A common misconception about the seasons is that when summer is over so are all of the best events for the year. Trust us when we say this is simply not true. The next few months have a stellar line-up of international and local food festivals, high-profile star concerts, art and comedy showcases. There is no need to hibernate in autumn because while you might need a few more layers on, it’ll be worth it.
Here are the best events around New Zealand this autumn.
Waiheke Wine and Food Festival | Auckland
The much-loved Fullers Waiheke Wine & Food Festival is back this April after taking a break in 2018. Showcasing some of the best vineyards, artisan food and local musicians, the festivities are the perfect excuse to escape the mainland for a day and treat yourself to all that Waiheke has to offer. Kicking off at 11am you will find award-winning vineyards serving up their hand-crafted wines ready for your tasting. A few of the many making an appearance are Awaroa, CabBaybay, Man O War and Wild on Waiheke. The tasty line-up of food vendors includes Dragon Fired pizza, Shima Shuch, Urban Escargot and Rangihoua Estate olive oil. Bring a blanket or picnic chairs and get ready for a day of indulging in one of the most beautiful spots in the country.
The Southern Lakes Festival of Colour | Wanaka
2nd - 7th April
Across six days in April, Wanaka will once again be home to the Festival of Colour, bringing outstanding local, national and international arts to the region. A combination of music, dance, theatre and visual arts are what make up the festival which you will be able to experience day and night. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, The Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Dance Company are performing throughout the week, but make sure to book these shows in advance to avoid missing out as they will fill up quickly. Whilst based in Wanaka, shows and events also take place in Hawea Flat, Bannockburn and Queenstown.
You Are Us/Aroha Nui
13th April in Auckland, 17th April in Christchurch
The best of the best across New Zealand’s music industry are coming together to present two concert events in Christchurch and Auckland, You Are Us/Aroha Nui. Raising funds from ticket sales, all proceeds will go to Our People, Our City fund which was set up by the Christchurch Foundation helping those affected by the Christchurch terror attacks. The concerts will be hosted by Mike King and will have a line-up of performers including Dave Dobbyn, Six60, Shapeshifter, Anika Moa, Mitch James and many more Kiwi artists. As well as raising much-needed money, the events are being held to celebrate cultural diversity and giving all New Zealanders the opportunity to stand together in a safe space, to honour those who lost their lives on March 15th. For anyone unable to attend these concert events but wishing to donate you can give to the Our People, Our City fund.
Night Noodle Markets | Wellington
5th - 14th April
The much-loved Night Noodle Markets are returning to Wellington this April to bring all of the excitement and bustle of an authentic pop-up Asian night market. The Basin Reserve will host ten nights of street style food and live entertainment. Get ready for a full sensory experience with all of the tastes, smells and sights imaginable. If you are an Asian food lover, then the local and international stallholders are sure to wow you with much more than just noodles. You’ll find fusion dumplings, fresh off the grill BBQ skewers, home-made bao buns, hawker rolls and fruity cocktails to wash it all down. Free entry to the outdoor event leaves no reason not to head along, and we bet you’ll be going back more than once.
Matt Corby | Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
18th, 20th, 21st April
Known for his unique sound, goosebump-inducing vocals and simple instrumentals, Matt Corby is an Australian icon we love coming to our shores. Returning with his Rainbow Valley tour celebrating the release of his second album, the Sydney local is known for his intimate and emotion-filled performances. With shows in Auckland on the 18th, Wellington on the 20th and Christchurch on the 21st there is every chance to catch the legend across the country this April.
Wairarapa Balloon Festival | Wairarapa
18th - 22nd April
Five days of magic happen this April with the Wairarapa Balloon Festival. Kicking off at 7am on Tuesday, 18 April, there are plenty of opportunities to witness hot air balloons in one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand. There are balloon rides, a fiery balloon display and a night glow event on Saturday. The night glow involves the hot air balloons in a field at sunset, tethered to the ground by staff. The propane burners keep them aloft in the darkness, bringing with it a spectacular display.
