Famous Summer Festivals in New Zealand with Dates and Locations

Rhythm and Vines28th – 31st DecemberGisborne, North Island
WOMADSecond week of MarchTSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth
La SoiréeEarly February – Late MarchTouring throughout New Zealand
Cup Day at Waihi BeachJanuary 1stWaihi Beach, North Island
Bay Dreams29th – 31st DecemberCardrona Valley, Wanaka, South Island
TSB Festival of LightsMid-December through Late JanuaryPukekura Park, New Plymouth
Marlborough Wine & Food FestivalEarly February (typically a Saturday)Brancott Vineyard, Marlborough wine region, South Island

In the embrace of the summer sun, New Zealand’s stunning landscapes come alive with a tapestry of festivals celebrating music, culinary excellence, cultural diversity, and the spirited outdoor ethos that defines Kiwi culture. From majestic peaks to pristine shores, these summer events offer unmatched chances to immerse yourself in the vibrant spirit of New Zealand. Get ready to dance under the stars, savor delicious local cuisine, and forge lasting connections with fellow festival enthusiasts from around the globe.

Rhythm and Vines


Dates: 28th – 31st December.

Location: Gisborne, North Island, New Zealand.

Kicking off the summer festival season in style, Rhythm and Vines has become a legendary New Year’s Eve celebration. Held on the sun-drenched vineyards of Gisborne, this three-day extravaganza is renowned as the first place in the world to witness the arrival of each new year. As the clock strikes midnight, a kaleidoscope of world-class music, mesmerizing light shows, and infectious energy envelops the grounds.

Top international and local acts take to multiple stages, spanning genres like electronic, rock, indie, and everything in between. Imagine swaying to thumping basslines as the first rays of dawn creep over the horizon, surrounded by a sea of fellow revelers united in a shared moment of bliss. Beyond the music, the festival features mind-bending art installations, vibrant performances, and a pulsating, free-spirited atmosphere that carries through until the final notes.



Dates: Second week of March.

Location: TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

A true celebration of global unity, WOMAD (World of Music, Arts, and Dance) is a summer standout that brings together an eclectic array of artists and performers from every corner of the planet. Held in the coastal city of New Plymouth, this iconic festival has been delighting audiences for over two decades with its unique fusion of music, dance, art, and multicultural experiences.

Wander through the festival grounds, and you’ll be transported across continents, immersed in the rhythms of African drumming, the haunting melodies of Mongolian throat singing, and the mesmerizing movements of Balinese dancers. Culinary delights from around the world beckon, inviting you to tantalize your taste buds with flavors as diverse as the performances themselves. From intimate workshops to awe-inspiring main stage acts, WOMAD is a passport to global artistic expression.

La Soirée

Dates: Early February – Late March.

Location: Touring throughout New Zealand.

For a truly unforgettable summer experience, look no further than La Soirée – a tantalizing fusion of cabaret, circus, and pure unadulterated entertainment. This internationally acclaimed show has dazzled audiences worldwide and finds its home in New Zealand each summer, bringing its unique brand of jaw-dropping talent and boundary-pushing performances to the historic Spiegeltent.

Step inside this sensual world of velvet drapes, crystal chandeliers, and an intimate atmosphere that crackles with anticipation. From death-defying acrobats and mesmerizing contortionists to hilarious comedians and show-stopping vocalists, La Soirée offers a deliciously risqué and utterly captivating evening like no other. Sip on a perfectly crafted cocktail as you surrender to the breathtaking spectacle before you, reveling in the thrill of world-class entertainment.

Cup Day at Waihi Beach

Dates: January 1st.

Location: Waihi Beach, North Island, New Zealand.

For a quintessentially Kiwi summer experience, head to the beloved Waihi Beach on New Year’s Day for the iconic Cup Day celebrations. This lively affair, steeped in tradition, brings together thousands of merrymakers for a day of sun, sand, and spirited revelry that captures the essence of the nation’s laid-back, beach-loving culture.

As the waves lap against the golden shores, locals and visitors alike gather to partake in a series of quirky and entertaining events, from the highly anticipated Shovel Race to the ever-popular Waihi Beach Pickleback Shootout. Soak up the electric atmosphere as live music fills the air and laughter echoes across the beach, creating lifelong memories with every moment. Whether you’re a spectator or a participant, Cup Day promises an unforgettable celebration of all that makes a New Zealand summer truly special.

Bay Dreams

Location: Cardrona Valley, Wanaka, South Island, New Zealand.

For music lovers seeking an epic summer soundtrack, Bay Dreams is the ultimate destination. This two-day festival, held in the picturesque surroundings of Mount Maunganui, has rapidly become a highlight on the nation’s festival circuit, attracting top international acts and a passionate, high-energy crowd.

