Just because the long, hot days of summer are behind us for the year, doesn’t mean we’ve also lost festie season! Winter festivals are just as magical and memorable as summer ones, so there's no need to slow down just because it's colder!
That's right, it's time to dive into the wonderful world of New Zealand winter festivals. To help you pick and choose, we’ve whipped up the ultimate guide to the best winter festivals in New Zealand. From the classic snow parties to a mardis gras, jazz and lights, here are all the festivals you need to be at this winter. Let the partying begin!
Ohakune Mardi Gras
Brought to us by Audiology and ZM, Ohakune Mardi Gras is back for 2018 with the best line up in Mardi Gras history! Australia’s drum n’ bass pride and joy, Pendulum, is headlining the mid-winter festival. There will also be performances by Home Brew, Riff Raff, Stevie Stone, Spenda C, Lee Mvtthews, T1R, Written By Wolves to name a few. The street-vibe festival is a must-do on the ol’ New Zealand bucket list.
When: 23rd June
Where: Thames Street, Ohakune
Queenstown Winter Festival
Ever since its debut way back in 1975 the Queenstown Winter Festival has been a hit, bringing in attendees from far and wide. This may just be the biggest celebration of winter you’ve ever seen, with a side of amazing musical acts. Tiki Taane, Maala, Leisure, The Black Seeds, and The Feelers will all be in attendance this year to keep you entertained, as well as events such as rafting, the torchlight precession, comedy nights, snow tubing, the dog derby and fireworks lighting up Lake Wakatipu!
When: 21st-24th June
Where: Multiple locations in Queenstown
Deep Hard N Funky
OUR:HOUSE brings back its annual winter fest’ for 2018, Deep Hard N Funky with more than 30 acts to get you hyped. This year the concert is taking place at Ellerslie Racecourse which means we’ll be treated to a generous six stage experience spread over four floors. If that doesn’t get you excited, the line up sure will—Bear Grillz, Shapeshifter, Paces, ETC! ETC!, Dom Dolla, Matroda and many more will be playing tunes until late.
When: 14th July
Where: Ellerslie Racecourse, Auckland
Wellington Jazz Festival
If you’re after something a little ~cultural~ this winter why not visit the Wellington Jazz Festival, stretching over five glorious days at The Opera House. Have your mind blown with incredible live performances of jazz music from some of the finest local and international acts. With more than 100 acts, including special events such as A Tribute To Amy Winehouse, and a performance from legendary bass virtuoso Christian McBride.
When: 6th-10th June
Where: The Opera House, Wellington
Clicquot In The Snow
New Zealand's infamous winter festival returns this year and promises to be every bit as good—if not better—than previous years. That's right, Clicquot in the Snow is back in the adventure capital of the world (so we like to think), Queenstown. Locals and visitors alike will be treated to an epic four days of Clicquot-inspired activities and experiences. These include the annual Kathryn Wilson Runway Show, action-packed alpine experiences, the long lunch series at Rata restaurant and the return of the Clicquot Colourrama Gala. With epic beats, eats and, champers, this is one festival you don't want to miss!
When: 2 - 5 August
Where: Various destinations in Queenstown
Taupo Winter Festival
Taupo is due to be lit up this winter with the Taupo Winter Festival taking place in July. There will be events and performances for the whole family. The full programme for 2018 is out and it is looking stellar with mid-winter swims, drive-in movies, the NZ Mountain Film Festival, The Royal New Zealand Ballet on tour, a roller disco and a lake art exhibition. Get amongst!
When: 11th-15th July
Where: Multiple locations in Taupo
Le French Village
For one weekend only, Auckland is getting a French Festival! There are three main events to the festival. The first is One Night In France, where you can book a table and enjoy a delicious five-course meal and bubbly. There’s also the French Fan Zone in Shed 10 where the All Black vs France rugby game will be streamed on the big screen. And finally the Le French Village Markets where you can wander amongst 75 authentic French stalls filled with food, wine, and perfumes.
When: 9th -10th June
Where: Shed 10 and The Cloud, Auckland
LUMA Southern Light Project
If raves aren’t your type of thing and you prefer a more mellow night out, explore the LUMA Southern Light Project in the Queenstown Gardens. Enter the magical lit up wonderland of interactive lights and sculptures. For some amazing scenes and mind-blowing creations (not too mention the phenominal food vendors too) add this to your list for a chill night.
When: 1st-4th June
Where: Queenstown Gardens, Queenstown
Nelson Winter Music Festival and Light Nelson
Nelson is the place to be this winter with two great festivals back to back this July. Light Nelson will see Queen’s Garden illuminated with light installations and candlelit waters from the 6th-10th July. Followed by the Nelson Winter Music Festival from the 11th-27th July, featuring Kiwi faves like Dave Dobbyn, Don McGlashen, La Belle Alliance and the Nelson Symphony Orchestra. We say it’s a perfect excuse for a mid-winter getaway!
When: Lights Nelson 6th-10th July, Nelson Winter Music Festival 11th-27th July
Where: Queen’s Garden and Old St Johns, Nelson
Want too keep fit while you're partying? Here's 8 Winter Workout Apps That Will Kick Your Chilly Ass Into Gear
Image credit: Queenstown Winter Festival, Light Nelson, LUMA Southern Light Project, Deep Dark N Funky