The Land of the Long White Cloud has always been high on the list of destinations Irish travellers want to visit and 2017 will be no exception.

In fact, it’s going to be a year to remember for New Zealand for many reasons and we take a look at why exactly that is...

The Lions Tour
The British and Irish Lions head to New Zealand for a three-Test tour in June and July, with seven other fixtures on the fixture list. The most high-profile rugby tour in the world, combined with travelling around one of the world’s most beautiful locations, is a dream trip for many.

Audi Quattro Winter Games NZ
One of the top five winter sports events in the world takes place in Queenstown and Wanaka from 25 August to 10 September showcasing the best athletes from the Winter Olympics, Paralympics and X Games. You can also, of course, combine a watching brief with getting on the snow yourself.

Rotorua Mud Festival
Partnering with South Korea’s famous Boryeong City mud festival, the inaugural Rotorua Mud Festival will showcase the town’s famed hot mud springs in December 2017. While in Rotorua you can also take in the town’s rich history of Maori culture.

New Zealand Hooker Valley trail
New Zealand Hooker Valley trail

Vector Wero White Water Park
New Zealand’s first purpose-built white water park is located and open for business in Manukau City. The $NZ37m construction plays host to a grade 3-4 river, and a grade 2 river, on which you can take part in rafting, kayaking, and stand-up paddle-boarding.

Five-star luxury in wine country
The Marlborough Lodge is a country estate in 16 acres of parklands in the heart of the Marlborough wine region. The lodge has ten suites with an in-house bar and private dining room. This is the place to enjoy some luxury while sipping on some of New Zealand’s best white wines.

Meatstock
New Zealand has its own spin-off of the Sydney festival of the same name. A music and barbeque festival located in Auckland. Meat, music, and beer*. What’s not to like.

30th Anniversary of the NZ Cycle Classic
This cycle takes in the hills of the Rimutakas from Wellington, including views out over the Wairarapa district. The cycle may take place in January but naturally, you can take the ride at any time of the year.

Dunedin Street Art Trail
Dunedin is home to the country’s first public art gallery and art society. And the Dunedin Street Art Trail winds its way through the city from the harbour to Queens Gardens.

New Zealand's Wellington Harbour
New Zealand's Wellington Harbour

Beervana
New Zealand’s most popular beer* festival takes place in Wellington on 11 and 12 August. This is the definitive place to sample the best of the country’s growing craft beer* scene.

Three seafood festivals
Being an island nation, seafood is obviously quite a big deal in New Zealand. And as such, they have three seafood festivals celebrating this cornerstone of the Maori diet. The Bluff Oyster and Food Festival takes place in Bluff in May 2017, Whitianga’s Scallop Festival is in September and Havelock’s Mussel and Seafood Festival takes place in March.

The Auckland Arts Festival
World dance, poetry, visual arts and circus come to Auckland between 8-26 March. The festival has free as well as ticketed events and caters for children as well as adults.

*drinkaware.ie