A gap year in New Zealand is all about having a blast and great places to party only makes it better. What we love about New Zealand’s nightlife is that it’s far more laid-back than some of the super clubs of the world. Expect relaxed dress-codes, restaurants floors that become dance floors after the last orders are taken, and local New Zealand-brewed beverages proudly served. (Find out more in 25 Awesome New Zealand Beers and 14 Drinks You Have to Try in New Zealand). So what are the biggest party cities in New Zealand?
While small towns like Queenstown have earned themselves the recognition of being the “Party Capital”, others have a super diverse party scene like Wellington and Christchurch. There are awesome bars and clubs to be found all over New Zealand, including Taupo, Rotorua, Hamilton, Wanaka and Invercargill, but if you are really looking for the night of your life, find it in these biggest party cities in New Zealand!
new Zealand Nightlife in 5 Cities
Here’s a super quick guide to the biggest party cities in New Zealand with just five cities:
Queenstown – the highest concentration of nightlife venues in the country
Wellington – most artsy nightlife in New Zealand
Auckland – easy to meet fellow backpackers
Christchurch – super contemporary venues
Dunedin – easy to meet locals
It’s the town that never sleeps! Queenstown is packed with adrenaline-filled activities by day and pumping bars and clubs by night. After the adventures you can have in Queenstown, there’s no better place to continue being high on life right into the early hours of the morning. Check out the full offerings in our Guide to Queenstown Nightlife.
Why we love to party in Queenstown
Queenstown might be a small town, but with a huge apres ski vibe for the winter season and clubs alive with live music all through the summer, Queenstown is definitely one of the biggest party cities in New Zealand. What’s more, the town has two ice bars and bar crawls happening almost every night of the week!
What kind of clubs and bars can you expect in Queenstown?
There’s a bit of everything in Queenstown from affordable backpacker bars to dancing-on-the-tables clubs to indie bars away from the mainstream. Just check out the following:
When you’re looking for an affordable hangover cure the next day, or some late-night eats, check out Cheap Eats in Queenstown.
It’s New Zealand’s “Cool Little Capital”! It comes as no surprise that the capital of New Zealand is one of New Zealand’s biggest party cities! From sophisticated cocktail joints to bars shamelessly blaring tunes from the ’90s, there’s certainly a mixed bag in Wellington.
Why we love to party in Wellington
Wellington really has a artsy and cultural vibe about it where you can try some proper Kiwi craft beers or even go to a comedy club at the beginning of the night.
What kind of bars and clubs can you expect in Wellington
Craft beer bars, Irish pubs, sports bars, waterfront cocktail bars, gay clubs, backpacker bars and nightclubs: Wellington really has it all. Find out more in our Guide to Wellington Nightlife.
Usually an arrival city for a backpacking trip or a gap year, Auckland has a buzzing nightlife which makes a great start to an adventure in New Zealand.
Why we love to party in Auckland
For backpackers, there are heaps of opportunities to meet fellow travellers, as Auckland is usually the first and last place people go to when backpacking in New Zealand. With backpacker bar crawls and awesome backpacker bars, there’s plenty of opportunity to grab some travel mates and get on the road together. Find out more about these bars in 9 Great Backpacker Bars in New Zealand.
What kind of Bars and Clubs can you expect in Auckland?
Being in New Zealand’s largest city, there is a bit of everything in Auckland from karaoke bars to pubs. Good party bars can be found in the Viaduct Harbour or check out the side streets off Queen Street for some real hidden gems. Find out more in 11 Awesome Bars in Auckland and our Guide to Auckland Nightlife.
Dunedin has a reputation for being a student city and where there’s students there’s an awesome nightlife!
Why we love to party in Dunedin
Dunedin is a great place to actually meet people from New Zealand, especially students in clubs like Monkey Bar, Urban Factory and 10 Bar. What’s more, Dunedin has an awesome independent music scene so if there was one place to experience live music in New Zealand, Dunedin would be it.
What kind of bars and clubs can you expect in Dunedin?
Dunedin’s nightlife mostly centres around The Octagon. There are small and quirky cocktail bars to more pub-style joints to get a true pint.