Join the locals in celebrating the winter season this June by heading to Dunedin for the annual Midwinter Carnival. The festival style event attracts around 15,000 people to Dunedin every year with carnival favourites including an eclectic mix of stilt walkers, musicians, dancers, food stalls, street performers and even a fireworks display.
Working closely with talented artists and the wider community event organisers make use of art and performance to build this unique event. This year’s festival follows the theme ‘The Never Ending Night’, with the beautiful wildlife, mysterious creatures and colourful characters of Antarctica taking centre stage. Held on the Saturday closest to Winter Solstice, this year’s carnival excitement begins at 5.00 pm on the 22 June at the Octagon in central Dunedin, with the Carnival Procession kicking off at approximately 6 pm.
The Carnival Procession
Every year hundreds of people take part in what is considered the highlight of the festival, the Carnival Procession by contributing to its hand crafted lantern parade. Spectacular giant lanterns and hundreds of handcrafted lanterns join the Carnival Procession performers in lighting up the night sky.
For those wishing to take part in the fun, lantern making workshops are held in the days leading up to the main event allowing the public to really get hands-on and contribute to the event on a personal level. Lantern making guidance is offered and all materials are provided for a small fee (cash only, payable on the day). The lantern making workshops are available to anyone over the age of seven, however children must be accompanied by an adult.
Key Carnival Facts And Resources
- When – Saturday the 22 June at 5:00 pm.
- Where – The Octagon, Dunedin city centre, open to all ages.
- Up To Date Details – See the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival Facebook page.
- What To Expect – See short video clips of previous carnival action.
- More Information – The Dunedin Midwinter Carnival 2019 website.
Volunteering At The Dunedin Midwinter Carnival
Want to get involved, meet new people and experience the carnival action from the inside? Volunteers are vital to the success of the carnival and every year there are a range of interesting volunteer roles available including Art Team Assistants, Lantern Workshop Assistants, Giant Lantern Bearers, Procession Guides, Program Distributors, Make-up and Costuming volunteers and many more.
A Few Things To Remember
- Dunedin is known for its rather chilly winters and biting frosts, average daily temperatures in Dunedin sit at around 8°C or 46°F, carnival goers are advised to dress accordingly.
- There may be street closures and delays in and around the central city on the night, plan routes carefully if intending to arrive by car.
- Some street lighting may be switched off to accommodate the Carnival Procession’s lighting displays.
- Car parking around the Octagon may be limited due to the event, take care when on the road and be considerate of others.
Things To Do While In Dunedin Central
The Regent Theatre. Why not catch a show at The Regent Theatre? Situated right in the Octagon, The Regent offers a varied line-up of shows ranging from performances from the Royal NZ Ballet to musicals and comedy acts.
The Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Home to Dunedin’s main public art collection, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery is also located right in The Octagon. The gallery exhibits works from New Zealand and overseas artists encompassing the old, the modern and also contemporary genres.
Dunedin Railway Station. Exceptional attention to detail in this architectural masterpiece make the Dunedin Railway Station is a must-do for visitors to the city. While there why not take one of the daily sightseeing trains out to Middlemarch or Pukerangi via the Taieri Gorge.
The Dunedin Chinese Garden. Experience the heritage and culture of these authentic Chinese Gardens set right on the corner of Rattray and Cumberland Streets, only an eight minute walk from the Octagon.
The St Joseph’s Cathedral. Located in City Rise to the west of the Octagon, this Roman Catholic style cathedral is only a short 10 minute walk away. Experience the history, the tradition and the sheer magnificence of the Cathedral up close.
Tackle Baldwin Street. Dunedin is home to the steepest residential street in the world according to the Guinness World Records association. Baldwin Street is located a short 15 minute drive north from the Octagon, but is well worth the trip – and the exercise!
See Dunedin from a different perspective and enjoy a brilliant night out with the sounds and sights of the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival this June.