Close to Home: Southern treats

By Heather Ramsay

Everything oyster

Oyster lovers should head south for the Bluff Oyster Festival on May 23. As well as mountains of fresh seafood, there'll be other food and wine, entertainment and competitions such as oyster shucking, oyster eating and oyster sack fashions.
Contact: 021 351 499
On the web:

Southern arts

The Arts Festival in Southland is a tantalising mix of music, theatre, dance, exhibitions, film and literary events, many of which are free. The diverse programme ranges from the Freeze Ya Bits Off Busking Competition in Gore to the New Zealand String Quartet at Invercargill's Civic Theatre.
On the web:

Coromandel special

Parties and concerts, a food trail, cooking demonstrations, exhibitions and art workshops are part of Coromandel's Homegrown Festival throughout May. A full programme outlining dozens of events is available online.
On the web:

Biking by night

Pack your mountain bike and night vision goggles and head to Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua for the Cateye Moonride, May 8-9. Riders follow an 8km, 30-minute circuit, with six, 12 and 24-hour options available for solo riders or teams. It's suitable for all abilities and is also great fun for spectators.
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Run with a view

The Big O Trail Run on May 9 is a scenic off-road run around beautiful Lake Okataina, near Rotorua. The route follows bush and farm tracks, with stunning lake views. There are 35km and 19km options.
Contact: (09) 817 7621, (021) 541 005
On the web:

Bikes and more

Take your bike for a pre-winter spin to Central Hawke's Bay for the Cold Duck Motorcycle Rally, May 8-10. The rally offers food, drink, entertainment, music and camping on an expansive site beside the Tukituki River.
On the web:

- NZ Herald

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