New Zealand is famed for its scenery and food and wine offerings, but the country is also brimming with events and diverse itineraries. From mud and snow, to the arts and beer, below are the 17 experiences to watch for in 2017.
The Lions Tour
Even though there’s no Rugby World Cup in 2017, The British & Irish Lions Series visit to New Zealand in June and July is expected to garner large attention. The Lions will play 10 matches with fixtures in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
The 9th World Masters Games
Featuring more athletes than the Olympics and reputed to be the world’s largest multi-sport event, World Masters Games are coming to Auckland in 2017 (April 21-30). With minimum ages for each discipline ranging from 27 to 35 years, the sports include archery, athletics, badminton, canoeing, cycling, surf life saving and weightlifting.
Audi Quattro Winter Games
The Audi Quattro Winter Games is set to take place from August 25 to September 10. Attracting competitors from the Winter Olympics, Paralympics and X Games, the Winter Games are considered one of the top five winter sports events in the world.
Rotorua Mud Festival
Rotorua is best known for its Māori culture and history, lakes and geysers. The city’s popular Mud Festival will be held in December 2017. The festival is an international partnership with South Korea’s Boryeong City which attracts more than three million people.
True Food & Yoga
The new True Food and Yoga studio is the latest arrival in Auckland’s wellness scene, set in a heritage-listed building looking across the Waitemata Harbour.
Disney’s Pete’s Dragon movie locations
Disney’s Pete’s Dragon is a family adventure film that showcases New Zealand locations like Queenstown, Wellington, Rotorua and Southland.
Vector Wero Whitewater Park
Vector Wero Whitewater Park is New Zealand’s first purpose-built whitewater playground, a US$ 37-million attraction in South Auckland’s Manukau City. With a Grade 3-4 river, as well as a tamer Grade 2 river, activities are accessible to people of all ages and abilities.
Alps 2 Ocean
New Zealand’s new Alps 2 Ocean Cycleway is a 301-km multi-day cycle trail set in a landscape that travels from the mountains of Southern Alps, past alpine lakes and down a river valley all the way to the sea.
The Marlborough Lodge
The Marlborough Lodge is a country estate on 16 acres of secluded parklands, located in the heart of the Marlborough wine region. The lodge features 10 suites, an in-house bar and a private dining room serving fresh local cuisine.
Heading to Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds in February 2017, Meatstock is a festival of meat and music. Featuring a menu of smoked, grilled and barbequed meats, cold beers and loud music, Meatstock is a spinoff of the Sydney-based venture.
Paepae in the Park
With the release of the documentary Poi E in 2016, the small Taranaki town of Patea in the North Island found itself back in the spotlight. Patea was made famous in 1984 due to the international success of the song “Poi E”. Nestled in the shadow of Mt Taranaki, Patea comes alive every year on the weekend closest to Waitangi Day (February 6) with Paepae in the Park, a festival of music and food.
30th anniversary of NZ Cycle Classic
Wairarapa is home to an annual international cycling event, The New Zealand Cycle Classic and in January of 2017, the race will be celebrating 30 years.
Dunedin Street Art Trail
Famous for its Scottish heritage, student culture and climate at the head of the Otago Harbour, Dunedin is also home to New Zealand’s first public art gallery and art society. The Dunedin Street Art Trail is a 90-minute walk that meanders from the harbour to Queens Gardens. Art lovers can either download the map or collect a printed edition from venues around the city.
Rugby League World Cup
New Zealand will welcome a horde of Rugby League fans in 2017, with seven major matches in the Rugby League World Cup 2017 being hosted in four different cities across the country.
Beer is big business in New Zealand, with crafted boutique beers springing up all over the country. Wellington hosts the 16th Beervana, New Zealand’s most popular beer festival. With brewers descending on the capital from Northland to Southland, visitors can discover creative beer made with ingredients including lemongrass and lychees.
Seafood – or kai moana as it’s known in the Māori language – is one of the most important part of New Zealand’s culinary culture. The Bluff Oyster and Food Festival held in the South Island town of Bluff is set for May 2017. Whitianga’s Scallop Festival is held each September and attracts renowned chefs and musicians to the North Island township. Known as the Green Shell Mussel Capital of the World, Havelock’s Mussel and Seafood Festival is held in March.
The Auckland Arts Festival
Between March 8-26, New Zealand’s largest city will offer a range of performances at The Auckland Arts Festival. From dance to poetry and visual arts to circus, the festival is one of the biggest arts festivals in the southern hemisphere, drawing performers and audiences from around the world.