Cruising Calendar: 10 events not to miss in New Zealand

New Zealand Golf Open

March 9-12

A unique event in the Asia-Pacific region, the tournament’s pro-am format brings together a blend of professional and amateur golfers on two of Queenstown’s most prestigious courses. This year 140 professionals and 140 amateurs will be paired together to play a best-ball format for the New Zealand Pro-Am Championship, while professionals will also compete for the ISPS Handa New Zealand Open title. The competition, played at The Hills and Millbrook Resort courses, promises world-class golf against the stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps.

Picture courtesy of / Rob Jefferies

World Masters Games

April 21-30

Join more than 25,000 participants from 100 countries in the world’s largest sporting event. The 10 day festival in Auckland, which features more athletes than the Olympic Games, offers a choice of 28 sports and 45 disciplines, ranging from athletics to surf lifesaving. All levels of competitor will get involved, although a minimum age of 30 applies for most disciplines. The ninth edition of the World Masters Games will also offer a vibrant social programme, with an entertainment hub in Auckland’s Queens Wharf and an official closing ceremony.

Picture courtesy of Corbis / Robert Michael

Bluff Oyster and Food Festival

May 20

The southern tip of the South Island produces one of the country's most prestigious delicacies — Bluff oysters. Grown in the cold waters of the Foveaux Strait, the famously succulent oysters are celebrated annually with a festival in the rustic seaside town of Bluff. The event has now expanded and stalls line the streets selling other local delicacies, including scallops and blue cod, as well as a selection of New Zealand wines. Other activities include oyster opening and oyster eating competitions plus plenty of live entertainment and street performances.

Picture courtesy of /  v2e

Food & Wine Classic

June 2-25 and November 4-13

Set in stunning locations throughout Hawke’s Bay, this biannual festival highlights the best of New Zealand’s culinary talent and produce through more than 80 events across four weekends. There is something to suit everyone’s taste buds, with events ranging from an authentic Texan barbeque matched with bold red wines and live blues music, to the Super Secret Chardonnay Symposium – blind taste and rank 10 Chardonnays, from $15 to $300, and more.

Picture courtesy of John Miles

British & Irish Lions Tour

June 3 — July 8

The pinnacle of any rugby fan’s calendar, the Lions tour pits the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales against the reigning world champions New Zealand. The last Lions tour of New Zealand, in 2005, ended in humiliation for the visitors with a whitewash: three defeats by the All Blacks. The 10 match tour will see the Lions take on all five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises, a Provincial Union XV and the Māori All Blacks. The first and final of three Test matches will take place at Eden Park, Auckland – scene of New Zealand’s 2011 World Cup victory – with the second in Wellington.

Picture courtesy of / Phil Walter

World of Wearable Art

September 21 — October 8

Described as a “glorious rebellion against the mundane”, theatre, fashion and art collide in one of Wellington's wackiest extravaganzas. The two-hour performance show is the culmination of the World of Wearable Art competition, where designers compete for a prize of more than $165,000. Artists and designers are freed from traditional constraints, so expect the unexpected – with outfits ranging from moving models of Notre-Dame to octopus-inspired dresses. This year there will be 15 shows. Opt for the VIP package to enjoy a stage-side meal with dishes such as sugar-cured, farm-raised venison and hapuka fillet with rainbow chard.

Picture courtesy of World of Wearable Art

Asia-Pacific Amateur Golf Championship

October 26-29

The largest golf tournament ever to be held in New Zealand will see the Royal Wellington Golf Club host players from 39 Asia-Pacific nations as they battle it out for the chance to play in the Masters in 2018. No Kiwi has ever won the championship but hopes are high that a home advantage will result in a New Zealander heading to Augusta. The golf course recently completed an extensive $7 million renovation and organisers are expecting huge support for the country’s six home players, with spectators able to watch for free.

Picture courtesy of / Chris Hyde

Auckland Stopover, Volvo Ocean Race

The dramatic round-the-world yacht race will once again sail into Auckland later this year. Nicknamed the City of Sails, Auckland first featured in the second race, in 1977-78, and has missed only two editions since. The 2017-18 race is the longest ever at 45,000nm and the route sees the fleet spend extensive periods of time in the storm-filled Southern Ocean. The intrepid sailors will race to Auckland from Hong Kong before departing for the infamous Cape Horn. The 15-day stopover is expected to attract the city’s sailing fraternity as well as international visitors to Auckland’s Queens Wharf.

Picture courtesy of / Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race

New Zealand Millenium Cup

January 23-26, 2018

Highlighting the finest of New Zealand’s cruising grounds, the world’s most southerly superyacht regatta features fearsome racing combined with a relaxed, sociable atmosphere. Raced in the semi-tropical maritime climate of the Bay of Islands, competitors race a selection of challenging courses weaving through the island chain dotted around the bay, accompanied by leaping dolphins and hammerhead sharks. For spectators, sheltered anchorages make it easy to catch all the action. This year’s entries included 43 metre Cavallo, 32 metre Farfalla and 40-metre Janice of Wyoming and next year’s line-up should be equally eye-catching.

Picture courtesy of Jeff Brown

Land Rover NZ Polo Open

February 19, 2018

A highlight of Auckland’s summer social season, New Zealand’s premier tournament attracts an array of celebrity guests and polo aficionados. Nestled among the gum trees, Auckland Polo Club’s famous Fisher Field hosts a day of fast- paced play featuring international star players. There is also a competitive element for spectators, with guests dressed to catch the eyes of the celebrity judges of the Fashion on the Field contest during the traditional stomping of the divots.Book your own marquee for a prime view, with Champagne and quality food served by your private steward throughout the day, before celebrating with the players at the official after-party.

Picture courtesy of / Pete Titmuss

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