January 1-3: New Zealand’s Rhythm & Vines
Sun, surf, music and wine. What better way to kick off your 2010? Rhythm and Vines is always an eclectic mix of musical flavors from far and wide and this year’s festival, at Gisborne on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, boasts the biggest line-up in its history. International acts including Moby, the Editors, and the John Butler Trio will be playing alongside top Kiwi acts such as The Checks, P Money and Midnight Youth. (Tickets range from NZ$60 to NZ$130)
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Camping Rhythm and Vines style
Get right to the heart of the festival vibe this year and camp on-site at Waiohika Estate (search under "wineries") where as a privileged Rhythm & Vines camper, one can enjoy classic Kiwi camping games such as swingball and cricket, cool down in the pool, or catch a late night movie at the campsite cinema. There's even a chance of meeting some of the artists as they set up and rehearse.
What to do for the weekend (besides rock out)
With three days of great music and buzzing festival vibes, you'll probably need some R&R of a more relaxed kind. Luckily, Gisborne is the perfect place for rest, recuperation, and recreation.
Gisborne's Wainui beach has surfing, kiteboarding and kayaking. Gisborne’s famous tunnel waves are suitable for all skill levels and first timers can book a lesson with some of New Zealand’s best surfers (Tel: +64 6 868 5153).
Then there's Dive Tatapouri which gets visitors up close and personal with wild sea animals in their natural habitat with penguin, seal, and bird watching. There's also swimming with dolphins and stingray feeding.
Or take a hike (Tel: +64 7 308 0292) or horse trek (Tel: +64 6 864 3033) through the greens of Te Urewera National Park, the largest untouched native forest in New Zealand. Lake Waikaremoana is a gorgeous destination where you can explore the native flora and fauna, and learn about the history of the Whirinaki forest.
Gisborne is also a historically significant part of New Zealand. It is the place where indigenous Maori first made contact with Europeans on the arrival of Captain Cook, and a place where local life is still laced with rich Maori tradition. To experience Gisborne from a cultural angle, take a guided tour with Tipuna Tours (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to see and learn about New Zealand’s bi-cultural history and heritage.
Wines and vines
A Rhythm & Vines weekend would not be complete without some fine food and drink to complement whatever festival fare music revelers are shoving down their gullet. Gisborne is the Chardonnay capital of New Zealand, and its stunning wines can be perfectly coupled with the region’s fresh seafood.
After the show, after hours
Not quite ready to rest after the show? Not quite ready to party till dawn? Not to fret, the Gisborne waterfront Gordon Gecko Bar and Restaurant (Tel: +64 6 868 3257) provides a relaxed environment for winding down the day. For those that just can't get enough music, late night beats can be had at Soho bar (Tel: +64 6 868 3888) where the decks are regularly graced by live music and DJs.
Time to crash
Absolute Wainui Bed and Breakfast (69 Wairere Road, Wainui Beach, Gisborne. Tel: +64 6 867 0386) is an idyllic retreat that offers premium beach-front accommodation. A sharp contrast from the camping styled digs at Waiohika Estate for Rhythm and Vines.
For nature lovers there's Lake Waikaremoana Motor Camp (38 State Highway, Waikaremoana. Tel: +64 6 837 3826). Accommodation options here range from tent-sites for an authentic bush experience, to self-contained and fully furnished chalets for more privacy and comfort.
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