With the first week of summer under wraps, temperatures sitting in the mid to high 20’s, and school finishing up for the year, we have compiled this list of 10 fantastic things to do in New Zealand over the festive season – shining a light on the amazing events and wonderful activities on offer throughout the country over the summer holidays.
Whether you’re in Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Picton, or Dunedin this summer, we have you covered – just don’t forget the sunscreen!
Dance The Night Away At St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival
Auckland, 29 January 2018
Auckland’s favourite music event, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival returns to Albert Park on Monday 29th January 2018.
The amazing lineup confirmed to date includes:
- Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
- Sylvan Esso
- The War On Drugs
- Loyle Carner
- The Internet
- Aldous Harding
- Father John Misty
- Mac DeMarco
- Billie Ellish
- Connan Moccasin
- And more!
This will be a great day of music in the sun, and the one music festival you can’t miss in 2018 – tickets for Laneways Auckland 2018 are on sale now!
Dress Up For The Ellerslie Boxing Day Races
Auckland, 26 December 2017
One of the most hotly anticipated horse racing days of the year, the Ellerslie Boxing Day Races is a mainstay highlight of many people’s social calendar too. Running for the last 160 years, the Ellerslie Boxing Day Races welcome style, entertainment, and thoroughbred racing to the Ellerslie Racecourse in spectacular fashion.
New to the Boxing Day Races 2017 is ‘The Paddock’, a strictly R-18 infield festival that combines good music (Jupiter Project, Mac Mylo of The Black Club, and Arii Jade are all confirmed), good food (Indochine Kitchen and more), and fun in the sun all within the prestigious Ellerslie Racecourse.
For those who wish to enjoy the Boxing Day Races with their little ones, there’s a great family zone enclosed in its own precinct within the racetrack infield. Your kids will love the free entertainment, including pony rides, bouncy castle, face painters, and petting zoo! Feel free to bring a picnic lunch and make use of the giant onsite BBQ, or choose from a variety of amazing food vendors on the day.
Rotorua, All Summer Long
A quintessential Kiwi invention, the Zorb is the brainchild of the Akers brothers, with ‘Zorbing’ the art of rolling down a hill in a ‘Zorb’ – a giant transparent plastic ball. While this may all sound rather frightening, we can wholly confirm that it is an awesome experience – catering for kids (and big kids) aged 6 and up!
Zorb Rotorua was established by David and Andrew Akers, the originators of the worldwide Zorb phenomenon. Ideal for all seasons, wet or dry, Zorb Rotorua has a variety of tracks – Fast Lanes, The Zig-Zag, and The Drop. We’ll let you in on a little secret; it’s all in the name!
Head to Zorb Rotorua and get rolling – you’re guaranteed to have a ball!
Get A Better View With Volcanic Air
Rotorua, All Summer Long
Want to fly the friendly skies and experience Rotorua’s geothermal activity from above? Volcanic Air are Rotorua’s air safari specialists, and give you the opportunity to see the Sulphur City from a different vantage point.
With your choice of helicopter or floatplane, and world-famous destinations that include Mount Tarawera and the Bay of Plenty’s White Island, the team at Volcanic Air are there to ensure you have the trip of a lifetime as you soar high above the thermal activity below!
For a unique aerial view of Rotorua visit Volcanic Air and see first-hand why people rave about the experience.
Indulge At Wellington Wine & Food + Craft Beer Festival
Wellington, 27 January 2018
Craft beer enthusiasts, wine connoisseurs, and foodies will converge on Wellington’s Waitangi Park for the annual Wine & Food Festival + Craft Beer Festival on Saturday 27th January 2018 – one of the country’s premier culinary events.
The Wine & Food festival is strictly R21 with Panhead, Good George, Two Rivers, Summerhouse, Rapaura Springs, and Harrington Breweries being just a select few of the great breweries and wineries onsite for the day.
Those not keen on drinking need not fear as there will be a great selection of unique mocktails available to order from the legendary cocktail master Ray Letoa – they really have thought of everything!
With live music playing throughout the day, and food vendors including The Arborist, La Boca Loca, Zibibbo, MishMosh, and the House of Dumplings, the Wellington Wine & Food + Craft Beer Festival 2018 is shaping up to be a fantastic event!
Note: There are less than 450 tickets left for this great day of wine, food, and craft beer, so be sure to get in quick!
Take The Cable Car And Relax At Zealandia Ecosanctuary
Wellington, All Summer Long
The world’s first urban ecosanctuary, Zealandia is a nature-lover’s paradise. Home to many different types of native New Zealand bird, including Kaka, Kakariki, Takahe, Kiwi, and Kereru, along with Geckos, Weta, and the prehistoric Tuatara, conservation stands at the very heart of the sanctuary’s existence. Unsurprisingly, Zealandia is an incredibly popular zen-like day retreat for both tourists and locals, and is one of our favourite things to do in Wellington!
