Snow capped mountains, frosty blue sky mornings and getting cosy by a roaring fire.
A quick glance at any ski field webcam and there’s no doubt winter is upon us here down-under. Don’t get too cosy around that fire if you’re backpacking New Zealand this winter. Even in the winter months there’s plenty of fun and quirky festivals to head out and explore.
Queenstown Winter Festival
Nearest Kiwi Experience stop: Queenstown
When: 24 June – 4 July 2016
Kicking off with the big daddy of New Zealand winter festivals. Queenstown is buzzing on any given day, but revs up another notch and get’s its party on a little bit (or much) more for this 10 day festival.
Nearest Kiwi Experience stop: all over! (events nationwide)
When: 6 June – 30 July 2016
Matariki is the Maori New Year, named after the star constellation which rises at this time of year. An important time of year for Maori, it signals the changing of seasons and connection between land, sea and sky. Celebrations take place all over the country and are a great way to get some insight into Maori culture. Expect music and dance (look out for kappa haka performances), hangis (traditional feasts cooked in the earth), art and astronomy sessions.
Dunedin Chocolate Carnival
Nearest Kiwi Experience stop: Dunedin
When: 16 – 22 July 2016
If you’re looking to fuel your addiction, or just an excuse to smother chocolate all over your face, Dunedin’s Chocolate Carnival has you covered. Try out a chocolate facial before watching the Jaffa Race. Thousands gather to watch 25,000 individually numbered Jaffas (orange coated chocolate candy) tumble down the world's steepest street, before continuing on with chocolatey festivities.
Bay of Islands Jazz & Blues Festival
Nearest Kiwi Experience stop: Wellington
When: 12 -14 August 2016
If you’re more beach bum than ski bum then the “winterless North” has you covered. Bay of Islands isn’t quite Fiji but definitely gets more than its fair share of mild, sunny winter days. The perfectly timed Jazz & Blues Festival brings in over 50 acts from around Aotearoa and further afield to play in outdoor and indoor venues around Pahia, and Russell. Bring your swimmers for a sneaky dip if you’re feeling brave!
Whitianga Scallop Festival
Nearest Kiwi Experience stop: Hot Water Beach
When: 17 September 2016
This mouth-watering festival warrants the detour from our Hot Water Beach stop. Seafood lovers are in for a treat with a plethora of scallop and seafood stalls, plus wine to wash it all down. The primo waterfront location, iconic kiwi bands and fun dress-up vibe mean it’s an awesome day out, even if you don’t love seafood!