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Leisure and Entertainment

New Zealand - Leisure and Entertainment

New Zealand has 10 public holidays. 1st January – New Year’s Day, 2nd January – day after New Year’s day, 6th February –Waitangi Day, Good Friday – date varies each year, Easter Monday – Date varies each year, 25th April – Anzac Day, 1st Monday in June – Queens Birthday, 4th Monday in October – Labour Day, 25th December – Christmas Day, 26th December – Boxing day. The bank holiday system in New Zealand works slightly different to the UK system, whereby if a bank holiday falls at a weekend, then the following Monday becomes the holiday whereas in the UK most bank holidays are planned for a Monday.

For example, if Christmas day falls on a Saturday, therefore Boxing Day is on the Sunday, both the following Monday and Tuesday are holidays. If Christmas Day and Boxing Day fall mid-week, Tuesday and Wednesday for example, then those days only are the holiday. This is not the case in New Zealand. If the bank holiday falls at a weekend and you normally work weekends then you take those holidays and not the Monday (or Tuesday as the case may be) if you do not normally work weekends then you will take the Monday as the bank holiday. With the Holidays Act of 2003 being put into place, this also means that certain holidays such as Anzac Day are only celebrated on those specific days as they commemorate a specific date or event in history.

On top of the public holidays there are also Regional Anniversary Holidays so you will find that where ever you choose to live will also have at least one additional bank holiday on top of the national holidays. For example, if you are living in Hawkes Bay, you will have the additional day off of 1st November (or the Friday before Labour Day); in South Canterbury you will have 25th September (or the 4th Monday in September).

If you are looking for things to do during your free time in New Zealand then you will be spoilt for choice. On the North Island you can find activities such as Climbing the Auckland Bay Bridge (or even bungee jumping from it if you prefer). There are plenty of opportunities to go sailing in the bays, and sailing is one of the most popular activities in New Zealand. Half day cruises to go whale watching and dolphin spotting are also very popular with tourists.

If you prefer land based activities then you can visit the Waitomo Glow worm Caves, take a city tour of Auckland or enjoy a Lord of the Rings locations tour in Wellington. The Lord of the Rings tours operate two trips, one full day and one half day and are ideal of any fans of the films.

If you are on the South Island and are looking for things to do then why not try hot air ballooning over Christchurch for a really unique experience? You can visit the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve and enjoy watching the Maori performers as they put on a show of songs and dancing. The Christchurch Gondola ride will take you up 500 metres for a full 360 degree panoramic view of the city of Christchurch and the stunning mountain scenery.

For a once in a life time, never to be forgotten experience why not enjoy a flight in a 1941 vintage Tigermoth over Lake Wanaka? The open cockpit can make the experience even more exhilarating. If you are a bit of an adrenaline junkie then you can take a flight over Lake Wanaka in the Silver Demon and enjoy air acrobatics including flying in the inverted position. Perhaps it is not for the fainthearted, but fun for anyone wanting a day out with a difference.

New Zealand has implemented a smoking ban in its public buildings. This means restaurants and bars are all smoke free. Some however have outdoor dining areas or beer gardens where smoking is allowed. Smoking in taxis is not allowed unless it is agreed with the driver. Even some outdoor areas such as train platforms adhere to the smoking ban, but each is different so check before lighting up. That way you can avoid the risk of a large fine.

That said, going out remains a popular social activity in New Zealand, particularly in the larger cities where there is more lively evening entertainment such as restaurants, cinemas, bowling allies and night clubs. Smaller towns tend to have a much more relaxed nightlife and if this is what you prefer and you are staying in a major city then a trip out of town may be in order.

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