Entertainment in South Island

  • Entertainment in Arrowtown

    Dorothy Browns

    This is what a cinema should be like: wide, ultra-comfortable seating with fine local wine, cheese boards and olives available to accompany the mostly art-house films on offer. Most screenings in the main theatre have an intermission – the perfect opportunity to tuck into a tub of gourmet ice cream. The cinema doubles as a neat little bookstore.

  • Entertainment in Christchurch

    Isaac Theatre Royal

    This century-old dear survived the quakes and emerged restored to full glory in 2014. Its heritage features are enjoyed by patrons venturing inside for everything from opera and ballet to contemporary theatre and rock concerts.

  • Entertainment in Wanaka


    How very Wānaka that an art-house cinema should adjoin an indoor climbing wall. Channelling a lush New York or Shanghai vibe, Ruby's has a whiff of cinema's glory days. Watch a movie from a reclining leather chair with a warming blanket over your knees, or just chill in the red-velvet lounge with local craft beers and wine or classic cocktails.

  • Entertainment in Christchurch

    Blue Smoke

    Adjacent to the Brewery in Woolston, Blue Smoke is Christchurch's best small live-music venue. There's often a folk, roots music or Americana vibe to the acts, but rock, rap and spoken word also sometimes feature. Top local musicians to look out for include the Eastern, and Lyttelton's finest, Marlon Williams and Delaney Davidson.

  • Entertainment in Te Anau

    Fiordland Cinema

    In between regular showings of the excellent Ata Whenua/Fiordland on Film (adult/child $12/6), essentially a 32-minute advertisement for Fiordland scenery, Fiordland Cinema serves as the local movie house.

  • Entertainment in Oamaru

    Oamaru Opera House

    First opened in 1907 and now beautifully restored to its original glory, Ōamaru's opera house hosts a variety of shows, including music, dance, theatre and comedy. The main auditorium seats 500-plus patrons under the stunning 1900s cupola and chandelier, while the smaller Inkbox theatre is home to more intimate performances.

  • Entertainment in Wanaka


    Sprawl on a comfy couch, or recline in a dentist's chair or an old Morris Minor at this Wānaka institution, screening the best Hollywood and art-house flicks. At intermission head to the lobby for freshly baked cookies (simply follow your nose), though the homemade ice cream is just as enticing.

  • Entertainment in Christchurch

    Court Theatre

    Christchurch's original Court Theatre was an integral part of the city's Arts Centre, but it was forced to relocate to this warehouse after the earthquakes. The new premises are much more spacious; it's a great venue to see popular international plays and works by NZ playwrights.

  • Entertainment in Queenstown


    The faux-Tudor motel architecture might have you expecting lutes and folk ballads, but the Sherwood is Queenstown's go-to spot for visiting musos. Many of NZ's bigger names have performed here; check the website for coming gigs. The food's great, too.

  • Entertainment in Nelson

    Theatre Royal

    Built in 1878, this charmingly restored heritage theatre hosts a full roster of local and touring drama, dance and musical productions. Check the website for the current programme or visit the box office.

  • Entertainment in Christchurch


    A hip combination of live-music venue and bar, Darkroom has lots of Kiwi beers and great cocktails. Live gigs are frequent – and frequently free.

  • Entertainment in Blenheim

    ASB Theatre Marlborough

    Opened in 2016, this large, modern theatre presents a wide programme of concerts and performances. Check the website to see what's on.

  • Entertainment in Christchurch

    Alice Cinema

    This delightful two-screen art-house cinema can be found within the long-standing and excellent Alice In Videoland DVD library.

  • Entertainment in Takaka

    Village Theatre

    Demonstrating, yet again, provincial NZ's commitment to quality viewing.

  • Entertainment in Dunedin

    Forsyth Barr Stadium

    Constructed for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, this is the only major stadium in NZ with a fully covered roof, and it holds 30,000 spectators. It's the home ground of the Highlanders Super 15 rugby team (www.thehighlanders.co.nz) and the Otago rugby team (www.orfu.co.nz), and also plays regular host to the All Blacks, international sporting matches, concerts and shows.

  • Entertainment in Christchurch

    Orangetheory Stadium

    After Lancaster Park was irreparably damaged during the 2011 earthquake, Canterbury Rugby Union shifted its home games to this smaller ground in Addington. The Crusaders play here from late February to July in the Super Rugby tournament, while from July to September, Canterbury plays in NZ's domestic rugby championship.

  • Entertainment in Oamaru

    Penguin Club

    Tucked down an atmospheric alley off a 19th-century street, the Penguin’s unusual location matches its acts: everything from touring Kiwi bands to punky/grungy/rocky/country locals. It's a members club (you can join at the door) and shows are intermittent (check www.facebook.com/thepenguinclub).

  • Entertainment in Dunedin

    Fortune Theatre

    The world’s southernmost professional theatre company has been staging dramas, comedies, pantomimes, classics and contemporary NZ productions for over 40 years. Shows are performed – watched over by the obligatory theatre ghost – in an old Gothic-style Wesleyan church.

  • Entertainment in Dunedin


    Dunedin’s premier live-music venue draws an eclectic mix of genres from noisy-as-hell punk to chilled reggae and gritty dubstep. It’s the venue of choice for visiting Kiwi bands and up-and-coming international acts.

  • Entertainment in Stewart Island (Rakiura)

    Bunkhouse Theatre

    Oban's comfy little theatre screens the quirky, cute 40-minute film A Local's Tail, which provides an entertaining overview of Stewart Island/Rakiura history and culture. Jaffas and DIY popcorn.