New Zealand truly comes alive in the summer. It's standard for Kiwis to take several weeks off around Christmas and New Years, so most of the country is on holiday at the same time. This means that there is no shortage of events and festivals going on throughout the country. If you plan your campervan holiday right, we bet you could hit a different event every day! Here's a rundown of our favourite events happening this summer season on the North and South Islands. We've broken this down by category so you can find events that best suit your tastes.

Food & wine

  • Marlborough Food and Wine Festival: New Zealand's original and longest running wine festival takes place in February at Brancott Estate near Blenheim. The festival features tastings from nearly all of Marlborough's vineyards, as well as great dining, live music and fashion show. 
  • Great Kiwi Beer Festival: This one-day event, which takes place in Hagley Park North in February, is a celebration of the diverse brewing industry found in Christchurch. You'll have the opportunity to sample local brews and food, while enjoying live musical entertainment.
  • Pinot Noir NZ: Set on the Wellington City waterfront, this wine festival is considered one of the greatest pinot noir events in the world. This three-day event, which only occurs once every four years. If you love Pinot Noir, don't miss this event.

Sporting Events

  • Downer NRL Auckland Nines: Each year, all 16 National Rugby League teams travel to Auckland to compete in one massive tournament. 31 exciting games are played over two days, featuring over 288 of New Zealand's best rugby players. For rugby fans, there's nothing more exciting than attending this incredible sporting extravaganza.
  • Balloons Over Waikato: This event is New Zealand's largest and most important hot air balloon festival. Held each year in Hamilton, this five-day event attracts balloonists from throughout New Zealand and the world. The festival is completely free and is one of the few remaining large-scale free events in New Zealand.

Photo of balloons over Waikato

  • Thunder on the Great Lake: If you're into powerful boats, don't miss the first round of the NZ Offshore Powerboat Championship, which takes place in January in Taupo. You'll be amazed at the show these powerful vessels put on during this free event.

Music Festivals

  • Rhythm & Alps: This 2-day music festival takes place on December 30th and 31st, making it the perfect place to ring in the New Year if you're on the South Island. International and local acts perform at this camping festival located in beautiful Cardrona Valley near Queenstown.
  • St Jerome's Laneway Festival: This festival, which also takes place in Australia, features international headliners and local favourites. It takes place right in Auckland's CBD and is an extremely popular event each year. This one-day festival takes place in January.
  • Rhythm & Vines: This is a 3-day camping festival in Gisborne. As the name implies, the event takes place on a vineyard (Waiohika Estate, to be exact) and has grown in popularity every year since its introduction in 2003. Starting on the 29th of December and wrapping up on the 1st, festival-goers enjoy the additional claim to fame of being among the first people in the world to celebrate the New Year.
  • WOMAD: The eclectic World of Music, Arts and Dance festival is the perfect end to an exciting summer. The festival, which takes place in March in New Plymouth, showcases musicians and artists from all over the world.

Contact us to check for event dates.

Tell us about your favourite event! We'd love to hear about any festivals or events you attend this summer. Feel free to share highlights from your favourite events in the comments area below!


Wine Marlborough Festival,  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Balloons Over Waikato by Siyamalan, CC BY-ND 2.0