The second my plane arrived in Auckland NZ my Kiwi friend picked me up at the airport and we headed straight to Gisborne…a six hour drive! Besides the constant winding roads, prohibiting me from keeping my food down, it was a beautiful drive. There were lush green fields all around, a clear blue sky, and sheep every five minutes.
The reason that we headed straight to Gisborne-even though I had just jumped off an eighteen hour flight- is that we didn’t want to miss a day of the Rhythm and Vines Music Festival. The festival is held every year for three days leading up to New Years day. New Years is a huge holiday in New Zealand and even bigger in Gisborne since it is the very first place in the world to to welcome the rising sun of the new year. It is also the perfect weather for a music festival since January is actually their summer time.
The three days at Rhythm and Vines consisted of camping in between the vines of a massive winery and attending live performances from artists all over the world. Camping wasn’t so bad since the festival had showers to freshen up in. However, the last day of the festival it was I raining and so everyone and everything was covered in mud. Our tent was so filthy that we ended up just leaving it behind. If camping isn’t for you, there are also options for you to stay in a tepee, go glamping and hotel packages. Of course you could always find your own accommodation too.
During the day we often headed out to the city to go out for lunch or restock on food and alcohol. The festival was right on the water so you could also wash away your hangover with a refreshing dip in the sea.
The days were usually filled with hanging out at the campsite goofing around or down by the ocean. The setting is truly beautiful so make sure to spend some sober moments appreciating it.
As the sun sets, of course it’s back to party mode. The year that I went Calvin Harris was the main act and he brought in the New Year with an epic show. As the clock struck midnight, fireworks went off and 30, 000 people shouted “happy new year!” It was so cool thinking that we were among the first people in the world to shout happy new year.
But the party didn’t stop there, DJ’s continued playing for the party animals of New Zealand until 8 a.m. Yes, that’s right, a.m.
This was an awesome way to start the new year and an amazing welcome to New Zealand.