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Where to go in your rental car for Labour Weekend in New Zealand

hipster road trip during NZ labour weekend

Check out the best events around the country - October 22 - 24

Kiwis do it hard for long weekends in the middle of the year, with no relief for Monday-to-Friday workers from Queen's Birthday in June, all the way through to Labour Weekend at the end of October. This year, Labour Weekend will be from Saturday October 22nd to Monday the 24th.

It really does herald the start of the summer, although traditionally the weather can be a bit unsettled. There's some great events on around the country.

  •    Queenstown Jazzfest: This festival in New Zealand's favourite visitor destination is in its 39th year! No matter what genre of jazz is your favourite, you should be able to find something that will get your toes tapping. The festival kicks off on Friday, October 21st, and runs until the 24th. 
  •   Christchurch Festa: This event is billed as a biennial celebration of urban creativity. Through a range of arts, crafts, literature and speaker events, city-makers and citizens have a platform to imagine and experience Christchurch differently. It's a chance to celebrate the culture of creativity, active citizenship and hope that has emerged in Christchurch since the earthquakes. It brings thousands of people into the city over the weekend. This year it has a focus on sustainability through the reuse of waste materials in design.
  •   Armageddon, Auckland: New Zealand's largest entertainment and pop-culture expo. If you are into comics, sci-fi, cosplay or gaming, you need to get amongst the action at the ASB Showgrounds over Labour Weekend. 
  •   Graffiato, Taupo:  Taupo and its great lake are worth a visit at anytime, but if you visit over Labour Weekend, you can check out the Graffiato Street Art Festvial. Dowload a map and explore the town, with the chance to see talented street artists creating new pieces.
  •   Gisborne Wine and Food Festival: It's worth a trip to the eastern corner of the country for this festival, now in its 20th year. It runs over two days, on the Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday there is a programme of winery events, and Sunday is festival day among the vines.

For many kiwis, Labour Weekend is the time that the bach (holiday home) gets opened after the winter, or the caravan, or boat, gets towed to its summer spot. For that reason, there will be significant traffic congestion, especially out of Auckland to the north, or to the Coromandel Peninsula throughout the Friday afternoon, and on Monday the 24th. If you have the luxury of being on holiday, consider doing most of your travel early on Friday, or take one extra day and stay off the road until Tuesday.


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