LUMA Southern Light Project – Queenstown Gardens, New Zealand

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Nestled amidst the majestic backdrop of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, the LUMA Southern Light Project in Queenstown promises an ethereal blend of nature and illumination. As the heart of Otago region twinkles with fairy lights, this festival transforms the serene Queenstown Gardens into a mesmerizing light exhibition. From illuminated art installations to enchanting twinkling trees, LUMA is not just a festival; it’s an experience, an invitation to witness the dance of light and landscape in harmony. Join us as we journey through this luminous spectacle, where nature’s beauty meets human creativity.

 

Southern Light Project
Festival highlights

About the Festival

The LUMA Southern Light Project in Queenstown, New Zealand, is more than just an ordinary light show. Set against the striking backdrop of the Southern Alps, it offers a breathtaking fusion of fairy lights with the sublime elegance of the region’s natural scenery. The Festival of lights presents an enchanting light exhibition that captivates both young and old. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning enthusiast, LUMA promises to light up your senses in ways you’ve never imagined.

Featured Lighting Displays:

  • Illuminated Art Installations: Witness the brilliance of artists as they meld light with contemporary art, creating masterpieces that glow in the night.
  • Glowing Trees: Nature takes on a magical hue as trees are adorned with twinkling lights, making them shimmer against the night sky.
  • Illuminated Pathways: Walkways transformed into radiant trails, guiding visitors through the festival with a warm glow.
  • Hanging Lanterns: A plethora of designs, from traditional to abstract, dangle above, casting playful shadows on the grounds below.
  • Interactive and Immersive Light Installations: Engage with art like never before. Touch, feel, and become a part of installations that respond to your presence.
  • Performers in Glowing Costumes: The night comes alive as performers in luminescent attire dazzle with their moves, merging performance and light artistry.
  • Rhythmic Light Shows: Synchronized displays where lights dance to the beats, offering a visual concert for the spectators.

Activities for Visitors:

  • Paint a Colorful Mural: Unleash your creativity on large canvases, adding vibrant splashes of color, illuminated under the festival’s lights.
  • Explore Illuminated Stalls: Browse through radiant stalls selling a range of products, from artisan crafts to mouth-watering treats, all presented under a glowing canopy.
  • Interactive Light Workshops: Dive deep into the world of light artistry. Learn, create, and take home your own miniature light masterpiece.
  • Photo Booths with Luminous Backdrops: Capture memories with friends and family against glowing settings, perfect for that Instagram-worthy shot.
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Face Painting: Let artists transform you with radiant designs, making you a part of the festival’s luminous charm.
  • Nighttime Garden Strolls: Wander through illuminated gardens, discovering hidden light gems and serene spots to pause and reflect.

Embracing both the wonder of nature and the allure of human ingenuity, the LUMA Southern Light Project stands as a testament to the beauty that emerges when these two worlds converge.

Festival Dates

Every year, as the cool embrace of June settles over New Zealand, Queenstown becomes a beacon of brilliance with the LUMA Southern Light Project. For four radiant nights during this winter month, the town transforms into a luminous wonderland, ensuring that those who witness it mark their calendars for this enchanting rendezvous year after year. Whether you’re a local or a traveler, the promise of LUMA in June is an invitation you wouldn’t want to miss.

This 2024, the breathtaking festival will run from May 30 to June 3, 2024.

Where It’s Located and How To Get There

The LUMA Southern Light Project finds its home in the tranquil Queenstown Gardens, New Zealand. This verdant space, nestled against the backdrop of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by snow-capped mountains, offers the perfect canvas for the festival’s breathtaking light displays. The serene landscapes and winding pathways of the gardens come alive under the glow of myriad lights, making every step a journey into a magical realm.

From the skies to the gardens, Queenstown makes your journey seamless. The nearest airport to the Queenstown Gardens is Queenstown Airport, located a mere 8 kilometers away. For visitors flying in, a short 15-minute drive or taxi ride will bring you to the heart of the festival. There are also shuttle services and public buses available from the airport, ensuring that the beauty of LUMA is within easy reach for every traveler.

Reaching Queenstown by Train from Other New Zealand Cities:

While there isn’t a direct train service to Queenstown, don’t fret! The experience of reaching this gem of a town can be an adventure in itself. Here’s a guideline for those who wish to traverse the rails:

  • From Auckland, Wellington, or Christchurch: Begin by taking a train to Dunedin via the KiwiRail Scenic Journeys.
  • Arriving in Dunedin: Once in Dunedin, you can opt for bus services like Intercity or Ritchies that will take you to Queenstown.
  • Alternative Route: For those who wish to soak in more of New Zealand’s picturesque landscape, take a train from Christchurch to Invercargill via KiwiRail. From Invercargill, several bus services lead the way to Queenstown.
  • Embrace the Journey: While the train ride doesn’t take you directly to Queenstown, it winds through some of New Zealand’s most awe-inspiring landscapes. Consider it a prelude to the visual feast that awaits at the LUMA Southern Light Project.

For information on train tickets and schedules, visit the respective train company’s official website.

