Glaciers in New Zealand
Maori children
Northland, New Zealand
Queen Charlotte Sound
Routeburn Track
Boating in Taupo
Tongariro, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand

New Zealand Rainbow Tourism - Gay and Lesbian Travel

New Zealand is a very popular and boutique destination for gay and lesbian travelers and has a diverse range of holiday options to suit most budgets. There are many pink appeal destinations and activities across the country, from the more populated North Island (Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington) to the quieter South Island (Christchurch, Queenstown).

Over the years, New Zealand's gay and lesbian tourism industry has grown from a network of gay and lesbian owned homestays throughout New Zealand, to an expansive network of accommodation ranging from homestays and farmstays to exclusive luxury lodges and boutique hotels.

Featured Tourism Operators for Gay and Lesbian Travel

Copyright: Rainbow Tourism Accreditation (RTA)

In 1998 New Zealand was the first international gay and lesbian destination to have a nationwide network of gay, lesbian owned and 'Approved Gay Lesbian Friendly' tourism businesses. In October 2004, the 'Approved Gay/Lesbian Friendly' criteria was re-branded as Rainbow Tourism Accreditation (RTA).

Many gay and lesbian events are staged throughout New Zealand with the most popular being the Hero Festival and Big Gay Out in Auckland (February), Gay Ski Week in Queenstown (August/September) and ongoing events in Wellington.

There are about 107,000 gay and lesbian people between 16-64 years living in New Zealand with Auckland having the largest group with about 42,000, followed by Wellington (15,000), Christchurch (8,000), Hamilton (8,000), Dunedin (2,000) and rest of New Zealand (32,000).

New Zealand's gay and lesbian tourism industry has about 80 gay and lesbian owned tourism related businesses ranging from accommodation, transport, bars, venues and events to restaurants and shops across the country.

While there are many accredited gay and lesbian approved or friendly businesses, New Zealand has a diverse range of world class accommodation, attractions, tours and transport options that will make a holiday a truly memorable experience.

Hero Festival

Hero Parade

The Hero Festival is New Zealand's biggest annual gay and lesbian pride celebration. Similar to Sydney's Mardi Gras, the Hero Festival is a two week celebration of dance, theatre, film, cabaret and sport. It culminates in an extravagant street parade and all-night dance party. The party attracts international music acts and DJs and combines contemporary gay, lesbian, Maori and Pacific island cultures, giving it a truly unique 'kiwi' essence and feeling.

The Hero Festival occurs every February.

Same-Sex Marriage

Gay Marriage in New Zealand

Some of the appeal about visiting New Zealand maybe that New Zealand became the 13th and only country in the Asia Pacific region to legalise gay marriage on 17th April 2013 - much to the delight on the many New Zealand supporters. Same-sex civil unions have been legal in New Zealand since 2005 however the lawmakers approved the bill and amended the 1955 marriage act, despite opposition from lobby groups. The bill was passed with a wide majority, with 77 votes in favour and 44 against.

The act is in force from August 2013 and will allow same-sex marriages to begin. Under the Marriage Act, priests are not obliged to officiate at any marriage that would contravene Catholic beliefs and different church faiths have difference opinions on the subject. Should a church not be available, many people also use a celebrant and get married at various locations including beaches, venues and other picturesque spots around new Zealand.

Besides New Zealanders who will get married, many Australians and other international couples are welcome to travel to the country to marry their partner.

Check out this site for holiday ideas including Gay Friendly Accommodation and the Weddings section.

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New Zealand Coach Tours

New Zealand Coach Tours

The largest range of escorted & small group tours

Boutique touring itineraries designed for you

Specialist NZ Tours

Boutique touring itineraries - designed for you

New Zealand self-drive tours

NZ Self-Drive Tours

Explore NZ on a custom self-drive package holiday

Bluebridge Ferry

Bluebridge Ferry

Cross Cook Strait and enjoy Kiwi hospitality.

World Nomads Travel Insurance

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Featured

 
ASB Foreign Exchange

ASB Bank

Check out what your money is worth.

New Zealand Coach Tours

New Zealand Coach Tours

The largest range of escorted & small group tours

Boutique touring itineraries designed for you

Specialist NZ Tours

Boutique touring itineraries - designed for you

New Zealand self-drive tours

NZ Self-Drive Tours

Explore NZ on a custom self-drive package holiday

Bluebridge Ferry

Bluebridge Ferry

Cross Cook Strait and enjoy Kiwi hospitality.

World Nomads Travel Insurance

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for independent travellers.