Next week is set to be one of the busiest of the year as tens of thousands of people flock to Tauranga for a host of events, marking the beginning of a bumper month ahead.
The week begins with New Year's Eve celebrations around the district. Tauranga City Council is running family-friendly, free events at Tauranga's waterfront, Pāpāmoa and Matua, ending with fireworks displays at 9.30pm.
Major sporting events, concerts and festivals start from Tuesday, attracting tens of thousands of people throughout the week.
About 43,000 people are expected at events organised by Tauranga promoters Pato Alvarez and Mitch Lowe throughout the week including the Bay Dreams pre-party on Tuesday, Bay Dreams Mount Maunganui on Wednesday, the Katchafire and Kora concert on Thursday and the Sticky Fingers show on Sunday.
At Bay Dreams, 30,000 people have bought tickets for the January 2 festival, which features some of the biggest artists in the world. Among them are international superstar Cardi-B and international artists Rich The Kid, Sheck Wes, Tash Sultana, Peking Duk, Macky Gee.
Lowe, who is the director of Bay Dreams, along with Alvarez, says they are more prepared than ever for this year's festival and he can't wait for people to see what's planned.
"We're super excited. The production is going to be bigger ... we're going to blow people's minds. We're seriously taking it a step further than previous years," Alvarez said.
Alvarez and his team are busy from December 28 until the end of January at the least.
Ervin McSweeney, from Trustpower Baypark, is excited to be hosting New Zealand's biggest festival, which started with 5000 people four years ago and has grown to 30,000 this year. He said the event was a major coup for the city.
A 10,000-person crowd is the capacity for the Bay Oval and with two Black Caps vs Sri Lanka One Day International cricket matches on January 3 and January 5 being hosted there, general manager Kelvin Jones expects says if they don't sell out they will likely reach close to that number each day.
He said planning and preparations for the big week ahead were going well now the weather had improved and the grounds were looking good.
Tickets sales were steady, but he expected numbers to pick up as the dates got closer with the number of holidaymakers in town, many of whom would wait to see what weather conditions were like. According to the Metservice's 10-day forecast, next week will be fine with light winds, and possible showers only predicted for Tuesday.
The major events add to the thousands of people expected at other events during the week including the Interislander Summer Festival's Tauranga races, South Pacific Super Saloon Champs, Fat Freddy's Drop concert, National Beach Volleyball Championship as well as everyday attractions of the area such as the beach and the weather. There are also four cruise ships scheduled to visit Tauranga between January 1 and 5.
Accommodation NZ's Bay of Plenty accommodation sector group chairman Tony Bullott, who owns 850 Cameron Motel, said anyone struggling to find accommodation for the week ahead should contact accommodation providers directly.
He said there were about 600 Accommodation NZ Bay of Plenty beds, and similar numbers outside the group. Although accommodation providers were pretty full, some beds were still available. Bullott said not all of the city's accommodation providers advertised on third-party websites, so it paid to make contact directly.
For them, the highest demand for accommodation for the year was the week of the AIMS Games, but this coming week would be close behind as bookings were in line with last year.
Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne said the holiday period from December 26 to January 6 was the peak period for the region.
She said accommodation providers generally reported no vacancies during this period and thousands of visitors would stay with locally-based family and friends. She believed the period would be "two times busier" than during the Aims Games.
Tauranga City Council city events manager Gareth Wallis said next week was looking to be the busiest of summer, followed closely by the week of Anniversary Weekend on January 29. It was also shaping up to be a busy weekend as Tauranga hosted the One Love music festival, Good Vibes music festival, three international cricket matches and the Slash performance at Trustpower Baypark.
This week in Tauranga
Monday, December 31: Family-friendly New Year's Eve celebrations in Matua, Papamoa and Tauranga's waterfront.
Tuesday, January 1: Tauranga Twilight Track and Field Meet, Tauranga Domain.
Tuesday, January 1: Bay Dreams Pre-Party, Trustpower Baypark, from 3pm.
Wednesday, January 2: Bay Dreams, Trustpower Baypark, from 12pm.
Wednesday, January 2: Interislander Summer Festival, Tauranga Races.
Thursday, January 3: Katchafire and Kora, Soper Reserve, Mount Maunganui.
Thursday, January 3: Black Caps vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Bay Oval, 2pm-10pm.
Friday, January 4: The River Sounds Festival, Woodland Road Festival Grounds, Katikati, 12pm-1am.
Saturday, January 5: South Pacific Super Saloon Champs, Trustpower Baypark Speedway.
Saturday, January 5: Black Caps vs Sri Lanka, 2nd ODI, Bay Oval, 2pm-10pm.
Saturday, January 5: Fat Freddy's Drop, Wharepai Domain, from 4pm.
January 5-6: National Beach Volleyball Championship, Mount Maunganui's Main Beach.
Sunday, January 6: Sticky Fingers, Mount Park.