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Top Tickets for an Easter Road-trip in New Zealand

on the road to vanishing point mt. cook in new zealand

Aside from Christmas, Easter is the next biggest holiday on the New Zealand calendar. There are quite strict trading hour restrictions during the Easter Holidays. Expect all main shopping centres to be closed on Good Friday. Changes to the laws this year have put opening hours' decisions for Easter Sunday in the hands of local councils, so there may be more places open in tourist towns such as Queenstown and Rotorua. 

There's heaps to do around the country over the long weekend

While it would be best to assume most shops won't be open, and stock up accordingly, restaurants are more likely to be open, but many will have a surcharge on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The good news is, there are many fantastic events held throughout the country, so you won't be stuck for things to do. Here's a round-up of the best:

Showtime in Auckland

Amusement Park in NZ

Auckland Royal Easter Show: A long-time favourite for visitors and locals in Auckland alike. The show runs from Thursday the 13th to Monday 17th of April. The show includes all the amusement rides you would expect, but also incorporates an A&P (agricultural and pastoral) show, that has been part of the event for more than 160 years. See the best of cattle, sheep, alpacas and equestrian events as part of the show. There's also a circus, an entertainment stage with live music, and a fireworks display each night at 9.30 pm.

If music's more your groove, hop on a ferry to Waiheke Island. Waiheke is a top spot to visit at anytime. It has recently been voted the Number 5 Global Destination to visit in 2016 by Lonely Planet, and the Number 4 best island in the world by Conde Nast Traveller. Over Easter, it is home to a jazz festival, with artists from around New Zealand, and some from overseas. You can buy a 'Jazzabout' pass, which will let you see different world-class acts per day, at a choice of two venues just 200 metres apart in the village of Oneroa, right by the ferry terminal. There are evening concerts to take in as well. This year's featured artists include Dave Dobbyn, Little Bushman, Hopetoun Brown, Miles Calder & the Rumours, The Cactus Channel, Peter Wood Trio, Miho Wada, Katy Soljak Band, P.J. Koopman Trio, The Wellington City Shake-em-on-Downers, Allana Goldsmith, Stefan Nagler Trio, Nichaud Fitzgibbon, Nairobi Trio, George Washingmachine, Harry Lyon and Sal Valentine & the Babyshakes.

Warbirds over Wanaka

Down south, a major event is Warbird's Over Wanaka. Make an early reservation for the world's most unique 2018 airshow. This magnificent display of historic aircraft, and modern fighter jets takes place over three days from the 30th to 31st of March to 1st of April the scenic spot of Wanaka. There's classic aircraft flying in formation, a display of amphibious aircraft right on Lake Wanaka, and plenty of wonderful Central Otago wine and food to accompany the festivities. Autumn is one of the best times of the year to be in the region, the colours are stunning. You may even opt to stay until the 2nd of April for Rides Day  (no entry fees) to witness what's it like to ride in a warbird, helicopter and other aircraft. 

More music on the Kapiti Coast

children hunting for Easter eggs

If you are near Wellington region in Wairarapa, bring the whole family for a magical evening and spend Friday 14th of April at the Trust House Night. Music and entertainment, as well as night markets and aviation displays are sure to entertain you and your family. It's being held at Solway Showgrounds in Judds Road, Masterton.

Hunt for Easter Eggs

It's not Easter without an Easter egg hunt, and there are plenty of wonderful organised events throughout the country. The most adventurous involves a ferry ride from Lyttleton (the port of Christchurch) to the recreational reserve of Quail Island. As well as finding eggs, visitors are also likely to see shipwrecks, native birds, volcanic cliffs and caves. Note that tickets are very limited, so make your reservation early.

Share life on the road with the gypsies

If you are dreaming of travelling the road not just for a holiday, but full time, you can take inspiration from the Gypsy Extravaganza. This band of sustainable-living traders  and craftspeople will be set up with live entertainment, and unique stalls at Napier's Anderson Park in Kennedy Road, Napier from the 14th to 17th of April.

Did we miss other wonderful and fun Easter celebrations? Let us know in the comments below!