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Free Travel Newsletter : February 2018

Written by Steph Kendall

Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.

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Chinese, Japanese and Indian culture take centre stage this March in family-friendly festivals full of colour, light and flavour. Both islands celebrate the multicultural nature of New Zealand and everyone is invited to celebrate. Polyfest also showcases the country's diverse culture as young people perform and compete through dance, music and speech.

A calendar date which may feel familiar to most visitors at the end of the month is the Easter weekend of the 30 March - 2 April. We've picked out one of the biggest egg hunts in the country to highlight that egg hunting is one of the ways many New Zealanders will mark the occasion. Perfect for chocolate lovers!

Read more about:


2018 Auckland Lantern Festival

2018 Auckland Lantern Festival

Location: Auckland Domain, Domain Drive, Grafton, Auckland
Date: 1 - 4 March 2018

Enjoy New Zealand's largest Chinese festival celebrating the New Year of the Dog. It starts with Lantern Appreciation Night, with no stalls, performances or amusements and smaller crowds. From Friday onwards, enjoy hundreds of handmade lanterns while sampling the best of traditional and contemporary Chinese culture.

Entertainment includes music, dance and theatre performers from New Zealand and China, martial arts displays and workshops, arts and craft stalls, food stalls selling delicious, authentic Chinese cuisine and a fireworks finale. International performers include Lao Qiang, who performs rousing 'old tune' folk music, acrobats, throat singers and puppeteers.

There are also amusement rides for kids, karaoke and DJ stages, short films, face-painting, dough and sugar artists, calligraphers and much more.

More Info


Natsu Matsuri Japanese Summer Festival 2018

Natsu Matsuri Japanese Summer Festival 2018

Location: Queenstown Memorial Centre, 1 Memorial Street, Queenstown
Date: Saturday 3 March 2018, 10.00am - 3.00pm

The Japanese Family Society of Queenstown welcomes guests to its annual summer festival which showcases Japanese culture. You can join in with the fun of Japanese fancy dress 'Cosplay', sample Japanese food and traditional sake, watch kendo and karate demonstrations, take part in games, raffles and more. A family friendly event with entry fee of a gold coin.


Christchurch Lantern Festival

It! Bay of Islands Food and Wine Festival

Location: Cathedral Square, Cathedral Square, Christchurch
Date: 10 - 11 March, 6.00pm

A celebration of Chinese culture, celebrating the Lunar New Year in the heart of Christchurch. Bring along your family and friends to experience Chinese culture through 400 vibrantly-coloured lanterns. This free event is for everyone and features music, performance, dance, food and lanterns.

Don't miss one of Christchurch's largest and most popular free events, now in the Avon River Precinct.


ASB Polyfest

ASB Polyfest

Location: Manukau Sports Bowl, Manukau, Auckland
Date: 14 - 17 March

The ASB Polyfest features traditional music, dance, costume and speech and is now recognised as an important showcase of New Zealand's diverse cultures and a celebration of youth performance.

Students will compete on five stages, performing traditional items from the following cultures - Cook Islands, Maori, Niue, Samoan and Tongan. There will also be a Diversity stage featuring performances from a range of cultural groups including Fijian, Tokelau, Chinese, Korean and Indian.

More Info


Christchurch Holi-Festival of Colours

Christchurch Holi-Festival of Colours

Location: North Hagley Park Events Village, Rolleston Ave, Christchurch
Date: Saturday 17 March, 10.00am - 4.00pm

Holi is all about celebrating the people of Christchurch. Cultural-fusion performances will showcase the many different cultures in our community, joining together for one big party. Holi is a day to forget your worries and connect with family and friends. Throw colours and dance to music from various DJs. Enjoy traditional Indian games, cultural performances and festive Holi delicacies.

This traditional Indian holiday originates from folk stories, passed down through generations. Each region in India celebrates in its own way but Holi is widely recognised as a day to forgive, look ahead and celebrate with colours as a community.

Tips for the day:

  • Wear old clothes as the colour may not wash out.
  • Wear comfortable flat shoes that you don't mind getting stained.
  • Bring cash to buy colour and enjoy delicious Holi food.
  • Parking is limited so plan your trip before the day.

*Please do not bring your own colours. Our colours are corn-flour based, non-toxic and cosmetic grade. They are safe for children and adults.

More Info


Ed Sheeran (Dunedin)

Ed Sheeran (Dunedin)

Location: Forsyth Barr Stadium, 130 Anzac Avenue, Dunedin, Otago
Date: 29 March - 1 April

One of the biggest names in the modern music industry is coming to New Zealand. Ed Sheeran, two-time Grammy award winner with a cool 70 million online followers needs no introduction. Sheeran will play Auckland and wrap up the tour with his first ever Dunedin show.

