8 great summer festivals


Summer is the perfect opportunity to go outside, feel the warmth, and get involved with outdoor events. From beach bonanzas to busy city carnivals, there’s something around the country for everyone. Here are 8 festivals that take advantage of the warmer weather and the great outdoors.

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Auckland Brazil Day Festival

25 January

When you think of Brazil, the stereotype of exciting dancing and music, delicious street food, and an ecstatic party atmosphere comes to mind. This free Brazil Day Festival, held at Rocket Park on Auckland’s New North Road, seems set to prove that stereotype true. This is New Zealand’s largest and most exciting celebration of the samba nation and is not to be missed.

Christchurch Interislander Festival

26 January

Relax trackside at Motukarara Raceway, about 30 minutes’ drive south of Christchurch. There is plenty to do, from food stalls, live music, and family fashion shows, to the horse racing itself. Live the high life in the sunshine and beat back any moody blues.

Sarau Festival, Nelson

2 February

Held at the Moutere Hills Community Centre, the annual Sarau festivities include crafts, world street foods, locally produced beverages, bookstalls, animal-petting areas, cooking demonstrations, live music, and much more.

Ōtaki Kite Fest, Wellington

8 - 9 February

The sheer variety of kites on display — from giant soaring inflatables to little fluttering mechanical kites — makes this free event almost unmissable. Drawing kite fliers from throughout New Zealand and beyond, the Ōtaki Beach Kite Fest is a great day out and a fantastic new experience. Bring a picnic and settle in.

Wellington Island Bay Festival, Day in the Bay

9 February

Slap on the sunscreen and experience the buzz of this free festival at Wellington’s Shorland Park. It has all the staples of a great day out — mouth-watering food, live music, and idyllic surroundings — with much more, served with a side of hospitality.

Southland Buskers Festival, Invercargill

13 to 16 February

Queens Park plays host to this free, annual gathering of talented street and circus performers. Relax in the sunshine and sing and dance along with this collection of award-winning buskers.

Auckland City of Ales

22 February

Enjoy the fruits of thousands of years of brewing technique at this badly kept secret down at Westhaven Marina. With three beer tokens upon entry, this is the perfect opportunity for a Saturday drink in the sunshine. Expect a friendly atmosphere and delicious food. Whether you love your lager or go barmy for a bitter, this event is for you.

Westland Wildfoods Festival

7 March

Cass Square in Hokitika is transformed into a foodie’s paradise for the Wildfoods Festival. With more than 50 stalls, the fête hosts an incredible range of delectable cuisine, from whitebait to pork, as well as a thirst-quenching selection of beer and wine. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take on some not-so-gourmet treats, including huhu grubs, snails, and deer testicles. Whether you’re a gastronomic thrill-seeker or just a lover of great local food, you’ll be sure to leave the festival a happy camper.

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