4 Festivals Not To Miss in New Zealand

by Caroline and Matt

New Zealand might have been one of the last major land masses to be discovered by man, but has become first in the hearts of travellers from all across the globe. Even before the Lord of the Rings created “Tolkien tourism” for the Kiwi-nation, it has been attracting tourists with it’s spectacular geography, vibrant native-culture and adventure-tourism.

But since you’ve already flown in to bungee jump down a Hobbit-hole, why not stick around and take in one of New Zealands many festivals? Here’s our pick of 4 festivals not to miss.



Are great music, warm ocean waters and sprawling white beaches enough to bring you to Auckland, New Zealand? How about bicycle powered cinemas and burlesque performers hanging from trapeze?

This is just a taste of what you’ll experience at Auckland’s Splore Festival, from February 14th to the 16th. Splore describes itself as a boutique music and art festival but with the grounds set up on the sands of a bay in the Tapapakanga Regional Park another word worth using would be paradise. If you bring a tent, Splore can be your home for the weekend, and once you’ve staked your claim to a spot in the park, wade into the water and join the festivities. 2014 will be the event’s 10th anniversary where they look to celebrate past friends, lovers and memories made at Splore. Today, it’s time to make some new ones.



Dating back to 1960, the Golden Shears Sheep Shearing Festival is a long and proud tradition in its birthplace, Wairarapa. The idea was conceived when a group of shearing enthusiasts were looking for a way to showcase their talents and grow it into a sport. Shearers were brought from across the island and sponsors flocked, turning the first Golden Shears into a huge success. For the past 53 years it has maintained its’ popularity with seats selling out months in advance. The festivities kick off February 27th, and wrap up up March 1st, so you better move fast before all the seats are taken! That would be ‘ba-aa-aah’d’. Sorry, I had to.



Food festivals are a dime a dozen in most cities, but don’t expect to find any of your average dishes in Hokitika where things tend to be a bit more…untamed.

Photo by Jude Adamson

This is all thanks to a local woman, Claire Bryant, who had enchanted the Hokitika community with the taste of her Gorse Flower flavoured wine. Soon the idea evolved to give all of the community a taste of the wild foods the west coast has to offer! Hokitika and soon all of New Zealand were captured by magic of the idea.

The first festival drew 1,800 visitors, but it soon exploded and the attendance now must be capped at 15,000 to keep up with the demand! New food is added each year, such as; wasp larvae ice cream, cucumber fish and wok fried clams just to name a few. Curious food creations aren’t the only draw. The festival boasting various bands, comedians and dancers to keep a pep in your step and the larvae in your mouth!



When you think of winning combinations what can beat good music and a beautiful beach? How about music, beaches, hot rods, motorcycles and fashion! That’s more like a winning schmorgesborg!

The Beach Hop was born in Whangamata in 2001 when the Rock n’ Roll Club’s birthday hop was merged with a number of car enthusiasts looking, at the time, to create a one day festival. What came forth would become one of the most anticipated events each year on every New Zealander’s calendar, taking place from March 25th to the 30th.

The classic cars and souped-up hot rods can often take center stage, but the real fun come from the competitions! There’s the Junkyard Fashion show pitting models head to head to display their best car part assembled fashions, or the Retro Beauty Show showcasing designers best 50’s and 60’s inspired outfits in a bid to be crowned Retro Beauty Queen of Hop 2014!

Photo by Vlad Eckligt

And for all you wannabe rockers out there, there’s El Bario Hop Idol, where 2 of the best 50’s and 60’s era crooners get a chance to sing on the main stage for the title of Hop Idol!

The Beach Hop has done its best to have a little something for everyone, so who are you do deny it?


New Zealand has a multitude of festivals every year to entice all interests: from music and the arts, to fine food and wine. As if you needed another reason to visit! Have any other great Kiwi festivals you’ve been to? Share them with us in the comments below!


For more info on travelling to New Zealand, contact one a Flight Centre Travel Consultant by calling 1-877-967-5302, visiting a store, or connecting with us online!

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