Festival of Lights in Pukekura Park, New Plymouth

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The TSB Festival of Lights is an annual event held in Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. Running for free every year from mid-December to late January, it has a daytime and nighttime programme of events for people of all ages, with light installations illuminating the park. In 2021 the festival won the Best Local Government and NZ’s Favourite Event Awards at the 2021 NZ Events Association Awards.

It was the 1970s when music and entertainment became a feature of the annual lights event. It was 1993 when the festival was officially named the ‘Festival of Lights’ The festival is a summer attraction and cultural event for the city and is attended by over 125,000 people each year.

We got to watch the last couple of minutes of a cricket game (the sport, not the insects playing!). Jono is a big cricket and rugby fan but I have only been to a rugby game before so this was the closest I’ve been to a cricket game experience. Some of the team members playing were also part of the national team, the Black Caps.

We were a bit early for the start as the lights don’t turn on until 8:30 and it only gets dark until around 9 pm. It was cool to catch some of the lights and see them still with day light.

There was also really cool sound effects following some of the light installations and became more like small atmospheric shows.

You’re able to book a boat both during the day and night and they become part of the light show. We couldn’t get in because it was fully booked but it was really cool to watch.

We actually spent a whole day waiting out a passing rain storm and decided to stay in New Plymouth through it to have some indoor activities to keep us occupied (like the museum, cafes, restaurants and the cinema) but above that, to have this festival of lights experience and I must say it was really worth it!

Festival of lights aside, there was a great cozy café inside the park that stayed open until the end of the night. And the park itself it was a delight. A good mix between a Zealandia and Botanic Gardens feel if you compare it to the Wellington options. We really liked it!

On a sunny day (not our case) you’re able to see Mt Taranaki from here! Where we ended up going and setting up camp at for a night. Check out the link to find out about our very sad, cold and slippery experience!

Pukekura Gardens and Park

While googling the park, I came across these beautiful paintings of how it must’ve looked back in the day before the growth of the flora. Even maybe before the park was officially stablish. This park is one of the many established in the area of Taranaki and up to Hamilton by the European settlers as it was a European custom to have parks and gardens as opposed to a Maori tradition.

It began life as a treeless, swampy village back in 1876 but is now recognized by New Zealand garden Trust as a Founding Garden of National Significance, one of 8 in the region.

The 44 hectares of parkland offer something for everyone, from English Country Garden areas, to a highly recommended Tea House, children’s playing area, a waterfall and even a zoo. You can take a trip out on one of the two lakes on a wooden rowing boat which is great fun, or take it easy and follow one of the many walking trails around the park taking in the diverse landscapes.

Silver Fern Holidays

The picture description quotes:

View across Boating Lake to Poet’s Bridge and Mount Taranaki beyond. Two swans swimming on lake. Mount Taranaki is framed by large trees on either side of the lake. Painting is framed in a wooden frame.
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Collections Puke Ariki

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Hello, this blog is written by a young artist and traveler looking to share the world from her perspective. 

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