Five of the best spring festivals

Get on the garden trail this spring.
Get on the garden trail this spring.

1: Flower power

Taranaki Powerco Garden Spectacular, Nov 1-10

The Taranaki Rhododendron Festival has morphed into the all-embracing Garden Spectacular, showcasing some of our most stunning private and public gardens from park-like country spreads, geometric and intimate inner-city potagers to sub-tropical and rainforest gardens. There are themed events: spring fashion in the garden, high teas and tai chi, talks from well-known gardeners and cooks. New this year are woven willow elephants dotted around the province. Or check out the Fringe Garden Festival, with more than 60 quirky gardens and a special Vintage Trail (tractors and machinery) for the boys-at-heart. Plus the popular Oakura Arts Trail stops at studios for workshops and meet-the-artist talks.

Tickets from official outlets, or festival gardens, from $4 to $12. Ph (06) 759 8412

2: Wheel fun

Contact Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge, Saturday, Nov 30

You don't have to be super-fast and fit for the New Zealand's biggest cycling event, the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. You just have to be mad about two wheels, joining 10,000 riders to circumnavigate the 160km of the lake. There are plenty of options for beginners, relay teams, kids and mountain-bikers or you can watch in awe as the Ultra-Marathon Cycling Association's 320km enduro riders do the ride twice. Ph (07) 378 1546

3: Tauranga Arts Festival

Thursday, Oct 24 to Sunday, November 3

Tauranga Arts Festival features 10 days of fantastic entertainment, including theatre, music, dance and literature from New Zealand and afar. From the breathtaking circus of Knee Deep, the food-meets-theatre of Rewana, Russian ballet, cabaret, art, workshops and more, this proves that some of the most creative creativity comes from the edge. Ph (07) 577 7018

4: Handkerchiefs at dawn

Brits at the Beach, Whangamata, October 4-6

Knot a hanky over your head and enjoy the culture of the old Motherland in this growing event at the seaside. England's answer to all that Americana at the autumn Beach Hop, there's a traditional Village Fete, Scruffs Dog Show, gurning (face-pulling) and hanky-tying competitions, plus music, classic British cars, yacht racing and more. Ee by gum, you'll be havin' a laugh.

5: Eat, drink, love

Metro Taste of Auckland, Victoria Park, November 14-17

The fifth year of Auckland's inner-city food festival, with a line-up of local restaurants including Depot, Baduzzi, The Grove, Toto and Everybody's Izakaya. Masterclasses and live demonstrations at the Fisher & Paykel Chef's Kitchen by Clooney's Des Harris, and Josh Emmett and Nadia Lim also demonstrate. Check out more than 120 artisan food, wine and beer producers, showcasing local delicacies. Tickets from $25-$95, tasting plates from $8.

- NZ Herald

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