Waiohika Estate on the sunny east coast of Gisborne, this is the ultimate New Year experience in the first place in the world to see the dawning of a new year. For the 30,000 campers inhabiting the estate's lush green hills and vines, there are 100-plus acts on five stages and an award-winning three-day festival.
Rhythm and Vines Music Festival
Rhythm and Alps Music Festival - Cardrona Valley, Wanaka
29 - 31 December, 2017
Rhythm and Alps is the South Island sister of Gisborne’s Rhythm and Vines. Created to ensure the good people of the South Island of New Zealand could celebrate the New Year to the beat of some of the world’s hottest music. The 2017 festival takes place in the beautiful Cardrona Valley on the fringe of the mighty Southern Alps, and just 50 minutes by car from Queenstown or 15 minutes from Wanaka.
Rhythm and Alps Music Festival
ASB Classic - Auckland
1 - 13 January, 2018
The ASB Classic is the ultimate summer destination, delivering world-class tennis and entertainment for two weeks in January. The ASB Classic is a tennis event featuring some of the world's biggest names on court Off court, the site offers a hub of eclectic zones that people can explore and enjoy the best of New Zealand's summer culture including food, fashion and music.
New Zealand Cycle Classic 2018 - Wairarapa
16 – 24, January 2018
The New Zealand Cycle Classic brings top international male cyclists to the Wairarapa’s quiet country roads - routes that take riders throughout this productive coastal region. Each year the Cycle Classic unearths new cycling talent, some of whom have gone on to win stages in the Tour de France, the Tour of Italy and other world championships.
New Zealand Cycle Classic
World Buskers Festival - Christchurch
18 - 28 January, 2018
The 2018 World Buskers Festival promises to carry on the tradition by offering a full programme that showcases the best of the best with amazing street performers, comedians, fringe artists, musicians and visual artists who are destined to leave the crowd mesmerised.
World Buskers Festival
Soundsplash Festival - Raglan
19 - 21 January, 2018
Located at Wainui Reserve with breathtaking coastal views, and Ngarunui beach just 500 metres from the festival site, this is the perfect location for attendees to enjoy the full Soundsplash experience. This eco- conscious and family friendly festival features a main stage nestled at the base of a stunning natural amphitheatre.
Pasifika Festival - Wellington
20 January, 2018
Experience the sights, sounds and flavours of the wider Pacific in Wellington. There will be delicious food, free family-friendly activities, and performances by traditional and contemporary Pacific artists. It is an opportunity for all Pacific people to celebrate and share their knowledge, values and beliefs and supporting the vision of Wellington as a vibrant, creative capital.
Driftwood & Sand Beach Sculpture Festival – Hokitika
25 January, 2018
Driftwood & Sand is a summer celebration of art on Hokitika beach. Artists express themselves using any materials they can find on the beach. The sculpture competition is judged at the end of the festival week. Hokitika (made famous in Eleanor Catton's The Luminaries) on the South Island's West Coast has a fascinating history of gold miners and pounamu hunters.
Drift Wood and Sand Beach Sculpture Festival
Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival - Auckland
27- 29 January, 2018
Enjoy three days of traditional and contemporary Māori culture, with performances from Māori musicians and top kapa haka groups. Wander the village marketplace and discover delicious kai (food) and a variety of authentic arts and crafts.
Tamaki Herenga Waka Festival
Auckland Seafood Festival - Auckland
27 - 29 January, 2018
The Auckland Seafood Festival, held on the long Auckland Anniversary Weekend, is a celebration of Auckland 'City of Sails' and the abundant seafood that is caught locally. The three-day festival has everything from live music, cooking demonstrations and competitions to, of course, mouthwatering seafood. This family-friendly event is held on Halsey Wharf - the working fishing port on the downtown waterfront.
Auckland Seafood Festival
The Great Kiwi Beer Festival – Christchurch
27 January, 2018
This festival of brewing is hosted by industry experts and features a range of more than 300 local, national and international brews. Sample brews from Europe to Asia and interact with the people behind favourite brands, enjoy live performances, cooking demonstrations, beer and food matching, and seminars.
Great Kiwi Beer Festival
St Jerome Laneway Festival - Auckland
29 January, 2018
St Jerome Laneway Festival is the place to hear some of the most unique established and up and coming artists of the national and international indie world. The festival will be set amongst the inner city green of Auckland’s Albert Park.
