Unbelievably, it’s been four months since Queen’s Birthday weekend. Time has flown by - winter has come and gone and we’re only ten weeks out from Christmas. In communities all around New Zealand, Labour Day marks the start of warmer temperatures and long sunny evenings. Check out our top picks for Labour weekend fun in our main centres.
Northland: The subtropical north is never short of things to do as we head into summer. In Mangawhai, Te Whai Bay Wines is celebrating five years of producing outstanding wine. The boutique winery, which produces Chardonnay, Merlot, and Chambourcin Bourdeaux style reds, is hosting live music and wine tasting on Sunday.
Auckland: On Saturday, Rainbows End is keeping the rides running until 11pm with a spooky theme. Try not to stay out too late, however, as the crew of the Dolphin Explorer are hosting a tour of their marine biology research vessel at the Viaduct bright and early on Sunday morning. The crew will be sharing the tools they use to monitor the health of marine life in our backyard - for over 16 years, the Dolphin Explorer has been researching seabirds, Dolphins and Whales in the Hauraki Gulf. At some point, make a beeline for the Trusts Arena where over 3000 square meters of lego will be on display as part of the Auckland Brick Show.
Hamilton: Interested in a bike ride in tweed, or even a performance of watching paint dry? The Hamilton Fringe Festival is in full swing this Labour Weekend with a quirky smorgasbord of theatre, visual art and spoken word performances. Or for something laid back, why not head to the Hamilton Gardens on Sunday for outdoor dining on the Rhododendron Lawn? Gourmet in the Gardens is serving up local flavours and music from 4pm.
Wellington: If folk music’s your thing, consider joining the 1,000 people descending on Wainuiomata for the annual Wellington Folk Festival. ‘Wellyfest’ is an inexpensive getaway, with the option to camp in the picturesque Moore’s Valley. Meanwhile, in Lower Hutt, HighLight will transform Riddiford Garden into a cascade of brilliant light installations and interactive performances over four nights. A highlight may be a giant lightbulb suspended in mid air, with an illuminated performer acting inside.
Christchurch: If you’ve been struggling for time, Labour Weekend is a great chance to check out the free Len Lye exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery. Make sure to check out the Spring Fair at Orton Bradley Park; explore the park’s heritage buildings and glimpse life in colonial New Zealand.
Dunedin: Check out the Extravaganza Fair at the Oval. With a travelling circus and magic show, the fair will make for a great family day out. Also consider getting to know historic Dunedin better - a range of tours and open days are on offer as part of the Harbour City Heritage Festival.
Whatever you’re planning for Labour Weekend, make sure to make the most of it. Labour Day is all about celebrating balance in life, commemorating the 8 hour work day becoming New Zealand law in 1899. Enjoy time with friends and family - and if you’re planning on heading out for a morning meal, make sure to check in advance whether your favourite brunch spot will be open.