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Rhythm & Alps Festival

Event date: December 29 – January 1, 2019
Photos by Rhythm & Alps
Rhythm & Alps Festival

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Whilst the name Rhythm & Alps for a festival implies a main stage perched amidst snowy peaks, this lively end of year festival (the South Island’s only one currently) actually takes place in the scorching midsummer heat that comes down to bear on its location — Robrosa Station in the Cardrona Valley.

This vast, spectacular station in the Cardrona Valley, between mountain resorts Wanaka and Queenstown, plays home to Rhythm & Alps every December — that’s when it’s not being used for film shoots, adventure tourism and farming. Luckily despite the arid landscape, the festival site has willow trees aplenty whose shade patrons will be grateful for when the mercury rises.

What makes enduring the intense Central Otago sun worth it though, is an incredible sight — when the sun makes its way west. A lack of city lights and the sparse nature of the landscape ensures clear, spectacularly starry skies, before the main stage puts on a show of its own.

On December 30 and 31, 2016, around 6000 people will converge on the valley for two nights of partying, with a line-up that includes American DJ/turntablist Cut Chemist, homegrown crowd-pleasers Six60, and Sachi, an up and coming duo of Kiwi producer DJs.

The joy of this festival is that it attracts a mostly local crowd, from groups of twenty-somethings to the forty-plus and well-heeled of Wanaka. It’s a festival for everyone and the atmosphere is good-natured and thoroughly Kiwi. It is also in the heart of Central Otago, home to New Zealand’s best pinot noir, so a trip to the festival could be combined with a tour of some world-class vineyards.


  • Regular buses heading to the festival site depart from Queenstown and Wanaka, booked through Yello! the festival’s travel partner.
  • The festival’s warm up event takes place on December 28, with RÜFÜS playing tracks from their latest album Bloom at Lake Hawea Hotel.
  • This is a cash-free event: visitors will be allocated an electronic wristband on arrival, which can be loaded at any festival top-up station.
  • Bring sun protection. In the heat of the day, the valley floor can resemble more the Nevada desert than alpine New Zealand.
  • As well as camping and glamping options, festival organisers have teamed up with The Cardrona Hotel in Wanaka to offer a super VIP package for those who are looking for a more premium festival experience.

Visit Rhythm & Alps

Looking down onto a beautiful valley flanked by hills
Logo installation at Rhythm and Alps
Starry night sky, Rabrosa Station, New Zealand
Crowd watching band performing on a purple-lighted stage
Two girls on loungers outside a line of tents
Crowd watching performers on a brightly lit stage
Published on November 17, 2016
Location: Cardrona Valley
Country: New Zealand ›
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