8 great winter festivals

Dunedin Midwinter Carnival:

22 June The annual Dunedin Midwinter Carnival takes place on the Saturday closest to the Winter Solstice (the longest night). The event starts at 5pm with a live band, local food stalls, a merry-go-round and lots of other great entertainment. The carnival procession starts at 6pm, followed by a fireworks display. Get more info at midwintercarnival.co.nz.

Queenstown Winter Festival:

20-23 June The annual Queenstown Winter Festival gets bigger and better each year. The event is kicked off with a traditional powhiri greeting and a fleet of waka ama, followed by a guided torchlight procession through the streets of Queenstown. There will also be loads of great acts by New Zealand artists, comedy events, Splash for Cash, fireworks and more. You can even get the dog involved with the Dog Derby and dog barking contest! Find out more at winterfestival.co.nz.

Auckland Matariki Festival:

22 June – 14 July Celebrate the Maori New Year with activities and events across Auckland. The festival begins each year just before the break of dawn as Matariki, or the Pleiades, rises above the horizon. Events will include a Matariki Dawn Karakia at Auckland Domain on 22 June, the Manu Aute Kite Day on 29 June at three locations across Auckland, live performances, harbour sailings and more. Find out more at ourauckland.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Taupo Winter Festival:

4-14 July The fourth annual Malcolm Flowers Insurances Taupoō Winter Festival offers an action-packed programme over the upcoming school holidays. Check out the ice rink, a giant inflatable snow globe with snow directly from neighbouring Mount Ruapehu, a 35-metre-long inflatable obstacle course, community art projects, bubble soccer, live music, free hot chocolates and much more. Find out more at taupowinterfestival.co.nz.

Renault French Festival (Auckland):

11-14 July Oh la la, the French Festival is back! Head along to Shed 10 and The Cloud on Queens Wharf and indulge in all things French, from boeuf bourguignon to macarons. Plus there’ll be live music, a kids’ corner, a petanque contest, market stalls, fireworks and more! See frenchfestival.co.nz.

Elemental AKL (Auckland):

1-31 July Auckland’s newest winter festival kicks off for a month on 1 July. Elemental AKL draws on the elements of air, fire, earth and water to unlock a unique and inspiring calendar of more than 50 free and ticketed events, including dazzling light shows that will illuminate Auckland’s parks, waterfronts, city streets, and public spaces. Find out more at aucklandnz.com.

F.A.W.C! Winter (Hawke’s Bay):

7-30 June The Winter F.A.W.C! programme runs over four consecutive weekends each June and features over 60 events that showcase the best of Hawke’s Bay food and wine. As is tradition with Winter F.A.W.C!, many of Hawke’s Bay’s dining hotspots are serving up special ‘F.A.W.C! by 5’ offerings – all priced in multiples of $5 between $5 and $50 – which are on offer throughout the event.

Christchurch Arts Festival:

26 July – 4 August Bold, dynamic and unashamedly local, the Christchurch Arts Festival is set to light up the heart of the city and bring warmth, soul and togetherness to the depths of winter. Prepare for a unique experience of light, sound, movement and food, as extraordinary artists and producers come together for this fabulous festival. Visit artsfestival.co.nz.
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