Carnival FAQ's

When is this year’s event?

Friday, 21 June & Saturday, 22 June at First Church and Moray Place in Dunedin city.

Download programme information and map.

What’s this year’s theme?

Our 2024 theme is “Creatures of the Deep” which will celebrate the wonderful world of water and the fascinating creatures that live above and below the surface. From soaring albatross to terrifying taniwha.

Are there any changes this year?

This year we have worked on our Accessibility Plan, which notably brings in our Sensory Friendly Hour. Otherwise, our format is the same: a large amount of entertainment including live music, aerial performances, choirs, orchestras, dance troupes, face painting, projections, lantern processions, live painting, roving costumed performers and the Night Market! All of this alongside our incredible on theme lantern displays twinkling around the site.

What changes have been made in regard to accessibility?

We have endeavoured to make many changes to benefit our community, please see our Accessibility Plan page for details.

What’s happening when, what’s the schedule?

Download programme information and map.

The event will start at 6pm and run through to 9pm Friday and Saturday nights. There will be entertainment throughout the entire evening, so don’t fret about missing out.

What is ‘Sensory Friendly Hour’ ?

Sensory Friendly Hour is a new session per our accessibility plan. This session is an opportunity for those who are susceptible to crowds, loud music, flashing lights, or have accessibility needs, to still be able to enjoy the Carnival. This will take place on Saturday, 22 June, from 5-6 pm, though ticket holders will be welcome to stay past 6 pm to catch performances if they wish.

*Please see our Accessibility Plan for more details.

Is there an accessibility drop-off zone?

Yes. There will be an accessibility drop zone. This will be located at the entry to Moray Place via Princes Street (First Church side).

Is there an accessibility ticketing lane?

Yes, there will be a priority lane for those who hold a mobility card. This will be sign posted, and/or our volunteers will be able to direct you.

Is there an admission fee?

There is an entry charge of $10 adult and $5 child + booking fee per person (under three years are free). There is also a family ticket for $25 (2 adults, 2 children). This is required to cover event expenses, to pay artists and performers and to cover the cost of our lantern storage. See ticketing options on our ticketing page.

Is there a Pay-it-Forward option?

Yes, we are partnering with social service agencies to distribute free tickets to families who may need support to attend. More info and a link to the Pay-it-forward ticket is on our ticketing page.

When should I come to the Carnival?

When planning your evening for the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival we advise pre-booking a ticket, gate sales are not guaranteed. We ask that you please be sure to come at the right time for your allocated booking, this will help minimise wait times for everyone. If you come earlier than your allocated booking you may be sent to the back of the queue. 

We will operate two entry points at the front entrance of First church  and the Presbyterian Support driveway. 

Our early slots are the most popular, creating a bit more waiting time. To avoid longer wait times we would advise booking for our 8pm slot. Though we can appreciate that queuing is not ideal, this is a large-scale event, and there will be wait times. 

Please be aware our team is largely composed of volunteers, so your patience and kindness is greatly appreciated; they will be doing their best to get people through as quickly and efficiently as they can so everyone can have a magical time. 

Will the roads be closed?

Yes, there will be some road closures on the First Church section of Moray Place on both days of the event.

What if the weather is bad?

We will forge ahead in the case of drizzle. However, for extreme adverse weather conditions, we will postpone to the following weekend (June 28th and June 29th). Keep updated with our social media, newsletter and website for updates.

When and where are the Lantern Making Workshops?

These are held on the four weekends leading up to the Carnival at the Meridian Mall. More information can be found on the workshops page of the website.

Where and when can I book into a workshop and how much does it cost?

Once the bookings are open, you can visit our workshops page to book. This will take you to an online booking form. There is a cost of $15 per lantern.

Is there a lantern procession this year?

There will be two processions at 6.45pm and 7.45pm. The procession will be made of lanterns created in the Meridian Mall lantern workshops, existing larger lanterns and drummers. The procession will wind around the site with a new route extending onto the grassed areas.

Do I get free entry to the Carnival if I am in the lantern procession?

Yes, if you made a lantern and are in one of the processions. Your lantern is your ticket. Only those who made lanterns get free entry (one person per lantern). If you are accompanying your child, you will need to purchase a ticket. Tickets are available via our ticketing page, gate sales will be strictly limited so we recommend pre-purchase to guarantee your entry.

I’m participating in the lantern procession/parade, where do I go?

If you are participating in the processions please arrive roughly 10 minutes prior to the parade marshalling area.

Where is the parade marshalling area?

You can find the parade marshalling area near the night market. Look out for signage and volunteers in hi-vis.

Who makes the giant lanterns and costumes at the main event?

The Carnival Art Team. This is a talented bunch of artists, sewers, prop makers and choreographers who spend months creating beautiful new artworks and costumes and performances. We also work with many artists, performers and cultural groups in the wider community.

How do I enter the dress-up competition?

Come dressed in theme and receive a chocolate fish thanks to Gardens New World. To be in to win the main prizes please send a picture of yourself in costume at the carnival to

Thanks to Albatross Colony, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, and Tūhuru Otago Museum, multiple prizes are up for grabs.

How can I get involved?

We love volunteers! In fact we couldn’t run the event without them. We need dozens of volunteers each year to help run the event. See our volunteer page for more information on the different roles and to sign up. Our Volunteer Coordinator can be contacted on

What is the Dunedin Midwinter Carnival all about?

It is a community celebration of the winter solstice where we recognise the shortest day and the longest night, and the point at which the days lengthen and the light and warmth returns. We work with talented artists, community and cultural groups to tell stories that are relevant to who we are and where we live. See our About page for more.

Who runs the event and who funds it?

The event is run by a registered charity called Dunedin Midwinter Celebrations. There is a board of trustees who provide governance in a voluntary capacity. The event is primarily funded by the Dunedin City Council with the generous support of a range of funders and businesses. Please see our funders and sponsors page for more information.