Props to QEII

Once upon a time it was part of my job to write a travel-guide-ish article on one of my favourite local experiences. Here’s a cut for you guys:


More than 1,000 lights and over 6 kilometres of cable set the scene for one of Taranaki’s top Summer experiences. The Festival of Lights has three parts: the spectacular lighting displays, the evening entertainment line up, and the daytime programme.

Officially named the Festival of Lights in 1993, the festival began in 1953 with a single lit fountain, installed for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. This was followed by further lighting displays, growing each year into the award-winning Festival of Lights we know (and often take for granted!) today.

Satisfy your school holiday fun cravings with the daytime programme. Stretch out warm evenings with a huge range of local, national and international acts – covering everything from jazz, soul, hip hop, and country, to funk, folk, blues, and belly dancing. And best of all, plan a Summer that makes the most of our vibrant, unique, and incredible Festival of Lights. All completely free.

More than 150,000 visitors will mix and match the event line up to ensure their Summer is filled with festival fun, excitement, and magic. So as a local this season, it’s time to take another look at the lights. Explore the park as though for the first time – follow the route along the children’s play area, up to Fountain Lake, past the Main Lake, across Poet’s Bridge to the Boat Shed lawn, through the Rhododendron Dell and up to the Bowl of Brooklands. Relive the joys of your first visit, infused with the thrill of new discoveries.

With fresh features, constant improvement, and the whole community in mind, the Festival of Lights is a more than worthy Taranaki Must Do.

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