Auckland has much to offer visitors. With so many interesting and fun things to see and do, you may not know where to go first or what to see next. A great way to experience firsthand what New Zealand is really all about is to attend its festivals. At these events, you’ll be served a generous helping of Auckland’s art, culture, music, shopping, entertainment and food in just a short period of time. Here are seven 2016 New Zealand festivals that have something for everyone and will give you the best of what Auckland has to offer.
Pasifika Festival Auckland
March 12 through March 13, 2016
New Zealand is known for its indigenous peoples, and many of them have kept their customs and practices fresh to this day. If you want to immerse yourself in Pacific Island culture, the Auckland Pasifika Festival is an ideal place to do it. With 11 authentic Pacific Island villages to explore, you will feel transported to another time and place. Each village has a marketplace and a performance stage where you can explore that island’s unique culture and energy. The Samoan Village, for example, is vibrant and alive, whereas the Kiribati Village is serene and peaceful. The Hawaiian Village offers up the best in Auckland barbecue, and the Pan Pacific Village is said to have the best shopping. The Pasifika Festival has been making visitors happy for almost 25 years, and they’re not going to stop anytime soon.
Auckland Arts Festival
March 2 through March 20, 2016
If you love the arts, you can immerse yourself in them during the Auckland Arts Festival. This renowned 19 day event celebrates Auckland’s extensive cultural diversity and vibrant energy with a dizzying array of performance art including music, dance, theater and cabaret. With performances that go from opera to ballet to comedy and the circus, you can count on nonstop entertainment.
New Zealand International Comedy Festival
April 25 through May 14, 2016.
Did you know that laughter is good for the soul? Regardless of what you find funny, you’re sure to find just the right comedic medicine at the Comedy Festival. This three-week event offers up performances from local comedians, up-and-coming comics and international comedy headliners. Bring your sense of humor and get ready for a big belly laugh.
New Zealand International Film Festival
April and May, 2016
If you’re a lover of film, the NZIFF could be your dream come true. Shorts, animated productions, comedies, drama and so much more will be up for viewing over an eight week period. Enjoy the excitement of a world premiere, or hunker down with an information-rich documentary. With access to almost 200 screenings at four main locations, this international film event is a movie lover’s paradise.
All of August, 2016
Calling all food lovers! August Restaurant Month in the heart of Auckland City is a month-long celebration of tasty treats and fine wines. Over 100 of Auckland’s best restaurants will be serving up their diverse and unique specialties against a backdrop of culinary events. You can sample everything from your favorite cheap eats to multi-course meals from five star restaurants and world class chefs. The meals mix locally grown ingredients, fresh produce and cultural influences into entrees with an unforgettable international flair. With cooking demonstrations by gourmet chefs, street food from Street Eats, French wine tastings, table side musicians and more, you can have your cake and eat it too.
Auckland Diwali Festival
October: Dates to be announced
Also known as Festival of Lights, the two-day Auckland Diwali Festival takes place every October and is a celebration of Indian culture. It’s a family-friendly event featuring music, theater, puppet shows, crafts and live dancing. There are story-telling workshops for the kids along with games and carnival rides. Fresh vegetarian Indian cuisine is prepared on the spot and sold by street food vendors, and as the event winds down, you can kick back and enjoy a fireworks display.
Taste of Auckland
November: Date to be announced
At Taste of Auckland, you can sample some of New Zealand’s most delicious gourmet delights prepared by Auckland’s most accomplished chefs. If you want to sharpen your cooking skills, superstar chefs will be demonstrating their culinary expertise and sharing their secrets. In between sampling the fares of some of the best restaurants in Auckland, you can sip fine wine and take in some live music.
Seasoned travelers have found that festivals are a great way to discover and experience the unique energy of a city, even when there is limited time. When you attend a festival, you can completely immerse yourself in a city’s culture and enjoy all of its singular pleasures, delights and offerings. This is true even for those on a limited budget. Speaking of which, Auckland offers a great range of accommodations options regardless of your budget. Everything from cheap and cheerful backpackers to stunning five star hotels and self catering apartments. I always recommend checking out the options on AccorHotels.com first as they have 10 or so hotels in Auckland in all price brackets so are a great place to start.