Whilst it seems the UK is shivering in the depths of a late English winter, New Zealand is at last relaxing and enjoying a rather late arriving summer! And summer here in New Zealand heralds a time of relaxing, enjoying the outdoor spaces, indulging in some fine wine and food and a party like atmosphere.
It seems that February seems to combine all of the best of the ‘carnival’ season –taking care of the sports enthusiast with the infamous Wellington Rugby Sevens; to the historian and proud kiwis enjoying the many celebrations (and a few spectacles) of the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi (NZ’s founding document of 1840); to the food and wine aficionados enjoying the multiple gourmet treats on offer.
I started my “Festival” season with the wildly glamorous ‘Auckland Seafood Festival’ down at Auckland’s newly fashionable Wynyard Quarter – now in its 6th year, this awesome 3 day extravaganza celebrates New Zealand’s best seafood, musical acts, live demos and everything seafood – all in all you can enjoy over 90 dishes including crayfish, paua, mussel, oysters, scampi, whelks and of course many different varieties of fish. Add to that all day music, loads of entertainment & competitions plus a great selection of NZ wine and beer. Hard to beat!
Elsewhere in New Zealand – it’s also “Festival Fever”: – Dunedin in NZ’s deepest South enjoys its Fringe Festival (this year in March) where over 50 events featuring 250 artists (from NZ and around the world) will come together over a massive 11 days of pure entertainment, providing audiences with a spectacular array of entertaining and challenging art and performance.
Lake Wanaka, part of one of the South Island’s most splendid lakeside scenery enjoys an Open Air Music Festival set amidst a glorious vineyard setting with some of New Zealand’s most famous kiwi bands.
If something more energetic suits, Wellington celebrates its Dragon Boat Fiesta on Wellington Harbour in mid March, which this year being the Year of the Dragon promises to be bigger than ever. Now in its 27th year and still going strong this exciting race shows these talented Dragon Boaters race down a course that hugs the shoreline
Otherwise, our green fingered friends will love the amazing Ellerslie Flower Show in March, hopefully bringing some additional visitor numbers and revenue to our earthquake shaken City of Christchurch.
Wherever you are in New Zealand in our summertime, you will find plenty of local festivals to enjoy (especially as many of them are free), where you can mingle amongst the locals, immerse yourself in the local culture and gain an understanding of the real spirit of each festival, or just relax and enjoy them all.
I’m off to the Devonport Food and Wine Festival later this month (all in the aid of research of course!) – just a 10 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland - it’s a celebration that’s open to every visitor wishing to kick back, relax and enjoy some fabulous Kiwi food and wine! So why not come and experience New Zealand’s festival fever for yourself! Hope to see you soon!