winter rolls around, it's natural to reach for anything that screams
comfort, but there’s plenty of reasons to ditch the sweatpants and enjoy
those crisp winter days.
Winter in New Zealand is also the best time to visit if you’re enthusiastic about attending festivals in the open.
With a light dusting of snow throughout, the country is transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland.
Taupō Winter Festival | 9 July – 25 July
The sixth annual Taupō Winter Festival offers an action-packed program over two weeks. You’ll have the choice of hitting a lakeside ice rink, jumping in a giant inflatable snow globe, attending a mountain-themed film festival, catching live circus acts, and downing free hot chocolates. What's more, most of the events are free to attend.
Greytown Festival of Christmas - Wairarapa |Entire Month - July 2021
This Festival has all the hallmarks of a cosy Northern Hemisphere winter escape – with spectacular lighting displays right along the Main Street, interactive family activities, Night Markets, Christmas parties, celebrations and more. There are over 30 events and 40 workshops to choose from, not to mention free family activities taking place every day where attendees will be spoilt for choice.
Winter Deco – Napier | 16 July – 18 July
Get out your coats, hats and fur wraps and get cosy with the sophisticated and stylish, Winter Deco Weekend. The whole region steps back in time to experience what life was like between 1920 and 1940 as part of the festivities.
Whether it's glitzy soirees, vintage cocktail evenings, cool jazz performances, delectable dining experiences at the finest Art Deco restaurants, fabulous fashion, classic films, vintage car displays or taking in Napier’s incredible Art Deco heritage, there is a lot to savour at Winter Deco Weekend.
Beervana – Wellington |13 August – 14 August
is New Zealand’s biggest and most popular beer festival. Held at Sky
Stadium over two days Beervana is most
certainly a thirst quencher and with the amount of a visual and
interactive activity happening all over the concourse, it’s also a feast
for the eyes. From outrageous brewery displays to silent discos,
colourful beer cocktails to cheeseburger spring rolls
it’s Willy Wonka Factory for beer lovers. Many beers a brewed
especially for the festival and are unlikely to be poured elsewhere ever
Beervana also includes an annual homebrewers’ competition in which homebrewers are challenged to recreate specific beers from breweries - then the brewer has to pick their own beer out of the homebrewers’ line up (Beat the Brewer).
Fun Fact: Beervana was the biggest beer festival held in the entire world in 2020.
Visa Wellington on a Plate | Food Festival | 1 August – 31 August
For the full month of August, you can Eat, Drink and Be Welly with hundreds of Festival Events, Festival Dishes that showcase the best of Wellington region's ingredients, suppliers, and producers. This year's theme, Out of Place, sees many events and dishes taking you on a culinary trip around the world, transporting you to far-flung destinations, currently out-of-reach.
Winter Pride | Festival – Queenstown |27 August – 5 September
Winter Pride is the largest gay pride festival in the southern hemisphere - Queenstown emerges in full rainbow colors, on and off-mountain, with the perfect excuse for people to show their true selves in an accepting, supportive and fun community. This 10-day festival is jam-packed with fabulous events, talented entertainers, dance parties, skiing, boarding and mountain hikes. The event is typically packed with some of the best Australasian DJs, epic dance parties, speed dating, skiing, boarding and all-round good times. Don’t miss the Boogie Downhill Retro Day at Treble Cone on Monday 30th
Snowboxx | Music Festival – Queenstown & Wanaka | 7 September – 14 September
After 8 consecutive sold out events in the French Alps, Snowboxx starts a new chapter in New Zealand bringing an epic combination of DJs, parties, and pistes to the best ski area in the Southern Hemisphere.
Landing between Treble Cone and Cardrona from 7–14 September, Snowboxx will see Shapeshifter, Opiou and Kora hit the stage. Attendees are also invited to enjoy on and off-mountain activities like bottomless disco brunches, igloo parties, sledge races, comedy nights, snowball fights and aprés ski experiences throughout the week.
Snow Machine | Music Festival – Queenstown |8 September – 11 September
After making its debut in Japan last year, alpine music festival Snow Machine is hitting the slopes for four snow-filled days of music and adventure. Attendees at the New Zealand edition from September 8–11, 2021 will be treated to action-packed days on the slopes, aprés ski events on both Coronet Peak and The Remarkables and a lineup of international acts against the idyllic backdrop of Queenstown. A who's who of Australian electronic acts will warm up the frosty evenings, including headliners The Avalanches, Flight Facilities, Hayden James, and The Presets.
Peak to Powderkeg | Adventure Race - Ohakune |9 October
The Peak 2 Powderkeg is an iconic four stage adventure race from the top of Turoa Ski Area to the Powderkeg bar at the foot of Mt Ruapehu. Now in its 30th year, it’s a race steeped in history, fun and competition. Participants can enter as individuals or in teams of three to complete the stages which include:
- Skiing from top to bottom of the ski area.
- 4.8km downhill run on the sealed Ohakune Mountain Road.
- 11.5km downhill bike on sealed road
- Short 300m dash run and beer/lemonade scull at the Powderkeg & Powderhorn Chateau.