September means the start of spring, warmer days and flowers blossom in New Zealand gardens. There is a lot to see and do from September through to November as the event calendars are packed with great food, wine, garden, art and fashion festivals and events. Here are our top picks of must-do’s this spring.
Whitianga Scallop Festival - Coromandel
This annual sea food festival marks the start of the Scallop season. The Whitianga Scallop Festival offers 60 food and wine stalls, cooking demonstrations and live music. To make this event even more fun come dressed up and make sure to impress as there is a best dressed competition! When: 19 September 2015; 10am – 6pm Where: Whitianga Marina Reserve, Whitianga Tickets: General Admission $45, Child/Teen (6 - 17 yrs) $10 Festival website: http://www.scallopfestival.co.nz/ Where to stay: Hot Water Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park is a 30min drive to Whitianga.
World of WearableArt (WOW) - Wellington
World of Wearable art is New Zealand’s biggest art show, bringing together fashion and art in a spectacular performance. The show presents the winning fashion pieces of the wearable art competition and has over 50 000 people attend each year. When: 24 September - 11 October 2015; 2pm, 5pm or 8pm depending on date Where: TSB Arena, Queens Wharf, Wellington Tickets: $50 - $170 Festival Website: http://worldofwearableart.com/ Where to stay: Wellington TOP 10 Holiday Park
Aoraki Mackenzie Starlight Festival - Canterbury
The Mackenzie Basin and at Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park are southern hemisphere’s first dark sky reserve which this festival celebrates. Also, 2015 is the International Year of Light which brings even more significance to this festival this year. It celebrates breakthroughs in Astronomy and promotes an appreciation of dark skies and the need to fight light pollution. When: 9 - 11 October 2015; 9am – 11.45pm depending on day and event Where: Twizel Events Centre, Twizel (some events at Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook village) Tickets: free - $40 (price varies for each event) Festival Website: http://www.phys.canterbury.ac.nz/starlightfestival/ Where to stay: Omarama TOP 10 Holiday Park is a 20min drive to Twizel.
Nelson Arts Festival 2015 – Nelson
The Nelson Arts Festival is the countries longest running regional arts festival and offers shows from national and international artists. From theatre, dance and music to readers and writers’ talks, there is something for everyone. When: 14 - 26 October 2015; 10am – 9pm depending on show Where: Various venues in Nelson Tickets: prices vary, some free shows/events Festival Website: http://www.nelsonartsfestival.co.nz/
Tauranga Arts Festival 2015 – Bay of Plenty
For 10 days Tauranga is transformed by performances from performers, artists and writers from New Zealand and around the globe. You will find a variety of acts in music, theatre, dance, visual arts circus as well as writers sessions. When: 22 October - 1 November 2015 Where: Various venues in Tauranga Tickets: prices vary, some free shows/events Festival Website: http://www.taurangafestival.co.nz/
Taranaki Garden Spectacular – New Plymouth
At this spectacular garden festival set in the Taranaki region you can choose between 47 gardens to visit, various guest speakers and talks to listen to as well as workshops to attend. Although the festival’s main focus are gardens it also brings food, architecture, fashion and sustainability into the mix. When: 30 October – 8 November 2015 Where: various locations in Taranaki, with a majority of events in New Plymouth Tickets: Each garden has nominated their charge of either $4, $8 or $12. Tickets are sold in $4 denominations, so that a $4 garden requires one ticket and a $12 garden requires three tickets etc. Children 12 and under, free. Festival Website: http://www.gardenfestnz.co.nz/ Where to stay: New Plymouth TOP 10 Holiday Park
Cup and Show Week – Christchurch
Whether you are looking for race or show action, or you just want to enjoy all that Christchurch and the Canterbury region has to offer you will find anything from horseracing, trotting and greyhounds to fashion, fun, food, wine and live entertainment. When: 7 - 14 November 2015 Where: various locations in Christchurch Tickets: prices vary Festival Website: http://www.nzcupandshow.co.nz/
Toast Martinborough - Wairarapa
Martinborough is surrounded by great vineyards and thus the perfect place for a food and wine festival. 10 boutique vineyards will offer over 70 world-class wines, matched by quality food and live music and entertainment. When: 15 November 2015; 10am – 6pm Where: Martinborough Tickets: $70, on sale from 23rd September Festival Website: http://www.toastmartinborough.co.nz/ Where to stay: Martinborough TOP 10 Holiday Park For even more events ideas go check out Tourism New Zealand’s Spring 2015 event highlights Image sources: Garden, Scallops, Grapes, Wine glass, Horse race, Astronomy