Sensationally lit structures dotted along the shores of Lake Wakatipu couldn’t have looked more picturesque amid Queenstown's beautiful setting, signalling the return of Luma Festival after last year's hiatus, due to COVID-19.
The Queenstown Botanical gardens could be seen glowing from afar with the showcase highlighting the work of artists from all around the country, drawing in huge crowds for a night of excitement for all ages over the long weekend.
The awe-inspiring wonderland of light displays complimented the natural beauty of the local landscape with performances, food and bars stalls, adding a bit of cosiness to the event.
With a mix of emerging and established artists showcasing lighting designs, the interactive elements entertained all ages across four nights over Queen’s Birthday weekend.
After launching in 2016, the event hosted 60,000 people through the gates - figures higher than 2019, pre-covid - a sure sign of endless possibilities for Luma's future.
Each night was overflowing with creativity with performances from singers, dancers and acrobatic performers while 90,000 coloured lights drew amazement from onlookers - with more than 500 artists, organisers and volunteers on hand to make the showcase come to life.
With little to no light pollution, each display was shining to its fullest potential, with the gardens hosting everything from large luminescent mushrooms to strobe lights crawling their way amongst the trees.
Lighting designer Angus Muir told Newshub a lot of work went into adding a unique vibrance to each element of the site and ensuring each artwork was are lit beautifully.
"Sometimes the pathways and environments are installations themselves," he says.
His team completes thousands of hours of prep alongside South Island Light Orchestra and Luma to plan the layout and how it all comes together.
"This year was two years in the making. We are particularly lucky we have been involved in many festivals around the world and can bring this knowledge to the table."
He says the event is special to him because of the serene and "absolutely pure" location.
"To see how it is developed and evolved into such a incredible event is super special. I think a long weekend in Queenstown during Luma is a treat.
"By night the festival to take in, epic restaurants and bars. During the day, it's a stunning region to explore."
He hoped audiences left with a sense of joy and felt inspired.
For the long weekend, domestic visitation to Queenstown was up almost 10 percent on pre-COVID visitor levels.
A Destination Queenstown spokesperson said it has been great to see the area is continuing to be a strong destination choice for Kiwis.