If orange is the new black and Thursday is the new Friday, then festival newcomer Bay Dreams is making January 2nd the new New Year’s Eve. Returning to beach-babe central, Mount Maunganui, this is the only way to extend your NZ NYE experience.
Originally created as a 1-day hangover party, Bay Dreams escalated from 6,000 to 18,000 attendees in just one year. Forget nursing a hangover, kick off the New Year partying in style! Held at the Baypark Stadium, the event proudly brings big-name artists such as DJ Snake, Yelawolf and Pendulum to NZ. Consider Bay Dreams an invitation to grab your mates and take a road trip to the hottest new festival on the circuit.
While it’s only in its infancy, Bay Dreams looks to key international festivals for inspiration. Expect tight production levels at the main stage, cool extras like funfair rides, and party-hard vibes from the crowd. Tickets go on sale in August: buy early as hype in 2017 demanded that 3,000 tickets be added.
The warm up party is day one, new years day - though don’t let that slow you down - and day two is the main event, with banger tunes playing from 10am-2am. Set across four stages, including a 360 indoor arena, you’ll find exclusive talent that won’t be on the NZ NYE festival circuit.
Bay Dreams is 18+ so bring ID for the improved bar area (fewer lines, whoop!) Reports of a dedicated bar for sober drivers have been well received, plus there are water refill stations to combat the summer heat. The festival is cashless using the AWOP system, so you don’t have to stress about losing your dollars.
Getting 18,000 peeps in and out of any event can be challenging, and while a new traffic management system will speed things up, it doesn’t hurt to get your crew organised. Buses, shuttles, and taxis operate, though there can be a wait if not pre-booked. It’s not recommended to walk to your place as it’s down the main highway but if you do, cross at crossings only and be respectful of the locals. Oh and please ensure your driver is sober before setting off as there will be lots of police checkpoints.
If you take your partying seriously, you’ll want to nab passes for the Dream City campground. With a capacity of 4,500, you’ll get a spacious area to pitch your tent, exclusive campground entertainment and 4,498 new friends. Buy the two-night pass to get the full camping vibes. As with any camping festival, leave the glass, booze and tent mallets at home – the latter can be borrowed to get your camp set up.
ROAD TRIP VIBES
Mount Maunganui is an accessible drive from Auckland with two main routes. Drive via Matamata for the Hobbiton movie set, or detour from Waihi to Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel. Don’t miss the Instagrammable Te Hoho Rock at Cathedral Cove.
If you’re heading north from the Wellington area, Taupo is a must-see on the way up and your body will thank you for a stop off at the hot springs in Rotorua on your way home.
If you’re keen to keep it local, the white sandy beaches of Mount Maunganui provide a dope spot for you and your buddies to hang. Get adventurous on a dolphin-watching cruise or visit the dramatic falls at Kaiate.
For the die-hards - if you’ve the stamina for a solid five days of partying, combine Rhythm and Vines with Bay Dreams - it’s only 3.5 hours from Gisborne to the Mount. Game?