New Zealand’s New Year zest

If you missed the New Year celebrations in New Zealand, don't worry as there's still plenty of things to do across the country in January, from comedy to cuisine and plenty in between, you'll be hard pressed to find nothing to do in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

David Ferrer
David Ferrer will look to defend his title at
the 2012 Heineken Open in Auckland.

If you can't quite make it to Melbourne for the Australian Open, the Heineken Open in Auckland is the premier men's tennis event in New Zealand. Held from the 9th to the 14th of the month, some of the biggest names in tennis grace the hardcourts. Current world number 5 David Ferrer is the reigning champion after beating Argentine David Nalbandian in straight sets in the 2011 final.

If you're looking for a little exhilaration and exercise this January, (possibly part of a faltering New Year's Resolution) the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series comes to Wellington on the 29th of January. The State Capital Classic Wellington takes places on Freyberg Beach and Oriental Bay Beach and features a new 'I'm Going Long' swim which takes swimmers out to a lighthouse in the bay while the 'Step It Up' swim for the more advanced swimmer takes you out around a giant fountain. If you're not the most confident swimmer, you can take part in the 'Give it a Go' swim or alternatively, not swim at all and instead participate in some of the more relaxing spectators' walks around the area.

If just the thought of watching sport tires you out, let alone taking part and you prefer the tastier things in life, the Auckland Seafood Festival held right in the end of the month should be more than enough with not just the best seafood but also musical acts and competitions set in the heart of Auckland's fishing industry.

Slowing things down a little, the incredible rise to fame of New Zealand folk-comedy duo the Flight of the Conchords has seen the New Zealand folk music scene explode in popularity. The Auckland Folk Festival takes place between the 27th and the 30th of January at the Kumeu Showground, a large flat camping area which makes for the ideal festival site. Folk acts from around the world come to the festival and, with tickets only on advanced sale until January 13th, fans need to move quick to secure their place.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor with the New Zealand Visa Bureau, an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people lodge applications for a Working Holiday Visa to New Zealand.