If you liked this festival, you might want to check out these other amazing spectacles as well:

Berlin Festival of Lights

Parrtjima Lights Festival

Festival Hours

As the sun begins its descent and the evening hues start painting the sky, the LUMA Southern Light Project springs to life. Open to the public from 5:00 PM, the festival bathes Queenstown Gardens in a radiant glow until 10:00 PM. Whether you’re an early evening visitor captivated by the twilight merging with the illuminations or someone who enjoys the profound depth of a night sky adorned with lights, these hours ensure that you get to witness the festival in all its luminous glory. We invite you to immerse yourself in this enchanting experience, as day turns to night and the gardens transform into a realm of wonder.

Cost to Visit the Festival

Stepping into the magical realm of the LUMA Southern Light Project comes at a modest fee, promising an experience that’s worth every penny. For those who decide to join the festival on a whim, tickets can be readily purchased at the gates for just $30. If you’re the planning type, you can effortlessly secure your spot by purchasing tickets online through Moshtix.

Have young ones tagging along? Here’s some good news for families: Children aged 12 and under can immerse themselves in the festival’s glow absolutely free of charge. It’s the festival’s little way of making sure families can enjoy the wonder together.

In the organizers’ continued effort to ensure every guest has an unparalleled experience, the number of tickets is intentionally capped. This helps in maintaining a comfortable ambiance, devoid of overwhelming crowds, allowing every visitor to truly savor each illuminated moment. However, a little heads-up for the guests: tickets are only valid for the day they are purchased and, unfortunately, aren’t transferable to other days. This policy helps the organizers manage crowd sizes and maintain the festival’s charm.

Take note, however, that ticket prices may vary or change, so it is best to visit the festival’s official website for the latest information and details.

Weather and What to Wear

During early June, Queenstown gracefully transitions into its chilly winter days, with average temperatures hovering between a crisp 0°C to 8°C. While the lights promise warmth for your soul, your body might need a little more. Hence, to make the most of your LUMA experience, we recommend the following attire:

  • Warm Layers: Begin with thermal innerwear, followed by a couple of snug layers to trap the warmth.
  • Cozy Jacket: A well-insulated jacket can be your best friend against the cold.
  • Beanie: Keep that noggin warm with a stylish beanie.
  • Gloves: Holding a cup of hot cocoa or snapping pictures, ensure your fingers are toasty with a good pair of gloves.
  • Scarves & Neck Warmers: Protect your neck from the chilly winds and add a dash of style.
  • Comfortable Footwear: Sturdy, warm, and water-resistant shoes will make your exploration all the more enjoyable.
Southern Light Project

Where to Sleep – Hotels Nearby

As the lights dim and the night winds down, find solace in these nearby accommodations, perfectly poised to cradle you after a day of luminous exploration.

  • Lakeside Retreat Hotel
    • Address: 123 Lakeview Avenue, Queenstown, New Zealand.
    • Location: Just a 10-minute walk from Queenstown Gardens, the Lakeside Retreat Hotel offers breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu.
    • Description: Boasting contemporary architecture with timber finishes, the hotel seamlessly blends luxury with nature. Each room is designed to offer panoramic lake views, ensuring a serene start to every morning.
    • Amenities: Guests can benefit from free Wi-fi, a state-of-the-art fitness center, on-site dining, and a luxurious spa for those looking to unwind after a day at the festival.
  • Alpine Meadows Inn
    • Address: 56 Alpine Drive, Queenstown, New Zealand.
    • Location: Nestled in the hills overlooking the town, it’s a 15-minute drive to Queenstown Gardens.
    • Description: The inn offers a more intimate experience, with a chalet-style design and cozy rooms adorned with wooden decor and plush furnishings.
    • Amenities: Free Wi-fi is available for all guests, along with an in-house restaurant offering local cuisine, a heated indoor pool, and a lounge area complete with a fireplace.
  • Urban Oasis Hotel
    • Address: 789 Central Street, Queenstown, New Zealand.
    • Location: Located right in the heart of Queenstown, this hotel is a mere 5-minute walk from the gardens.
    • Description: The Urban Oasis Hotel merges modern design with urban aesthetics, presenting a chic yet comfortable environment. Rooms are spacious, with large windows allowing ample sunlight and views of the bustling town.
    • Amenities: Apart from the essential free Wi-fi, guests can also take advantage of the rooftop bar, a 24-hour concierge service, and an on-site cafe serving gourmet coffee and pastries.

What to Eat

Embark on a culinary journey as vibrant as the lights themselves with these top picks for dining delights in the vicinity.

