Thirsty work - New Zealand Cider Festival back for seconds in Nelson

There’s a new beverage bubbling over with popularity in New Zealand, and the second annual New Zealand Cider Festival aims to quench that thirst.

There’s a new beverage bubbling over with popularity in New Zealand, and the second annual New Zealand Cider Festival aims to quench that thirst. 

Cider popularity in New Zealand has doubled in the last five years with 1 in 4 consumers now including cider in their shopping. Traditionally a country known for its wine and craft beer, New Zealand is starting to garner a reputation for craft cider. 

On 4 November at Nelson’s Founders Heritage Park, New Zealand cider makers will come together to show off their best and latest tipples. A celebration of diversity – whether that’s ingredients, producers and consumers – there’ll be a chance to sample both traditional and ‘new world’ varieties in a relaxed festival environment with gourmet dining and great entertainment.

On the fertile, sunny northern tip of the South Island, the Nelson region grows a significant portion of New Zealand’s apple and pear exports so no surprise that it’s also become the cider centre. 

Described by National Geographic as “heaven for cider seekers”, Nelson has a growing number of cideries producing 60% of the country’s cider. 

The New Zealand Cider Festival offers the opportunity to try a huge range of different ciders all made locally. The festival will also coincide with the New Zealand Cider Awards which take place the night before. 

With a selection of top New Zealand cider makers present, including local producers Peckham’s and Zeffer (recent winners of ‘The World’s Best Cider’), festival-goers can expect plenty of treats. Other ciders to keep an eye out for will be Old Mout Cider, The Mussel Inn, Three Wise Birds, Rochdale & Saxton by McCashins, Sprig & Fern, Forbidden Cider, Scoundrels and Rogues, Paynter’s Cider and Tutu Cider.

“The first New Zealand Cider Festival was a great success. The turnout and enthusiasm from all that attended was incredible and shows how the level of interest and excitement around New Zealand cider has grown. We are already looking forward to the next year,” says Jody Scott, chief cider maker at Zeffer.

Coupled with the Nelson region’s reputation for produce, the event will be a flavour explosion with ciders matched to some of New Zealand’s best food. 

Entertainment will include excellent local music, celebrity talks, tastings and the Ministry of Inspiration kid’s entertainment area.


Nelson Tasman's golden sand beaches and vast protected areas of national park set the scene for year-round nature, wildlife and outdoor experiences, including sea kayaking, rock climbing, white-water rafting, mountain biking, sailing, horse trekking and swimming with marine life. 

The sea surrounding Nelson is the source of some of New Zealand’s finest seafood, and the temperate climate produces abundant grapes for wine, hops for beer and fruit, including apples for cider.

Bike trails offer cycling fun for all ages and skill levels, and the Tasman's Great Taste Cycle Trail is an especially enjoyable way to explore the region's breweries, vineyards, country pubs and historic buildings.

Nelson’s vibrant creative environment offers visitors the opportunity to meet and mix with local artists and craftspeople, visit their studios and participate in art tours.

Travel Tips

Nestled at the top of the South Island, sunny Nelson is just a 1.5 hour flight from Auckland, 50 minutes from Christchurch, or a 25 minute hop across Cook Strait if you're flying from Wellington. Passenger and vehicle ferries also connect the two islands, departing regularly from Wellington and docking at the charming town of Picton in the South Island, just 2 hours’ drive from Nelson centre.