New Zealand’s Campervan- And Caravan-Friendly Festival Circuit
Posted on May 15, 2016
As well as New Zealand’s wonderful off-the-beaten track locations and great landscape, there’s more than a few great festivals which make having a campervan or caravan a great idea.
From Northland to Bluff, you can travel the length and breadth of the country listening to great music, tasting great food and finding out what makes Kiwis tick.
And it doesn’t matter that the warm weather’s nearly over, there are plenty of festivals around the country to get you out on the open road throughout the year.
So if you’ve already got a motorhome or caravan, or if you’re thinking about importing one, here’s our guide to the rest of the year’s fun and festivals.
The Tora Tora Tora music festival promises to bring the best up and coming Wellington musos and a few old hands as well to the beautiful Wairarapa coast on the Easter weekend of March 25-27. And, what’s more they actively encourage everything from wigwams to campervans – even a “stationwagon with curtains”!
Queenstown’s Bike Festival features more than 25 events from fun rides to serious competitive races and films and entertainment to a photographic competition. It runs from March 25 to April 3 – and autumn is a great time to see a beautiful part of the country, blessed with plenty of places for campers and caravans.
Arrowtown’s Autumn Festival takes place over the Anzac long weekend of April 21-26 and features entertainment, shows, music and walks – and of course a chance to see the beautiful autumn leaves. And all in a part of the world which features some of the best campervan and caravanning locations.
Bluff’s Oyster and Food festival prides itself in being “unsophisticated and proud of it”! But on May 21, it’s the place to be if you’re into the county’s meatiest and sweetest oysters – and it’s also a great opportunity to take the campervan or caravan down to our southernmost mainland town.
By the time June rolls around, you might think it’s a little too cold for camping out but Nelson’s renowned for its sunshine – even at Queen’s Birthday Weekend (June 3-6), when the city plays host to the Ceol Aneas Irish Music festival which includes music, workshops and the chance to see musicians from here and overseas.
Ohakune Mardi Gras at Mt Ruapehu mixes dance music and street entertainment for a pretty major blow-out at the start of winter – they’re yet to choose a date for this year’s event but they are already advertising how to get there via campervan so we’re pretty certain there will be plenty of spots to camp out next to the mountain.
If you feel like heading east to find some midwinter sun then Napier hosts its mini art deco festival Winter Deco Weekend from July 15-17, or if you think that north is more likely a warmer bet at this time of year then you can always take the ferry over from Opua for Russell’s hilarious Birdman Festival from July 14-17 in th4e beautiful Bay of Islands.
August is all about Wellington with it’s Visa Wellington on a Plate food festival (August 14-30), the Lux light festival (dates tbd), the Chocolate Festival at Te Papa (August 13-14) and the mighty Beervana (August 12-13). And with options to hook up a campervan in the city centre or at parks nearby in Lower and Upper Hutt and Porirua, there’s no need to splash out on an expensive hotel room in the capital.
With spring in the air, towns and cities around New Zealand host a number of flower and blossom festivals including Carterton Daffodil Festival, Nelson’s Cherry Blossom Festival, Hamilton Tulip Festival and Hastings Blossom Festival. Or you can de-winterise your campervan with a tip to the Coromandel for Whitianga’s Scallop Festival on September 10.
The 2016 Hokianga Country Music Festival features more than 24 bands and 5 venues between September 23 and 25. Parking for campervans and caravans is available at Kokohuia Marae for a donation.
One of the attractions of campervans and caravans is being able to enjoy the wide open skies and beautiful starry nights. New Zealand is home to the southern hemisphere’s first International Dark Sky Reserve in the Mackenzie Basin and at Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park and this year’s Starlight Festival (October 9-11, centred around Twizel) will feature workshops, solar telescopes, planetarium shows, stargazing, music and photographic shows.
Hororata’s Highland Games on November 5 always makes the national media with its combination of competition (tossing cabers and tugs of war) and entertainment (pipe bands, dancing, displays and stalls) in the beautiful Malvern District near Darfield and less than an hour from Christchurch.
The 25th Toast Martinborough takes place this year on November 20 and will once again feature the best food, wine and music from the Wairarapa. And there’s plenty of shuttle buses to get you around the vineyards so there’s no need for your own wheels once you’ve parked up!
By the time Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolls around there are dozens of festivals around the country where you can take your campervan for a family holiday, long weekend or dance-til-you-drop night out. Gisborne’s Rhythm & Vines and Wanaka’s Rhythm & Alps both have good facilities for campervans, or, for a quieter option, roll over to New Plymouth for their annual Festival of Lights which runs throughout the month.
If you fancy seeing New Zealand’s festival circuit from your own campervan or caravan, McCullough can not only help you ship one from overseas but also help you source an ideal make and model for your requirements. And it goes without saying that we’ll also make sure that it’s in an ideal state to pass all its MAF and Customs checks for use on the open road. For more information call us on +64 9 303 0075, contact us via the website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.