Every year, visitors flock to New Plymouth, Taranaki, to behold its landscapes, hospitality and cultural attractions. One of the favourite events for both locals and tourists is the Festival of Lights, held every year from mid-December through to the end of January.

This spectacular show is a combination of activities, performances and art exhibits – all set amongst the stunning scenery of Pukekeura Park and the lights that come to life at night. This is a must-see, must-do event for everyone!

The lights
Since 1993 (though its origins date back to the early 50s), the paths, trails and lakeside areas of Pukekura Park have been beautifully lit up by an array of coloured lights every year during December and January. The arrangements, colours and artistry are constantly changing to provide a new experience each time, and many local people frequent the event every year without fail. The park itself is one of New Zealand's premier botanical gardens, so it's a delight to visit at any time of day and night.

Activities for kids
Kids will love to have storytime in the park, play with fairies, do arts and crafts and even get a glimpse of Grimace the gorilla this year! Daytime events such as these are held over the duration of the festival, and are a great opportunity for family fun and adventure. Other great events include:

·         The teddy bear's picnic, 9th Jan

·         Crafts in the park, 11th Jan

·         Kids dance workshop, 18th Jan

·         Family fun challenge, 22nd Jan

·         Twilight markets, 29th Jan

Check out the events guide for more information.

This year is no exception when it comes to great music and amazing performances. From folk and jazz to roving wearable arts and hip hop dancing, there is no shortage of talent and amusement for all who visit. Amongst the stage acts, there are some attractions that come back every year to delight and awe:

·         Wear some white clothes to shine bright in the glow zone, an area bathed in neon colours and blacklights

·         See if you can spot the sleeping giant in his bed in the trees

·         Take a rowboat for a ride around the main lake

·         Dance under the disco lights in the children's playground or under the disco ball on Poet's Bridge

·         Sit back and relax while watching a twilight movie – bring a picnic!

And many more! See the festival website to see other amazing installations.

If you're in the region this summer or planning to visit New Plymouth, don't go past the Festival of Lights! With over 100,000 visitors every year, it's no wonder that it keeps getting better and better. Have you visited the festival or are you planning on it? We'd love to hear about it!

Photo credits:
Main lake by Aidan, CC-BY-2.0
The Poet's Brdige by russelstreet, CC-BY-SA-2.0