Located in Wellington’s foothills, there a variety of ways to reach the Zealandia Ecosanctuary – while you can take the free shuttle or catch a public bus, we highly recommend taking the scenic route, boarding the famed Wellington Cable Car at Lambton Quay and taking in the sights of Wellington Harbour and the capital city. From the drop-off point, it’s either a quick free shuttle or a 25-30 minute walk to the entrance of Zealandia.
Offering day, night, and twilight tours, along with kids’ night walks, Zealandia is the perfect way to experience New Zealand’s lush flora and lively fauna this summer. Visit Zealandia’s informative website for schedules and further details.
Picton, All Summer Long
Arguably one of the most beautiful locations in New Zealand, The Marlborough Sounds are an extensive network of sea-drowned valleys, comprising numerous bays, inlets, and inner seas, with Picton sitting at the head of Queen Charlotte Sound, one of the three sounds in the Marlborough region.
Queen Charlotte Sound is noted for its lush native bush, white sand beaches, and calm blue waters which, combined with Marlborough’s famous sunny weather, allow for serene cruising throughout summer.
Beachcomber Cruises is a family-run company based in Picton. Their team offer a great range of scenic cruises (including a neat Mail Run cruise, which is operated alongside the New Zealand Post Service) – check out the Beachcomber Cruises website for Marlborough cruising tour itineraries and further information.
Make A Splash At The Picton Maritime Annual Festival
Picton, 20 January 2018
Back at the foreshore for its 13th consecutive year, the Picton Maritime Annual Festival is a crowd favourite, created to give locals and tourists a safe family-orientated way to celebrate summer and Picton’s maritime heritage.
Around 6,000 people join in the festivities at Picton’s waterfront, with all funds raised being redistributed back into the community to support local initiatives that support local youth and families.
On the day, Picton’s foreshore will see market stalls go up, with raft and boat races out in the shallows, and entertainers putting on a show – including everyone’s favourite pirate, Captain Festus McBoyle. There will also be a fireworks extravaganza in the evening, wrapping up what is sure to be a magical day for young and old alike. Visit the Picton Maritime Annual Festival 2018 website for details.
Surf The Southern Breaks
Dunedin, All Summer Long
Dunedin is home to numerous beaches and surf breaks – making it a great destination for keen surfers this summer.
From the popular (and sometimes crowded) St. Clair, Brighton, Aramoana Beach and the Mole (also known as Aramoana Spit), the aptly named Murdering Bay, and Warrington Beach, Dunedin has something for surfers of all level – though we would recommend that beginners don’t go out on their own due to the volatile wild and windy nature of the Otago coastline.
For the novices seeking for tips on how to catch a wave, the good sorts at Esplanade Surf School will have you up and on your feet in no time! Esplanade Surf School operates from two locations – The Esplanade on St. Clair Beach, and their new spot on Warrington Beach.
If you’re a proficient surfer, we recommend the Dunedin Magic Seaweed surf report for the lowdown on where to catch the best break.
Tour The Edinburgh Of The South
Dunedin, All Summer Long
With its craggy shore, love of tartan and whiskey, famed Larnach Castle, and quick-witted locals, it should come as no surprise that Dunedin is often called the Edinburgh of the south. Even its name comes from “Dùn Èideann” – the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland’s capital city!
Dunedin is one of our favourite New Zealand cities – rich in history and heritage, the city was founded by the Lay Association of the Free Church of Scotland in 1848. This Highland ancestry shines through to the modern day, and can be seen throughout the city – the local professional rugby team are rather fittingly known as “The Highlanders”.
Whether it’s a wildlife tour to check out the penguins, albatross, seals, and sea lions that live on the Otago coastline, a heritage tour, walking tour, or relaxed sightseeing tour through the city, Enterprise Dunedin has you covered with this great list of tours and free activities in Dunedin.
Book Your Stay With CPG Hotels
Here at CPG Hotels, we take great pride in our commitment to providing guests with an exceptional experience, no matter where they stay. As such, we would be happy to give you further information about these events and activities in person.
We conveniently have hotels in all of the locations mentioned – visit the following links to find out more about our properties and make a booking:
- Hotel Grand Windsor MGallery by Sofitel (Auckland)
- Greenlane Suites (Auckland)
- Lake Rotorua Hotel
- Four Canoes Hotel (Rotorua)
- Wellington Willis Hotel
- Picton Yacht Club Hotel
- Wains Hotel Dunedin
Have a great start to your summer – we look forward to seeing you soon!