Imagine dancing under the warm summer sun, surrounded by towering pine trees and the glittering waters of the Pacific Ocean, as a diverse lineup of chart-topping artists takes to the stage. From pulsating electronic beats to hard-hitting rock anthems, Bay Dreams caters to a wide range of musical tastes, ensuring an unforgettable weekend of non-stop entertainment. Beyond the music, the festival offers a vibrant array of food trucks, interactive art installations, and a party atmosphere that refuses to quit until the final act has left the stage.

TSB Festival of Lights

Dates: Mid-December through Late January.

Location: Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

As the summer evenings grow longer, the city of New Plymouth transforms into a mesmerizing wonderland of light and color with the annual TSB Festival of Lights. This award-winning event has become a beloved tradition, drawing visitors from near and far to bask in the enchanting glow of breathtaking light displays and illuminated sculptures.

Stroll through the lush gardens of Pukekura Park, where a kaleidoscope of glimmering displays dances across the landscapes, creating an otherworldly ambiance. Marvel at the intricate designs and vibrant hues that seem to defy the boundaries of imagination, immersing you in a realm of pure magic. Live entertainment, dazzling light shows, and a vibrant food scene complete the experience, making the TSB Festival of Lights a summer highlight that captivates audiences of all ages.

Marlborough Wine & Food Festival

Dates: Early February

Location: Marlborough wine region, South Island, New Zealand

For those seeking to indulge in the finest flavors New Zealand has to offer, the Marlborough Wine & Food Festival is a summer celebration that promises to delight even the most discerning palates. Held in the heart of the world-renowned Marlborough wine region, this annual event is a true feast for the senses.

Spend a glorious summer day sampling exquisite wines from some of the country’s most acclaimed wineries, each sip revealing the unique terroir and artistry of the region’s skilled winemakers. Complement these liquid delights with an array of mouthwatering culinary creations, from fresh local seafood and succulent meats to decadent desserts that showcase the best of Kiwi cuisine. Live music, cooking demonstrations, and a lively, convivial atmosphere create the perfect backdrop for savoring the flavors and reveling in the joys of summer in Marlborough.

These seven festivals are just a glimpse into the vibrant and diverse summer festival scene that New Zealand has to offer. Whether you’re a music aficionado, a foodie, or simply someone seeking unforgettable experiences in breathtaking settings, the Land of the Long White Cloud promises a summer filled with magic, revelry, and memories that will linger long after the last notes have faded.

Others are:

Splore Festival

  • Date: February
  • Location: Tapapakanga Regional Park
  • Highlights: A three-day celebration of sustainability, creativity, and beachside bliss that combines thought-provoking installations, eco-friendly workshops, captivating performances, and interactive experiences to create an immersive and unforgettable event promoting environmental consciousness and artistic expression.


  • Date: around March
  • Location: Wellington Waterfront
  • Highlights: A one-day festival celebrating New Zealand’s musical talent with a diverse lineup of artists and emerging acts across various genres like indie rock and hip-hop, offering attendees a chance to immerse themselves in the nation’s vibrant cultural heritage through live performances and energetic music.

Auckland Arts Festival

  • Date: March
  • Location: Various locations in Auckland
  • Highlights: A three-week celebration of the arts showcasing diverse performances, exhibitions, and installations that challenge perceptions and push boundaries, inviting attendees to explore human expression in various forms and experience the vibrant creative spirit of Auckland through artistic expression.

Hokitika Wildfoods Festival

  • Date: March
  • Location: West Coast
  • Highlights: A culinary adventure challenging visitors to embrace wild and exotic flavors like insect delicacies and foraged treasures unique to the West Coast region, offering a vibrant atmosphere of curiosity and excitement where adventurous eaters come together to push the boundaries of their culinary experiences.

June: Queenstown Winter Festival

  • Dates: June
  • Location: Queenstown
  • Excerpt: Experience a winter wonderland with snow sports, live music, and festive celebrations at the Queenstown Winter Festival in June. From ski competitions to après-ski parties, immerse yourself in the magic of the season and create unforgettable memories in this frosty celebration.

Tauranga Arts Festival

  • Date: October
  • Location: Tauranga
  • Excerpt: The Tauranga Arts Festival in October showcases local talent through diverse artistic expressions. From theatre productions to art exhibitions, delve into a world of creativity and immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural tapestry of the Bay of Plenty region.

Wellington Jazz Festival

  • Date: November
  • Location: Wellington
  • Excerpt: Fill your senses with smooth jazz melodies at the Wellington Jazz Festival in November. Explore a diverse lineup of musicians and experience the magic of jazz in various forms, from intimate club sets to open-air concerts, promising a soulful and rhythmic journey.