Through the Valley | Gibbston Valley
No plans for your Easter weekend? We have the perfect answer. Set in the jaw-droppingly beautiful Gibbston Valley, Through the Valley festival is definitely the best place to be during your long weekend. Just 20 minutes from Queenstown, the Cargo Brewery is hosting an amazing line-up of Kiwi artists in their stunning backyard. New Zealand icon Dave Dobbin is leading the way with support from Fly My Pretties, The Butlers, Rhythmonx and Foz. It’s the easy-listening kind of tunes that pair perfectly with a cold beer and beaming sun rays. The brewery is serving up craft beer along with a full bar of whatever your beverage choice may be. A selection of food vendors will also be on sight to keep you fuelled all day long to ensure the maximum amount of dancing.
Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival | Arrowtown
23rd - 28th April
Arrowtown is the kind of place that was made for a postcard, but Arrowtown in Autumn is something else entirely. What was once a gold rush village is now a much-loved pocket of New Zealand, overflowing with charming old buildings and beautiful nature trails. When the leaves start to turn orange and the air gets a little cooler it really comes alive, thanks to the annual Akarua Arrowtown Autumn Festival. Running over a week in April, this will be the 35th year of the festival and as always, full of fun and delicious events each day. Always a favourite, Pie, Pint and Pinot is the last event of the week and definitely worth heading along to with gourmet locally made pies with a selection of craft beers and wine from the region. The best way to do it? Bring along a blanket, settle in with your pie and drinks and enjoy the live music and stunning backdrop.
International Comedy Festival | Auckland And Wellington
2nd - 26th May
Returning again to Wellington and Auckland, the New Zealand International Comedy Festival returns this May, bringing three weeks of non-stop laughs with it. For 26 years the festival has put on a variety of stand-up, sketch, improv, comedic-theatre, clowning and much more hilarious shows across Auckland and Wellington and this year is no different. You can even catch the odd show in other areas of New Zealand during the three weeks. Showing at a handful of different venues there is plenty of opportunities to go along to a show (or shows), whether it’s a date night or you get the whole gang along—there will be plenty of big belly laughs.
Post Malone | Auckland
11th and 12th May
He’s been all over our radios the past few years and Post Malone is finally coming back to our shores to perform at Auckland’s Spark Arena this May. Post Malone shook up the rap scene with his unique style and intense lyrics and continues to grow his following with every new release. The songwriter, rapper, singer and producer is now a multi-platinum star and only just getting started. With hits like I Fall Apart, Better Now and Congratulations, Malone continues to deliver chart-topping songs, collaborating with the likes of Quavo and 21 Savage. His return to New Zealand this May is sure to be an incredible performance, full of all the emotion and passion that Malone is known for delivering.
Auckland Writers Festival | Auckland
13th - 19th May
Calling all journos, poets, writers, performers, readers, and playwrights: the Auckland’s Writers Festival is back for another year with the best international and local acts of the literary world. There's something for everyone, with vibrant discussions, lectures and chances to meet your favourite authors.
Marathons | Napier And Marlborough
May 11th and May 18th
Autumn is the best times of year to lace up the running shoes—the air is getting a little cooler which makes hitting the pavement that little bit easier. We all know how hard it is keeping motivation levels high, so having a goal in mind is guaranteed the best way to actually commit to running. That’s right, it’s time to sign yourself up for a race and luckily the next few months have some of New Zealand’s most beautiful races to make it worthwhile. The Air New Zealand Hawkes Bay Marathon is back on May 18th and definitely a good choice whether you are a newbie or seasoned pro. Whether you are in for the 10km, half marathon or the full monty, Hawkes Bay offers stunning views as you wind through quiet country roads and the region’s best vineyards and orchards. For the South Island runners, the Saint Claire Vineyard Marathon is definitely a must. Set in beautiful Marlborough on May 11th, the race lets you see all of the highlights of the region and offers the best trophy of all to each participant—a bottle of Saint Claire Family Estates Wines. Sign us up.
Bluff Oyster & Food Festival
“Unsophisticated and proud of it” is what this unique event claims to be. It really couldn’t get more southern than this, down the very bottom of New Zealand, the annual Bluff Oyster Festival takes place this May. If you are a shellfish lover and particularly an oyster fan, then this is a dream festival. Dishing up an abundance of the famous Bluff oysters amongst a range of other seafood delicacies (paua patties and curried crayfish to name a few), there is also a range of wild foods and good southern ale to top everything off with. Be sure to take your beanie and wool jerseys and get amongst the iconic Bluff festivities.
Image Credit: Post Malone
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