Sheeran will perform completely unaccompanied, joined on stage by just a guitar and effect pedals. The pull of this one-man band is an incredible experience to witness; layers of harmonies, rhythms and guitar parts cast out to a crowd of thousands who sing every lyric straight back to Sheeran. If you've missed him in the past, don't miss this chance to see him.

More Info


Bay of Islands Music Festival

Bay of Islands Music Festival

Location: Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Tau Henare Drive, Waitangi, Paihia, Bay of Islands
Date: Saturday 31 March, 1.00pm

The Bay of Islands Music Festival is serving up an amazing mix of international and New Zealand roots, soul, funk and blues. As well as the musical feast, concert-goers will be able to enjoy local food, wines and craft beers, arts and cultural activities.

More Info


Amazing Maze N Maize Giant Easter Egg Hunt

Amazing Maze N Maize Giant Easter Egg Hunt

Location: Amazing Maze 'n Maize, 833 Kingseat Rd, Karaka, Auckland
Date: 30 March - 2 April, 11.00am - 2.00pm

The Easter bunny has hidden over 30,000 eggs for this 4-day hunt in the maze, and the mission is to find the bunny, find the eggs, and then find your way out of the 6-hectare or 8kms of paths in the maze. Sunday night's egg hunt is a night time Easter egg hunt by torchlight (BYO torch).

Games, water slide and quizzes for all ages. Check out the a-mazing maze 'n' maize website for details.

More Info


Tips for Enjoying Festivals Safely

Tips for Enjoying Festivals Safely

In New Zealand world-class events are held all year round celebrating culture, food and drink, sports and community on a variety of scales. We've pulled together a few tips on how to enjoy our events and festivals safely to ensure that your memories of the day are all happy ones.

  1. Check the event's website for all the important information before you go. Take note of how long it will take you to get there (and likely leaving time) and what parking is available.
  2. Be mindful of where you are carrying your valuables (wallet, money, credit/debit cards, purse and mobile phone). Make sure they are all secure and hard to reach (for others) and ensure that you are not leaving valuables either in view or in an unlocked car.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings and pay attention to where emergency exits are.
  4. If you're going with a group, plan a meeting point should you become separated. Plan times to check in on each other and follow up when someone doesn't show up.
  5. Is it going to be a long day? Make sure you memorise or write down important numbers, so when your phone dies, you can still get in contact with your group if separated.
  6. If you are taking the kids, repeat the 'stranger danger' mantra.
  7. Leave an emergency kit in the car to deal with any issues around travel (water, snacks, first aid kit, torch, spare clothing, etc.)
  8. Stay hydrated throughout the event - it's easy to skip drinking water when alcohol is being served and outdoors events may see temperatures rise.
  9. Make sure you stay sun safe. New Zealand's sunlight can have high UV levels. Follow the local rule, 'Slip Slop Slap and Wrap' (Slip on a shirt with long sleeves, slip into the shade, slop on plenty of broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30, slap on a hat with a wide brim or a cap with flaps and choose close fitting, wrap around style sunglasses.
  10. In the event of a crowd disturbance, stay calm and move away from the commotion as soon as possible. Avoid crowds where overly-intoxicated people gather. If someone's had too much to drink don't be afraid to notify Security.

Tips for Going to Events Safely with Children

  1. Keep a watchful eye on your children.
  2. Dress your group alike or in bright-coloured and/ or unique clothing.
  3. Before leaving the house, take a photo of your child. If you become separated, you will have an up-to-date photo of your child and what he or she is wearing to give to officials.
  4. Pick a meeting place for your group if you become separated.
  5. Remind children to avoid strangers and remind them how to identify police officers or trusted adults (event staff).
  6. Place your phone number in your child's pocket in case you're separated.
  7. Keep your phone charged and on. Program it to vibrate as well as ring.
  8. Make sure everyone stays well-hydrated and carries a full water bottle and pack plenty of snacks to avoid 'hangry' moments.
  9. Include any medications (such as asthma inhalers) in your bag.
  10. Follow the sun safe rules so you come home happy, not sunburnt.

New Zealand Fast Facts

Not into chocolate? Try the sweet spicy buns consumed by New Zealanders for several weeks in the build up to Easter. It's estimated that some 11 million hot cross buns will be cut, toasted and smothered in butter. Time to find out why they're so good. (These buns are typically packed with raisins and currants, although chocolate variations can be found too!)

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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

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Cross Cook Strait and enjoy Kiwi hospitality.

World Nomads Travel Insurance

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for independent travellers.