Celebrating the new year in New Zealand is a particularly unique experience! As a result of New Zealand’s easterly position on the globe and its proximity to the International Date Line, New Zealand is technically one of the first places in the whole world to witness the dawn of a new year. New Zealand’s famously summertime Christmas traditions have also given way to particularly summer-y New Year traditions as well!
Kiwis generally love spending New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day typically in 3 varying fashions. New Year’s is generally spent either living it up in the country’s urban centres like Wellington or Auckland, or tramping and camping in the Kiwi bushland, or at a music festival that is the perfect venue to enjoy the gorgeous weather.
New Year’s in New Zealand’s Cities
New Year’s in New Zealand is known for its extravagant manner of ringing in the new year and nowhere is this more especially evident than in cities like Auckland and Wellington.
Fireworks displays are common in Kiwi cities and they usually accompany a countdown to the new year, which is generally followed by a trip to the bar or a restaurant with a cohort of your friends and family.
Auckland is famous for being New Zealand’s most populated city and it is especially well known for its elaborate fireworks display that fires off from the SkyTower building. The best views to catch the amazing fireworks display from the SkyTower building can be seen from across the river from Devonport or even from Mount Eden. New Years Eve Pub Crawls are also really popular activities to indulge yourself in Auckland.
Wellington is notable for being the first capital city in the world to witness the dawn of a new year and the annual new years eve festival that takes place at the Frank Kitts Park Lagoon at 8PM and once again at midnight. The city is also notable for showing iconic Kiwiana movies while being scored by the Wellington Orchestra.
Hagley Park at Christchurch is another famous park in New Zealand that is notable for its lively new year's celebration and features live music and fireworks amongst other things.
- Gisborne is also notable for being the first city or urbanized area to see the sunrise over a new year and is celebrated by enjoying the drinks on a seaside pub or restaurants.
- Queenstown is also notorious for the lively party atmosphere that permeates the resort town during the time around a new year. The firework displays and other festive displays during New Year’s Eve on Queenstown is rife with live music, fantastic eateries, and great watering holes make Queenstown among the most enjoyable destinations to spend the new year at.
- Bay of Islands Firework displays to celebrate the dawn of a New Year in New Zealand can be found across the country and the displays at Paihia, which can be seen from many Bay of Islands locations such as Russell and Waitangi, are amongst the best in the country. Napier and Dunedin are also two other popular destinations that are known for their lively New Year parties and firework displays.
New Year’s in New Zealand’s Wilderness
If celebrating New Year’s Eve amongst throngs of strangers at pubs and bars in crowded cities like Wellington and Auckland doesn’t sound like the best idea to you, enjoy the stunning wilderness of the New Zealand bush.
Tramping and hiking through the Kiwi bush is a tried and tested favourite pastime amongst locals and celebrating the New Year in New Zealand by experiencing the bush is one of the ideal ways to ring in the new year.
Renting campervans and heading to the beach with a group of friends along the Waitomo area is a surefire way to catch a glimpse of one of New Zealand’s most famous sights; the Waitomo glowworms.
- Stargazing around Mount Aoraki National Park to lay under the twinkling stars of the International Dark Sky Reserve at the Mackenzie Basin is another popular activity that locals are fond of and with good reason.
- Stunning beaches, beautiful waterfalls, and national parks that contain some of the most scenic landscapes in the world make for some of the best destinations to enjoy the new year in New Zealand with your friends and family.
New Year’s in New Zealand with Music Festivals
Much like elsewhere in the world, summertime heralds the advent of the much-awaited music festival season, and it is no different than it is in New Zealand. This is one of the few places in the world where the summertime coincides with New Year’s Eve and makes it ideal for music lovers that want to ring in the new year.
- Rhythm and Vines Festival
The Rhythm and Vines Festival is one of the most popular music festivals in the country and is held on New Zealand’s North Island in Gisborne. Beginning on Tuesday at 6:30 AM on the 29th of December 2020, and continuing on until Thursday the 31st of December, Rhythm and Vines is one of the most popular music festivals on the Kiwi calendar and attracts talent from all over the country and the globe over.
- Rhythm and Alps Festival
The festival’s more austere and sophisticated sister version, Rhythm and Alps is a music festival that features acts from across the world and is held on the same dates but near Wanaka, on New Zealand’s South Island.
- Aum Festival
The Aum festival is a more diverse festival that features multimedia forms of art and includes art and music workshops that visitors that are interested in can take part in. It is located less than an hour’s drive away from Auckland and is set amidst the verdant greenery of a beautiful deer park, including a clear lake where festival-goers can go swimming.