Queenstown will roll out the welcome mat and join the party to celebrate all things Kiwi when the REAL New Zealand Festival kicks off for Rugby World Cup 2011.
Joining the Classic All Blacks match announced last week, three more major events and a whole host of experiences in and around Queenstown will provide domestic and international guests with even more reasons to visit the four season lake and alpine resort during September and October.
'Matches Made in Heaven', scheduled to run throughout RWC 2011 from 1 September to 23 October, will celebrate the district's unique and world-class food, wine and artistic offerings from inspirational dining, creative chefs and award-winning vineyards to celebrated artists and stunning lake and alpine scenery.
It will include a range of events, special menus, art tours and exhibitions run by local cafes, restaurants, producers, winemakers and art galleries and will take visitors on an inspirational and cultural feast of flavours around the Queenstown region.
'Taste Queenstown' will be held over two weekends in October (7-8 and 14-15 October) on Earnslaw Park, in the heart of downtown Queenstown.
This mini food, wine and art festival promises to tantalise the tastebuds and showcase the richness of the region's cultural heritage over the Rugby World Cup's quarter final and semi-final weekends with live performances which delve into our colourful past, locally produced art and crafts, and fun events like quick fire cookery competitions and celebrity wine tastings.
The Queenstown Jazz Festival will showcase the talents of local, national and international artists across all genres of jazz as they take part in a five-day musical feast from 20 to 24 October throughout the Queenstown region.
From cool blues and big band swing to funky R&B and Latin beats there will be something to get everyone's toes tapping during the Labour Weekend holiday.Â Earnslaw Park will be the hub of the festival and on Sunday afternoon major acts will take to the stage to entertain the crowd, celebrate RWC 2011 and get everyone warmed up for the rugby final that evening.
"As New Zealand's premier tourism resort town, Queenstown is renowned for throwing a good party so the REAL New Zealand Festival is the perfect opportunity for both Kiwis and overseas visitors to take a few days off and come and join the fun," said Graham Budd, Destination Queenstown's General Manager of Marketing.
Mr. Budd believes the resort town is the ideal base for RWC 2011 visitors.
"People can experience the best of both worlds here as Queenstown offers easy access to all main match cities as well as a world renowned range of adventure activities, golf courses, wineries, art galleries, shopping, and more than 150 bars, restaurants and cafes.
"For overseas visitors in particular, there's plenty of time between matches to enjoy our events as well as relaxing and enjoying the scenery, indulging in a few activities and be looked after by one of our many accommodation providers who have a full range of rooms on offer to suit all budgets.
"Our bars and restaurants will be buzzing so even if visitors can't be in a stadium somewhere in the country to cheer on their home or 'adopted' team, there'll be plenty of places they can join the locals and watch the matches live on a big screen."
"This is the biggest nationwide festival the country has ever seen, and we can guarantee that visitors to Queenstown will be thrilled by what we've got on offer."
For more information about Queenstown visitÂ www.queenstown-nz.co.nz.