St Jerome Laneway Festival
Waitangi Day Celebrations – Waitangi, Northland
6 February, 2018
Every year on 6 February - Waitangi Day - Kiwis gather to commemorate the signing of New Zealand’s most historic document: Te Tiriti o Waitangi - The Treaty of Waitangi. Waitangi Day at the Treaty Grounds starts with the traditional Dawn Service in Te Whare Rūnanga - the carved meeting house. The free public festival features all-day entertainment, market stalls and children’s activities, and is open to all.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
Burt Munro Challenge - Invercargill, Southland
8 - 11 February, 2018
The Southland Motorcycle Club created the Burt Munro Challenge to honour world speed legend Burt Munro, whose land speed record still stands today. This inaugural event is one of New Zealand’s major motorsport events. It has strong local and national following, and is rapidly growing international interest. It attracts top New Zealand riders as well as weekend warriors to enjoy a variety of events, entertainment, and the famous southern hospitality.
Burt Munro Challenge
Tarawera Ultra Marathon - Rotorua
10 February, 2018
The 10th annual Tarawera Ultra Marathon pushes competitors to their limit. Runners entered in the 100km, 85km or 60km race will complete a course that will take them around four lakes, through many forests, past waterfalls and some of the most stunning scenery in the world, from Rotorua to Kawerau. The spectacular course will also take runners through places of immense cultural significance to Maori people.
Tarawera Ultra Marathon
Blackcaps v Australia - T20 Tri-Series
16 February, 2018
International cricket is the epitome of the New Zealand summer experience, and this summer is shaping up to be a cracker. Watch the Blackcaps battle old rivals Australia and England in the Trans-Tasman Twenty20 Tri-Series. Matches will be played in Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton as the home side looks to beat two of the best teams.
Blackcaps summer schedule
HSBC New Zealand Sevens - Hamilton
3 - 4 February, 2018
New Zealand’s most colourful and vibrant sporting event, the Hertz Sevens 2018 games will be played for the first time in Hamilton. Rugby fans flock in fancy dress for a carnival-like weekend of partying and fun. For a rugby-obsessed country like New Zealand, the Hertz Sevens is one of the main highlights on the sporting calendar. Tickets sell out quickly.
HSBC Sevens Series
Marlborough Food and Wine Festival - Marlborough
10 February, 2018
Combining quality wines, gourmet food and live music, this is New Zealand’s original and most successful wine festival. Sample the crisp sauvignon blanc that the region is famous for and enjoy entertainment from some of New Zealand’s top performers on one of the wine region's oldest and most beautiful vineyards, Brancott Heritage Estate.
Marlborough Food and Wine Festival
Speight’s Coast to Coast – West Coast / Canterbury
9 - 10 February, 2018
The Speight’s Coast to Coast is one of New Zealand’s most famous multi-sport events. The rugged ocean to mountain landscape makes this premier multisport event a must-do. The two-day event can be completed with a one, two or three person team and traverses the South Island from Kumara Beach on the Tasman Sea across the Southern Alps to Sumner Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Competitors cycle, run and kayak some of New Zealand’s most multifarious terrain including a mountain run over the Southern Alps and kayaking through New Zealand’s grand canyon.
Speight’s Coast to Coast
TUKI Festival – Wanaka
10 February, 2018
The newest oldest festival formerly known as Rippon has now moved to the magical spot of Wanaka. 20 years since staging the first festival, TUKI will showcase some of the most astounding musical talent. Craft beers, Central Otago wines, killer music, mountain and lake views with a shady forest - this one-day, two-stage festival is a summer highlight.
Tremains Art Deco Weekend - Hawke's Bay
14 - 18 February, 2018
Napier - the Art Deco ‘capital of the world’ - is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The city steps back in time each February to celebrate the glamour and style of the 1920s and ‘30s during the Tremains Art Deco Weekend. This stylish celebration incorporates over 250 events.
Tremains Art Deco Festival
Challenge Wanaka - Wanaka
18 February, 2018
Challenge Wanaka is part of the global Challenge Family triathlon series but with this event held against the backdrop of Mount Aspiring National Park - the New Zealand edition is often described as the most scenic. The varied and tough terrain of the 226km course has led competitors to describe it as one of the best events on the international circuit and attracts a variety of athletes keen to push themselves to their limits.
New Zealand International Arts Festival - Wellington
23 February - 18 March, 2018
Wellington New Zealand’s capital city, is known as a centre of creativity, and it is set to get that little bit cooler when the 30th NZ International Arts Festival comes to town. The festival brings Wellington to life with over 300 events in indoor and outdoor spaces, a leading Australasian multi-arts event that celebrates some of the world’s top artists alongside some of New Zealand’s own.
