Matariki’s Best Travel Deals: Five-Star Stays and Winter Fun
Relax at the Bay of Islands Matariki Festival. Photo / Provided
PAIHIA FIRST LIGHT
Although Matariki is officially recognized as a public holiday on Friday, June 24, the Bay of Islands gets to celebrating early – on June 17. Many free and paid events in the area, from Paihia and Kerikeri to Russell Township across the water, were organised. Storytelling, cultural experiences, Matariki-inspired feasts, wine tours, music and great stargazing opportunities will be on offer through July 31. The Bay of Islands Matariki festival runs from Friday July 2nd to Sunday July 11th.
Contact: Bay of Islands Matariki Festival, event bookings are made at matarikinz.com and for many accommodation offers see matarikinz.com/accommodation-matariki
FIVE STAR MATARIKI STAY
Tranquility and elegance await guests at the five-star bed and breakfast, Moon Gate Lodge, in Kerikeri, where they celebrate Matariki by reducing stays to two or more nights in June and July. Guests will be greeted with a choice of drinks and a platter of traditional Maori dishes, homemade antipasti and relish. Valid for stays of two nights (or more) in June and July, two nights at Moon Gate Cottage start at $549 and include continental breakfast, daily room service and unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi. Two nights in the villa lodge start at $607 and include full and cooked breakfasts. The chalet is also available for four-night stays for three nights, starting at $915 for the entire stay.
Contact: Moon Gate Lodge, free call 0800 00 3550 or email [email protected] or book online at moongatevilla.com/blog/celebrate-matariki/
PARTY IN THE FOREST
Te Pā Tū – (formerly Tamaki Māori Village) in Rotorua hosts festive four-hour feasts of divine seasonal Maori kai in its forest village and entertains guests with traditional Maori songs and performances. Surrounded by towering tawa trees and warmed by a bonfire, diners can enjoy forest horotai (appetizers) and then a sumptuous three-course feast of Maori fusion dishes, all part of the winter celebrations of Matariki. Special dietary options are available and there is a bar with an optional kai wine list. Tickets are $379 for couples, $245 per adult, and $99 for each child ages 5-15.
Contact: Te Pā Tū, at Highlands Loop Rd, near Rotorua, (07) 349 2999, or book at tamakimaorivillage.rezdy.com/490225/te-pt-and-its-debut-feast-t-te-r
WAITOMO COSMOS AND CAVES
Take a magical tour of Matariki Glowworm Cave in Waitomo, where you’ll be greeted with pōwhiri, kawakawa tea, and a sweet treat. This special Matariki Twilight tour takes place at 4 p.m. on June 25, 26, and July 1. Tickets are $75 per person for adults, $46 per person for a child. A family ticket (two adults and two children) costs $220. A second evening tour of the Matariki Glowworm Caves on July 2 will include a pōwhiri, meal and concert in the caves. Tickets for this event from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. are $119 per person, $87 per child, and $380 for a family pass. Bilingual Glowworm Cave tours, celebrating Te Reo Māori, take place at 10:30 am on June 28 and 30.
Contact: Discover Waitomo, reservations should be made online at waitomo.com/whats-on/matariki-ki-waitomo
EAT, DRINK, MATARIKI
Imagine sitting down to dinner in a luxurious gourmet restaurant, knowing that you are about to savor nine courses, each paired with the right wine. The Rees Hotel, Queenstown is celebrating the inaugural Matariki Bank Holiday with a food, wine, arts and culture celebration on Friday evening 24th June. Mindful of Matariki’s nine stars, the hotel’s award-winning executive chef, Corey Hume, created the menu and Esk Valley winemaker, Gordon Russell, paired the wines. Works by Maori artists, curated by Milford Galleries, will be exhibited at the event. Tickets are $185 per person.
Contact: The Rees Hotel, Food, Wine, Arts & Culture Celebration Queenstown reservations at eventbrite.com/e/the-rees-esk-valleys-matariki-celebration-dinner-tickets-322928246077? aff=ebdssbdestsearch