Lonely Planet Writer

Get your wellies ready - Mudtopia comes to New Zealand in December

Fans of mud – and music – will be thrilled that Rotorua in New Zealand is to hold the southern hemisphere’s first Mudtopia Festival from 1-3 December this year.

Mudtopia coming to New Zealand.
Mudtopia coming to New Zealand.

The three-day festival is currently seeking international headliners to perform at the inaugural festival. Festival directors Scott Rice and Simon Brady describe Mudtopia as being uniquely New Zealand and a festival designed with something for everyone. “As well as the mud stage and mud arena, there will be mud sports, mud pools, mud obstacle courses, a mud run and a dedicated mud zone for kids,” Mr Rice says. “When you’re not in the mud or chilling out in front of the stage enjoying the music and entertainment, you can check in to a day spa treatment or check out one of the other interesting exhibitors on site.”

A post shared by Mudtopia Festival (@mudtopia) on Mar 27, 2017 at 11:16am PDT

Their vision for Mudtopia is to create a “playful sensory experience that awakens the world to Rotorua and the world of mud, by enabling people to get muddy and unleash their inner child”. Rotorua mayor, Steve Chadwick, says the concept of an international mud festival for the city was first developed more than ten years ago, but has gained traction in recent years through a growing relationship with its sister event in Boryeong City, South Korea. In order to assist this, professor Gang Hoan Jeong, inventor of Boryeong Mud Festival, came to Rotorua and advised Mudtopia based on his 20 years of experiences with the Korean mud festival.

A post shared by Mudtopia Festival (@mudtopia) on Apr 5, 2017 at 4:11pm PDT

Rotorua mud is extremely high in minerals, particularly silica, due to its contact with natural geothermal and mineral waters that come from deep within the earth. This high mineral content ensures the mud stores heat easily when warmed, making it ideal for wellness treatments – as well as for the activities planned for Mudtopia. Rotorua is a 2.5 hour drive or a 40 minute flight from Auckland. As well as geothermal mud, it’s also famous for its Māori cultural experiences and world-class mountain-cycling park.

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