Let's go NZ - Exploring our backyard

By Heather Ramsay

Auckland: Crew for you

Find out what it's like to race an America's Cup yacht by crewing on NZL40 or NZL41 on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour.

You can take the helm, work the grinder or just sit back and enjoy the scenery.

There are daily sailings of both the two-hour experience and the exciting three-hour match race.

Contact: 0800 397 567

Queenstown: Arts and crafts

Earnslaw Park on the shores of Queenstown's Lake Wakatipu is the setting for the Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts Markets, which take place every Saturday.

Artists and craftspeople from around the South Island offer wares ranging from carving to fabric art, painting to glass art.

There are also free performances by local musicians. Winter hours, May 1 to October 31, 9am to 3pm.

Contact: 021 122 7695, (03) 4439006

Fielding: Gardening galore

Lawnmower racing, a celebrity chef and horticulture displays are part of the mix at the Manfeild Park Garden Festival at Feilding.

There are also trade exhibitions, seminars, competitions, floral art, food stalls and entertainment. The festival is on May 12 and 13.

Earlybird tickets cost $8 for adults, $2 for children and $20 for a family of two adults and two children. Gate sales $10, $4, $25.

Contact: (06) 323 1956

Bay of Islands: Country company

Great music and good company are the focus of the Bay of Islands Country Rock Festival, May 11-13.

Sixty artists, including international acts, will perform at Haruru Falls, Paihia, Waitangi and Russell. Admission is by a badge that costs $40. It buys a programme, entry to venues and shuttle buses between all venues except Russell.

There will also be free street performances.

Tutukaka: Coasting along

The Tutukaka coast near Whangarei is best-known for its superb beaches and great fishing and diving, but the area has many other attractions and activities, including cafes, galleries, wildlife and surfing.

Tutukaka's non-profit website is a great resource for anyone planning a few days in the region.

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