New Year festival New Zealand
New Year festival New Zealand

6 Best Summer Festivals in New Zealand

© pexels

Which Summer Festivals to Check Out in New Zealand

Wild music, wild food, wild balloons: New Zealand knows how to throw some awesome summer festivals.

Although New Zealand produces its own popular music artists, the country draws some big international names to their summer music festivals too. However, what this top list will show is that there is a lot more to a New Zealand festival than just ‘mega tunes’. If anything, we host some insanely creative festivals that showcase the Kiwi culture, such as a festival dedicated to hot-air balloons, unusual foods and Pacific Islands’ cultures.

Looking for more things to do this summer? Check out our New Zealand Calendar: What’s Going On?

1. Laneway Festival

St Jerome’s Laneway Festival is Auckland‘s waterfront festival. Expecta dominance of international and homegrown indie bands. This festival started out as a festival down some laneway in Melbourne, Australia. Now the festival pops up in eight different cities.

When? Late January/early February

Annette Geneva on Wikipedia© Annette Geneva on Wikipedia

2. Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

The Hokitika Wildfoods Festival not being in summer is just a technicality that can be overlooked. The South Island West Coast event is a gathering of weird foods such as boiled possum, chocolate beetles, seagull eggs, snails, whitebait patties and “mountain oysters”. Just so you know, the latter is sheep’s balls…

When? March

Eli Duke on Flickr© Eli Duke on Flickr

3. Soundsplash

If you’re travelling with youngsters, then check out this family-friendly music festival in Raglan. Where better to have a summer festival than Raglan – New Zealand’s most popular surf spot! Then small North Island town is especially buzzing in January with the Soundsplash festival with heaps of acts performing across three stages over three days. The festival is located at the Wainui Reserve right on the coast!

When? January

Wiremu Stadtwald Demchick on Wikipedia© Wiremu Stadtwald Demchick on Wikipedia

4. Rhythm and Vines

Gisborne is the first city in the world to see the New Year in, as it is on New Zealand’s East Cape. The three-day summer festival celebrates with big international headliners.

When? New Year’s Eve

AFlickion from New Zealand on Wikipedia© AFlickion from New Zealand on Wikipedia

5. Rhythm and Alps

The name doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as ‘Rhythm and Vines’ but it is an awesome alternative to celebrate the New Year with a festival. Based in the Cardrona Valley, South Island, we couldn’t think of a more scenic festival location. As Rhythm and Vine’s sister festival, expect an almost identical lineup. For more festivals to consider for New Year’s Eve, check out 10 NYE Events in New Zealand You Can’t Miss!

When? New Year’s Eve

Pexels© pexels

6. Dimension

Experience summer at the Dimension festival in the beautiful Northland region! Escape to this four-day electronic music festival featuring more than 80 international and local acts. There are three zones of non-stop music, including Psytrance, DnB and Chill, as well as an exotic market area to taste some tantalising cuisine. In between partying, there are plenty of ways to chill in the stunning festival setting from hanging out under the shade of the trees or even go for a swim in the river!

When? Early February

Dimension - Phat Productions© Dimension - Phat Productions


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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