Easter weekend in New Zealand is the last long weekend break before cooler late autumn and winter weather arrives. It’s a timely opportunity to head out on the road and check out an Easter festival or event that only comes around annually.
In this blog, we take a deep dive into the spectacular light shows, special markets, fun carnivals and exciting easter egg hunts that take place at this time of year.
💡 Travel Tip
If you’re planning a motorhome or campervan hire during autumn, we suggest beginning your travels in Christchurch and ending them in Auckland. By doing so, the temperatures will begin to cool while you’re on the move to warmer climes in the northern parts of the country.
Find out why it's advantageous to travel from Christchurch to Auckland by motorhome.
Including the Easter period in your travels will bring about chances to partake in events and activities specific to this annual holiday. We’ve done some of the research for you — simply pick and choose what takes your fancy.
Warbirds Over Wanaka
Described as New Zealand’s premier airshow, Warbirds Over Wanaka is a truly unique experience. A biannual event since 1988, it involves some seriously jaw-dropping flying that will leave you thrilled.
At Warbirds, you can expect to see:
A range of vintage aircraft taking to the skies and performing daring stunts
Aviation, food and beverage exhibits
Classic cars on display.
The event takes to the skies at Wanaka Airport. Check the Warbirds Over Wanaka website to see which year is their next show.
Church of the Good Shepherd Easter service
For many people, Easter continues to be an important religious holiday. If you’re looking for a church in New Zealand that hosts special Easter services, you won’t need to travel far.
However, some locations are simply more spectacular than others — and Lake Tekapo is one of them. If you’re passing through the Mackenzie Country and stop in Tekapo over Easter, the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd has Good Friday and Easter Sunday services.
Check the Church of the Good Shepherd website and take a look at our six reasons for exploring New Zealand by motorhome in autumn.
The Great NZ Easter Egg Hunt
Each year, Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch hosts an Easter egg hunt for kids. Alongside the obvious treats, there’ll be tram rides, steam train rides, food vendors and a petting zoo.
Find out more at Ferrymead Heritage Park.
A different kind of Easter hunt
A traditional Easter hunt involves chocolate eggs. But down near Alexandra in Central Otago the locals organise a more serious annual event — the Great Easter Bunny Hunt.
Rabbits are an introduced species to New Zealand and considered a pest, particularly on farmland where crops can be wiped out. This unusual Easter hunt helps to pull back the runaway rabbit population.
Mapua Easter Fair
Beginning small in 1982, this well-known fair in the Tasman region now features more than 220 stalls and gets around 10,000 visitors. An enjoyable, family-centred fun day out — it’s one of Mapua’s biggest days of the year.
Plan to stop at the Mapua Easter Fair at the top of the South Island.
Classic Fighters Omaka
There must be something about Easter and airplanes because Warbirds Over Wanaka isn’t the only show in town — step up, Classic Fighters Omaka. Held at the Omaka Aerodrome near Blenheim, this dazzling event has more than 20 years of tradition.
You’ll enjoy seeing WWI and WWII aircraft along with military vehicles and classic cars.
Take a look at what else Classic Fighters Omaka has to offer.
Titahi Bay Easter Fair
With more than 130 stalls and plenty of street food vendors, this annual Easter market is worth the trip north from Wellington. Held at Kura Park in picturesque Titahi Bay, you can also enjoy live musicians as you shop for some Easter goodies.
Get more details on Titahi Bay Easter Fair.
HighLight: Carnival of Lights
Drive to Upper Hutt just outside of Wellington and be part of this wonderland of incredible light installations. Acting as a creative laboratory for many local performers and artists, the backers behind this unique four-day event also give back — to Autism NZ.
An annual event held over Easter weekend, the HighLight: Carnival of Lights is well worth a detour.
Wairarapa Balloon Festival
This five day festival of ballooning takes place across Easter with its Night Glow event a popular highlight with revellers. Use this opportunity to go for a hot air balloon ride if you’ve never been on one before.
You’ll even be able to park up at the dedicated area for campervans and self-contained motorhomes.
Get more info on the Wairarapa Balloon Festival and find out which months are best to explore New Zealand in a campervan.
The Royal Easter Show
Located at the Auckland Showgrounds, the family-friendly Royal Easter Show is a tradition in this part of the country. Don’t miss it if you’re interested in:
BMX demonstrations — incredible two-wheeled talent putting on a show
Carnival rides — have some fun on the teacups or ferris wheel
Petting zoos — get close to ponies, lambs and goats
Strongman competition — amazing displays of strength
Axe throwing — a chance to do something you don’t do everyday.
Find out more about the Royal Easter Show.
Good Planet Easter Egg Hunt
North of Auckland is a berry farm where you can pick your own fresh strawberries. And over Easter weekend, they also facilitate a well-liked Easter egg hunt.
Check Good Planet for details on their annual hunt.
Waipu Easter Carnival
For old and young who like country games and pony rides or tractor rides and face painting, Waipu’s Easter Carnival is the place to be. A major community event, it’s been putting smiles on visitors' faces since 2010.
Learn more about the Waipu Easter Carnival.
Whichever events you choose to be part of over Easter weekend, travelling from Christchurch to Auckland is a logical route to take during autumn.