New Zealand International Arts Festival
Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover - Auckland
24 February - 18 March, 2018
Auckland - the 'City of Sails' – will again welcome in the nine yachts in the annual Volvo Ocean Race on their official stopover. The stopover reinforces New Zealand’s position as an internationally recognised sailing destination. The Volvo Ocean Race is an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavour which has been built on the spirit of great seafarers - fearless men who sailed the world’s oceans aboard square rigged clipper ships more than a century ago.
Volvo Ocean Race Auckland
ISPS Handa New Zealand Open
1 - 4 March, 2018
The biggest event on the New Zealand golfing calendar, the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open is an event for golf aficionados and casual spectators alike. It is a great opportunity to experience the worldclass courses at Millbrook Resort and The Hills, and sample some of the best of beautiful Central Otago and its famous local pinot noir vintages.
ISPS Handa New Zealand Open
Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan, Lake Taupo
3 March, 2018
Held on Lake Taupo - New Zealand’s largest lake - the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan competition celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018. Each year this event brings international and local competitors together for thrilling competition in an outstanding location - swimming across volcanic Lake Taupo, biking through native forest and runing off the beaten track.
Ironman Lake Taupo
Wanderlust – Lake Taupo
8 -11 March, 2018
Wanderlust Great Lake Taupo is a four-day celebration of mindful living. The festival brings together a remarkable group of yoga and meditation instructors, musical performers, speakers, artists, and chefs for a transformational retreat in an awe-inspiring natural thermal resort. Wanderlust is an experience that aims to fill participants with new ideas, new friends, newly discovered abilities, and greater peace.
Wanderlust - Taupo
Macpac Motatapu - Queenstown
10 March, 2018
Each year for one day only the pristine trails of the Motatapu welcomes thousands of all-comers to experience one of New Zealand’s favourite off-road sporting events. Set in the stunning Wanaka to Queenstown high country, this race through some of New Zealand's most stunning high country terrain offers five events for differing levels of appetite for scenery or suffering.
Christchurch Lantern Festival – Christchurch
10 - 11 March, 2018
This celebration of Chinese culture takes place during the Lunar New Year in the heart of Christchurch. Experience Chinese culture through hundreds of vibrantly-coloured lanterns with music, performance, dance, and food. The Lantern Festival has been part of Chinese New Year celebrations since the Han Dynasty.
Christchurch Lantern Festival
North Canterbury Wine and Food Festival - Canterbury
12 March, 2018
The North Canterbury Wine & Food Festival is a country fete held under the oak trees of Glenmark Domain that celebrates the region’s wineries, food producers and restaurants. Just 40 minues north of Christchurch, the North Canterbury region is one of New Zealand's undiscovered gems full of big personalities and big flavours.
North Canterbury Food and Wine Festival
WOMAD - New Plymouth
16 - 18 March, 2018
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. It's held in the beautiful surroundings of New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park - a New Zealand 'Garden of National Significance.
17 - 25 March, 2018
Crankworx Rotorua brings the world’s downhill, slopestyle and enduro legends together with the superfans, rising stars, industry innovators and the next generation of mountain bike riders for five days of competition, concerts, and mountain bike culture. Hosted at the year-round, gondola accessed Skyline Rotorua Gravity Park, athletes will discover the geothermal phenomenon that is Rotorua with exploding geysers, steam and bubbling mud pools, not to mention the genuine warmth and hospitality (manaakitanga) of Maori culture.
Balloons Over Waikato
21 - 25 March, 2018
This five-day event held annually in Hamilton has become a national icon. It attracts balloonists from all over New Zealand and around the world to experience the magic of the balloons. Over 130,000 spectators over five days will enjoy the amazing site of balloons ascending through the Waikato sunrise at 7.30am each morning.
Balloons Over Waikato
Pasifika - Auckland
24 -25, March 2018
Get with the island beat and be entertained by some of Pasifika’s best. Immerse yourself in Maori culture on the Aotearoa stage or be awe-struck by the Cook island drummers on one of the 11 stages at Western Springs Park.This family-friendly, free event is a great way to experience the diverse cultures of our Pacific whanau. Pack a picnic rug, slip on your jandals, and get ready to celebrate Auckland’s rich Pacific culture and heritage.
The Big Easy – Hawke’s Bay
31 March, 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. The route follows the Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trails and finishes with a finale concert and a well-deserved lounge in the sun.
The Big Easy