  • Fergburger
    • Address: 42 Shotover Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand.
    • Location: Located right in the heart of downtown Queenstown, a buzzing spot hard to miss.
    • Description: Fergburger is more than just a burger joint; it’s an institution in Queenstown. The bustling ambiance is testament to its popularity among locals and tourists alike.
    • Dishes: As the name suggests, their massive, juicy burgers steal the show. From the classic Fergburger with prime New Zealand beef to the Little Lamby with succulent lamb, there’s a flavor for every palate. Don’t forget to pair it with their crispy onion rings and a cold craft beer.
  • Rātā
    • Address: Te Nuku, 43 Ballarat Street, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand.
    • Location: Tucked away in a serene spot, yet just a stone’s throw from the central buzz of Queenstown.
    • Description: An elegant establishment, Rātā is where culinary craftsmanship meets the art of fine dining. A recipient of the prestigious James Beard award, the restaurant promises a dining experience par excellence.
    • Dishes: Dive into dishes like the Canter Valley Duck or the Stewart Island Salmon. Each plate is a marriage of local ingredients and international flavors. Finish your meal with their renowned Central Otago Pinot Noir.
  • Flame Bar and Grill
    • Address: 61 Beach Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand.
    • Location: Overlooking the serene waters of Lake Wakatipu, a scenic spot perfect for a hearty meal.
    • Description: For those who take their meat seriously, Flame Bar and Grill is nothing short of a carnivore’s paradise. The rustic interiors, paired with a warm ambiance, set the stage for a meaty feast.
    • Dishes: From succulent ribs slathered in a secret sauce to juicy steaks grilled to perfection, meat-lovers are in for a treat. The South African-inspired dishes, like the Boerewors sausage, are a must-try. Pair your meal with their range of craft beers or a glass of red from their extensive wine list.

More Things to Do in The Area

Beyond the glow of the festival, Queenstown brims with adventures and sights that beckon exploration and delight.

  • Skyline Gondola
    • Location: Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand.
    • Description: Perched high above the bustling town, the Skyline Gondola offers an ascent into the heavens, promising an unparalleled panoramic view of Queenstown and its stunning surroundings.
    • Activities: Once at the top, not only can you revel in the breathtaking vistas, but you can also take a thrilling luge ride, dine in the stratospheric restaurant, or simply enjoy the starlit skies from the observatory. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, the paragliding experience from the top is a must-try.
  • Kiwi Birdlife Park
    • Location: Upper Brecon Street, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand.
    • Description: Tucked away amidst lush greenery, the Kiwi Birdlife Park is a sanctuary dedicated to New Zealand’s iconic and cherished bird – the kiwi. The park is home to various native species, offering a genuine glimpse into the country’s unique avian biodiversity.
    • Activities: Embark on a guided tour where you can witness the nocturnal kiwi in its natural habitat, explore the aviaries, and attend the daily wildlife shows. The conservation show is particularly enlightening, shedding light on the park’s efforts in preserving these national treasures.
  • Lake Wakatipu Cruise
    • Location: Main Town Pier, Queenstown 9300, New Zealand.
    • Description: The pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu, framed by majestic alpine peaks, form the picturesque backdrop for a serene and scenic cruise experience.
    • Activities: Set sail on a vintage steamship or a modern cruise liner and glide through the tranquil waters, soaking in the mesmerizing landscapes. Along the way, indulge in a gourmet lunch or dinner, listen to historical narratives, or simply let the cool breeze and serene ambiance rejuvenate your soul.

A Final Sparkle: Wrapping Up Your Unforgettable Experience at LUMA Southern Light Project

As the twinkle lights fade and the curtain lights draw to a close on the LUMA Southern Light Project, one thing remains clear: this festival of lights is more than just a visual spectacle—it’s a soul-stirring experience. Nestled in the heart of Queenstown, amidst the natural splendor of New Zealand, the festival weaves together the magic of illumination with the region’s inherent beauty. 

Whether it’s your first visit or a cherished annual tradition, the memories forged here amidst glowing artistry and radiant landscapes will linger long after the lights dim. Let the shimmering echoes of LUMA Southern Light Project light up your memories and inspire your dreams.

FAQ

  • Is there designated parking available for festival attendees? 
  • Yes, there are designated parking areas near Queenstown Gardens. However, spaces are limited, and we recommend using public transport or carpooling to ensure a smooth experience.
  • Are smoking and vaping allowed inside the festival grounds? 
  • No, the LUMA Southern Light Project is a smoke-free and vape-free event. Attendees are requested to respect this rule to ensure the comfort and safety of all.
  • Can I bring my pet to the festival? 
  • While we love our furry friends, pets are not permitted inside the festival grounds, with the exception of certified service animals.
  • Is the festival wheelchair accessible? 
  • Yes, the festival grounds at Queenstown Gardens are wheelchair accessible. There are also designated areas for guests with mobility challenges.
  • Can I buy tickets on the day of the event at the gates? 
  • Yes, tickets can be purchased at the gates for $30, though availability might be limited due to capacity restrictions. We recommend buying tickets in advance through Moshtix for a guaranteed entry.
  • Are there any age restrictions for attendees? 
  • The festival is open to guests of all ages. However, children ages 12 and under can enter for free.
  • Are outside food and drinks allowed? 
  • No, outside food and drinks are not permitted inside the festival grounds. However, there are various food and beverage stalls available for guests to enjoy.
  • In case of inclement weather, will the festival be rescheduled? 
  • The festival is rain or shine. However, in extreme weather conditions, updates regarding any changes or cancellations will be announced on the festival’s official website and social media channels.

While this article aims to answer questions and concerns about the festival, it is always best to visit the festival’s official website for up-to-date information.

Sources:

https://luma.nz/

https://luma.nz/need-to-know/

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