News & Travel Tips

Winter Is Here

Snow is gathering on New Zealand’s high country and mountain resorts are grooming their fields as the country says goodbye to autumn and welcomes visitors for another season of uniquely Kiwi winter events.

Food shows and wine festivals, music, arts, fashion, sport and family fun events, plus some Kiwi-only cultural experiences are all part of New Zealand’s year-round experiences.

Matariki – the traditional Māori celebration of the winter solstice – is marked by the arrival of the Matariki / Pleiades star constellation in the southern skies. This ancient festival plays out across the country with a huge variety of community and family events to celebrate and give thanks for the end of the season’s harvests and anticipate the lengthening days of the approaching summer.

Whether it’s more gentle outdoor action and adventure, or cosy fireside relaxation that whets the appetite, there’s a varied menu of New Zealand event highlights this winter.

New Zealand Steampunk Festival
1 – 5 June, 2017
The 2017 Steampunk NZ Festival is the premier steampunk event of the Southern Hemisphere based in the steampunk capital, Oamaru, New Zealand, 1st – 5th June 2017. A four day event with markets and music, feasting, racing of teapots, airships and duelling teacup style – and much more madness. The highlight is the show at the Oamaru Opera House: Moments in Time, a series of short theatre pieces that tell of futures as they might have been and to top it all a Gala Ball.
New Zealand Steampunk Festival

Wellington Jazz Festival
7 – 11 June, 2017
New Zealand’s hottest little jazz festival puts the groove in the world’s coolest little capital. As the season cools, hundreds of musicians turn up the heat in the capital’s famous Cuba Quarter. The three-day programme includes major international acts, home-grown super groups, relaxed afternoon sessions and riotous late-night jams – all crammed into some of Wellington’s best loved music venues, bars and eateries.
Wellington Jazz Festival

New Zealand Lions Series 2017
3 June – 8 July 2017
The countdown is on to the DHL New Zealand Lions Series 2017 for the teams, and the more than 20,000 supporters who are expected to travel with their team.Seven New Zealand cities, from north to south, will host the British & Irish Lions when they tour in 2017, and the much-anticipated rugby action promises to attract more than 20,000 visitors. Host cities will be Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua and Wellington, in the North Island – and Christchurch and Dunedin, in the South Island. The Lions Tour is the biggest sporting series to be held in New Zealand since Rugby World Cup 2011.
Lions Tour Website

Fieldays in Hamilton – Waikato
14 -17 June, 2017
New Zealand’s iconic rural trade event, now in its 48th year, displays the latest technology and innovation to the national and international agricultural community. The annual four-day event attracts 125,000-plus visitors, and showcases more than 1000 exhibitors.
Hamilton Fieldays

Winter F.A.W.C! – Hawke’s Bay Food & Wine Classic
9 June – 9 July, 2017
Following on from yet another successful Summer F.A.W.C, the best place for winter food lovers in 2016 is Winter F.A.W.C! The iconic Hawke’s Bay winter festival wraps around intimate and authentic foodie events featuring food and wine personalities, roaring fires, glasses of rich full bodied Hawke’s Bay Syrah and lashings of local lamb and venison prepared in warming ways. Locales range from spectacular settings in vineyards and underground cellars to al fresco and Art Deco delights – setting the scene for great food, wine, and music.
Winter F.A.W.C.

American Express Queenstown Winter Festival
22 June – 25 June, 2017
Winter gets underway with a bang in the South Island alpine resort of Queenstown with a 10-day celebration that is billed as the southern hemisphere’s most legendary winter festival – and gets bigger, better, more fun and slightly wackier each year. The 2016 programme includes; music, arts, comedy, food and wine and plenty of fireworks to light the snowy night ski.
Winter Festival

Matariki – Māori New Year
25 June, 2017
New Zealand celebrates Māori New Year or Matariki during winter. The month long event is associated with the first sighting of Matariki – the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters star group. Matariki is the most important date on the Māori calendar, and each year celebrations become more widespread as families and local communities pay greater attention to the traditional significance of the festival. This is a time to farewell the past year and welcome new life and new beginnings with festivities centred on kai / food sharing, hospitality, art and crafts, cultural workshops, traditional Māori games, concerts and performances. The Auckland Matariki Festival is a month-long celebration that puts a modern take on this ancient tradition.

Russell Birdman Festival – Northland
13 – 16 July, 2017
The Russell Birdman Festival in the beautiful Bay of Islands is one not to be missed. The free and fun three day event sees people partake in various fun-filled activities. From a unique take on the classic Drag Race (men in dresses) a mini iron man, fancy dress, spaghetti eating, saucy pirates and a street party. The most anticipated event of the weekend is the Famous Birdman jump off the jetty and into the pristine (and likely chilly) water.
Russell Birdman Festival

Visa Wellington on a Plate – Wellington
11 – 27 August, 2017
New Zealand’s largest and tastiest food festival, Visa Wellington On a Plate returns for the sixth season with a massive menu of great food-themed events inspired by some of the country’s renowned chefs. The festival is based around DINE Wellington, a fortnight where 110 of the region’s finest eateries offer lunchtime set menus and delectable dinner deals. Wellington’s best also take part in the battle of the burger with Burger Wellington, bake-off honours in the Wellington Bake Club or the supreme award for the menu best reflecting the culinary capital’s flavour.
Visa Wellington on a Plate

Audi quattro Winter Games
25 August – 10 September, 2017
The fifth biennial Audi quattro Winter Games NZ are taking place during August and September 2017. Winter Olympic, Paralympic and X Games stars are heading to New Zealand’s Southern Alps once again for the first major championships of the season. Watch them compete for glory in freestyle skiing, snowboarding, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing and curling then enjoy the fun festival programme that will be bigger and better than ever. The Games are one of the world’s top five winter sports competitions and the only one in the southern hemisphere. They are also New Zealand’s largest recurring sports event.
Audi quattro Winter Games

DNA Gay Ski Week QT – Queenstown
2 September – 9 September, 2017
The southern hemisphere’s largest winter ‘Pride’ event attracts hundreds of colourful international visitors for a week-long party that sizzles with events on and off-piste including cabaret, Bingay, karaoke, a festival dance party – the ‘Queens on the Lake‘ party held aboard TSS Earnslaw – Queenstown’s iconic Lady of the Lake steamship.
DNA Gay Ski Week

Credit: Tourism New Zealand.
Photo Credit :Destination Queenstown.

TravelNZWinter Is Here