Does it not seem a little crazy that 24th December you shut down your computer for the Christmas holidays, yet you have to wait a whole week to get the party started? Hidden Valley to the rescue! This epic one-day festival sits midway between Christmas and New Year, giving you enough time to fully digest the roast and pavlova and enough distance from the 31st to not spoil the big night.
Hidden Valley gets the party started at Matakana’s popular Ascension Valley, where you party amid rolling hills and lush lawns, surrounded by the copious vines of one of the region’s finest drops. Say goodbye to FOMO as the one-stage format ensures you and your buddies stick together and your timetable is clash-free. With their finger on the pulse of any bass-heavy artists, organisers pull in heavyweights like Wilkinson and Sub Focus, as well as top NZ DJs that you’ll usually find hosting George FM. With 45-minute sets, you’re guaranteed an energetic pace, and the upgraded sound and production levels make this the best 27th December out there.
Tickets for Hidden Valley go on sale in August, with the usual early bird pricing. There are only 3,000 and it will sell out so be in quick. There are no VIP tickets, which creates a more inclusive vibe (unless you’re under 18, and you might be staying home eating two-day-old turkey with your Nan). Forget your most sparkly party outfit, this is a come-as-you-are event with no dress code, and the crowd is more mid-twenties to early-thirties than trashed teenyboppers. If the weather is looking unpredictable or you have a large bag, there’s a coat check on site.
Tunes kick off from 3pm, flowing through to 10pm. If seven hours of partying is a little lightweight for you, there is a pre-party at Impala the day before. Hidden Valley is fully licensed so leave your own drinks and food at home and there are local food trucks on site for a feast. But do remember to bring an empty water bottle to rehydrate for free. The old-school cash-is-king or EFTPOS mentality reigns here. And do note that the bar stops serving at 9pm - due to council stipulations.
If you managed to escape a suburban Christmas (and Uncle Nigel’s awesomely repetitive yuletide tales), you’ll likely be hanging at a cool beachside bach. If you’re close to Warkworth, Omaha, Leigh Sawmill, Snell’s Beach or Auckland, there are buses to get you to Hidden Valley. These typically head to the festival 3-5pm, returning 10-11pm. Pre-load (a little) before you leave, as the bus is booze-free. Bus tickets sell quickly; though if you miss out, there is a taxi stand outside the venue and limited parking for $10.
IN THE DARK
Hidden Valley is only 40 minutes out of Auckland so it’s easy to reach from the city. If you have more time up your sleeve to enjoy the area, book a holiday home on Bookabach or Airbnb. If you’re well known for your stamina, consider combining Hidden Valley with nearby Northern Bass two days later and make a real party out of it.
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
For Matakana road trip add-ons, both the Brick Bay Wine and Sculpture Trail or the newly opened Sculptureum for art, food, and wine are worth a visit. Snap away on Insta to make you seem cultured before you throw down your biggest rave face at Hidden Valley. If you’re looking for a secluded beach spot (and maybe some dolphins) for post-event recuperation, check out the beautiful, wild Pakiri Beach.