Family Friendly Local Events Summer Travel Tips

Celebrating New Years in New Zealand!

Written by Rachel Simpson

Whether you’re a local exploring their own backyard, or an overseas traveller experiencing the country for the first time, you’re up for an awesome time this New Years in New Zealand. New Zealand is the first country to see the sun on New Years day, making this celebration incredibly special. There are plenty of celebrations happening around the country for you to join in on, and plenty of places to have your own private celebrations, so you’re bound to have a great time no matter what you prefer. You can choose a huge, vibrant city spectacular, getaway from it all and surround yourself with nature, or enjoy an awesome summer music festival! Here are our top picks to ring in the New Year.

In The City

Auckland

Whether you’re at a private party, or a big public celebration, New Zealand’s most populated city guarantees an exciting night. If you can, try to catch a glimpse of the spectacular Sky Tower Fireworks display. The best views can be found on the water, in Devonport, or up Mt Eden. Not feeling a big night out? There’s a webcam set up so you can watch the display from the comfort of your bed!

Wellington

While Auckland is great for party animals and pub crawls, Wellington offers a refreshing change of pace for everyone. Their NYE Festival in Frank Kitts Park Lagoon is great for some family-friendly fun. This is a great cultural event, with iconic local movies showing from 10pm, and a countdown to the fireworks at midnight accompanied by the Wellington Orchestra.

Christchurch

Another great family friendly event can be found in Christchurch’s Hagley Park. This is a great celebration featuring live music from 9pm and fireworks at midnight, plus a “kids midnight” earlier in the evening. The most interesting part of the evening is the locally famous “Arch Wizard of Canterbury” casting a spell for the New Year.

Gisborne

This North Island city on the East Cape is first city IN THE WORLD to see the sunrise every day, making it a very special place to see in the New Year. You can celebrate with a local music festival, or by taking it easy with some friends having drinks and sharing laughs in a bar or on the beach.

Queenstown

The Party Capital of New Zealand has to be featured on the list of party places for New Years. The famous nightlife in Queenstown amps up even more with lakefront celebrations, live music, and fireworks. It’s worth noting that Queenstown draws in the tourists and gets uncomfortably busy for most New Zealanders at New Years, but the party’s on all year round, so don’t worry about giving this one a miss.

Out in Nature

You can still ring in the New Year in style even if big crowds and cities aren’t your cup of tea. New Zealand is full of natural wonders, so getting out into the wilderness is a great option. Pack up a campervan and head off to the beach with a bunch of friends, because you’re never more than 128km away from the coast in New Zealand.

You can also go stargazing at some of the awesome spots around the country. Try Stonehenge Aotearoa near Wellington, or Queenstown if you’re staying close to cities, or find a spot in the Dark Sky Reserve, such as Tekapo, Twizel, or Aoraki Mt Cook. If you’re hoping for fireworks, there’s always some around. Fireworks in Paihia can be seen from Paihia, Opua, Russell and Waitangi, and there’s even a New Year’s Eve Pirate Party on Urupukapuka Island, Bay of Islands! You’ll also find NYE events with great fireworks in Dunedin, Napier, and Lake Hawea.

Festivals

You can find quite a few NYE festivals in New Zealand, all across the country.

Looking for music? Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne is the biggest celebration, the first to see the sun, and features national and international acts. Rhythm and Alps features similar acts, but is set in the beautiful mountains of the Cardrona Valley. Just north of Auckland, you’ll find Northern Bass, a three day musical New Years celebration.

Rotorua will feature the three day GLO festival as a more family friendly event, with two sets of fireworks, the countries first big brunch the morning after, and the Summer Fiesta night market on the 2nd.

Check out Waiheke Island for the Highlife NYE Festival in a vineyard! This a more sophisticated, adults-only event, with international acts, plenty of great wine, and even burlesque performers!

Check out the map for where to find these celebrations:


No matter where or how you’re celebrating the New Year, it’s a great opportunity to have a getaway in a motorhome or camper van. You’ve got the freedom to pack up and go wherever you want, whenever you want. Rent directly from owners with Mighway, and let the journey unfold.

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