From gumboot throwing in Taihape and the ‘running of the sheep’ in Te Kuiti to Wellington’s Wearable Arts, Queenstown’s Birdman competition, and Oamaru’s Steampunk festival, there’s no shortage weird and wacky festivals around New Zealand showcasing the country’s unique sense of humor, understated eccentricities, and the infamous Kiwi ingenuity.

Here’s my top four favorite weird and wacky festivals.

Christchurch’s World Buskers Festival

The annual World Buskers Festival has Christchurch rocking with laughter every January. From contortionists to ventriliquists, knife throwers to knife swallowers, jugglers to dancers, rappers to hip hop, buskers from around the world come to the city with the aim of getting people smiling and shaking with laughter.

The Hokonui Moonshine Festival

New Zealand’s original boutique whisky festival, celebrating ‘Old Hokonui‘ whiskey, is held every February in the sleepy southern town of Gore . If you miss the festival, you can still discover the region’s colourful history at the Hokonui Moonshine .

Hokitika’s wild food festival

Every March, this hugely popular festival attracts foodies and adventurers from around the world who take great delight in chowing down on grasshoopers, huhu grubs, and worm sushi, followed by shots of moonshine and Gorse Flower wine.

Dunedin’s Chocolate Festival

Every July Dunedin becomes a real sweet paradise for chocolate lovers who come from far and wide to participate in various chocolate themed events, ranging from jazz ‘n’ shiraz to chocolate tours, decorating classes, and chocolate facials. But the highlight each year is the infamous giant Jaffa Race in which 50,000 red candy-coated round chocolates are released at the top of the world’s steepest street and thunder down to the bottom in seconds.

To discover when and what festivals are on around New Zealand, head to eventfinda.

(photo @Liz Lewis 2012)

 

 

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.