A short drive from Auckland lies an incredible coastline, including the Tapapakanga Regional Park, home of Splore - a festival like none other. Original, unique and fresh no matter your title; hipster, hippie, foodie, square etc you'll find something to celebrate.
New Zealand's answer to Burning Man, it's one part music festival, one part art installation and two parts incredible vibe - all rolled up in to a three-day extravaganza that spreads out across rolling grass fields, glampsites/campsites, a beach, rockpools, a plethora of music zones and so much more. The atmosphere is almost indescribable - almost - but rather than put into words, we thought a visual account might suffice.
There is literally so much to see and do at Splore that you often miss the trees for the overwhelming nature of the forest. There’s so much ‘big picture’ going on that the little things get missed - the local artist on the fourth stage, the storyteller tucked away during the afternoon, the incredible creativity scattered around the art trail, the Jamaican goat curry… to name just a few.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a must-see list of things you won’t want to miss at Splore 2015.
Yealands Living Lounge
It wouldn't be a Splore without culture of all forms, and the Yealands Living Lounge (and bar) provides just that, mixed with entertainment, activity and action for your Saturday night. From burlesque dancers, to theatre and a line-up of stellar artists, it's a fantastic spot to sample the best performances of Splore from a relaxed setting with a vino. That's if the beachside hills and multitude of other spots don't take your fancy...
Costumes and Characters
Splore has spurred a tradition of letting your alter ego free, and embracing your spirit in all the colours of the wind (in costume form) is highly encouraged - the larger the group the better. Although traditionally going full scale on Saturday evening, there's certainly room to branch out and make yourself part of the eclectic, colourful and vibrant backdrop and landscape. Your selfies were getting pretty beige, and Splore is the solution. Run wild child.
If you don't recognise the name, you will recognise the songs. The next Beyonce, Tinashe is blowing up the world - and whilst this emerging R&B artist might be a commercial meteor that is a little un-Splore-like, her dulcet, delicate and earnest tones will provide an incredible experience beachside in the moonlight. This is the raw performance you'll brag to friends about having seen before she's collaborating with Eminem and ASAP Rocky, so be sure to grab a photo. You heard it here first.
Did we mention there's a lot going on at Splore? It's best not to forget that at (part) of it's core we're talking a music festival - one geared to all manner of audience from the young to the old - reflected in the multi-zone goodness of the; Jägermeister DJ stage, Red Bull Art of Camping, Old Mout Beach House, Halletau’s main stage bar to watch the action from, Yealands Living Lounger Performance zone and (possibly the best bit) a fully programmed kids zone – Charlie’s Rumpus Room. Option is abound, and like many well programmed events, the joy of discovery is something that shouldn't be underestimated. Get on your feet, have a wander and who knows what you might discover.
Fresh Water Lagoon
Showers? A drag. Splore sidesteps this need (although the camp sites do have mobile shower facilities, but just saying...) with a creek-fed natural lagoon a short walk down the beach from the main stage. The right mix of smooth pebbles and cold water, there's no better way to invigorate yourself after a long night roaming the stages than plunging yourself in. The icing on the cake, the cliffs surrounding this pool combined with a deep hole make it perfect for god's greatest summer activity - sweet bombs. Just don't let yourself get outdone by a 6 year old.
This is a music festival on a beach. The main stage is on a beach. You can watch performers while sitting on a beach. Life does not get better than this.
Sunblock is essential, as is a pool toy. Embrace it, it's pretty much like Ibiza - just check out this guy.
Splore is a beacon of delicious, skillfully prepared, sometimes healthy/vegan/vegetarian stall prepared delights. Sure, you get the regular festie bits of hotdogs and burgers, but recent years have seen the more trendy outlets embrace this hub - so Food Truck Garage and Bird on a Wire all make an appearance. There is nothing better than a Korean BBQ chicken roll at 10am, except for two of them.
But beyond this is the array of global options, a cultural melting pot of diversity, to delight the taste buds and keep you sustained. There is something for everyone – organic, vegan, vegetarian and meat eaters, with my personal favourite being the Hungarian fried bread Langos, and the ever-incredible Jamacian goat curry.
The Art Trail
This is what keeps me coming back for more Splore. Well, the art trail and the whole experience, but the chance to explore a national park and discover by night and day a series of mind-warping creative expressions is the most fun you'll find in Aotearoa. No matter the hour, you'll find something to examine, ponder and reflect on by some of New Zealand’s top visual artists.
I can’t say to much about the art or we spoil the surprise, that and it changes every year, but be sure to check out Aqualand, a floating playground made from recycled materials by Aaron McConchie.
Mr Scruff is legendary, there's no other way to put it - and what could be better than him serving up a FIVE hour beachside set on the main stage?
Oh, that he's doing it at Splore. Scheduled for Sunday, it'll be worth the wait so pack a couple of extra muesli bars before you depart Auckland to keep those energy levels up. Don't expect a raging set, but given his predilection for eclectic musical taste, you can be guaranteed of a marathon mix up of electronica, trip hop, house, downtempo beats and a little bit else besides.