Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says there is plenty happening on and off the field to entertain Wellingtonians and visitors throughout the weekend.
"We're expecting huge crowds down at the waterfront to visit the Navy ships, watch games at the Rugby Village FANZONE and take part in Festival of Carnivale events such as a rural weekend - not to mention visit the newly opened ice rink on Queens Wharf.
"Wellington is really going to turn it on. We are urging people to plan their transport carefully, especially around the waterfront area, and to expect some congestion along waterfront streets."
From today, the largest fleet of Royal New Zealand Navy ships that Wellington's ever hosted will start arriving to mark the Navy's 70th anniversary.
Mayor Wade-Brown says the ships will be an impressive sight for rugby fans walking along the waterfront to games at the Stadium.
"Having the Navy ships in town will add to the wonderful carnival atmosphere this weekend."
The frigate Te Kaha and sea-lift ship Canterbury will be among those berthed close to the Rugby Village FANZONE at Taranaki and Queens wharves. There will be open days on Saturday and Sunday which will give people the chance to get on board. On Saturday at 12 noon 400 sailors will parade down Lambton Quay from Parliament to Civic Square.
Also at Waitangi Park and Frank Kitts Park this weekend there will be a rural weekend with sheep dog trials, shearing, wood chopping and sheep racing. The Baa Blacks - eight sheep dressed in black rugby-style jerseys - will race over 80 metres on Saturday to raise money for Wellington Free Ambulance.
There will be a rolling road closure around the Navy parade and roads will be closed around Wellington Regional Stadium, leading up to and after the two Rugby World Cup matches - same as for previous games.
Other Festival of Carnivale highlights this weekend include:
- Bands to hit the FANZONE include The Velvet Regime and The Phoenix Foundation tonight, Tommy and the Fallen Horses on Friday night, The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra, New Caledonian hip hop company Posue will perform their show Well'Come on Saturday and Hollie Smith on Sunday night, after Jedi's Stage Show.
- The one-off Miromoda Fashion extravaganza is on Friday at Queens Wharf (2.30pm and 7.30pm). The event, part of the REAL New Zealand Festival, will include a contemporary catwalk show featuring pieces by Māori fashion designers.
- Head along to the Town Hall and Civic Square this Saturday and experience the Pacific. A living, breathing Pacific arts village will bring together stunning visual and performance arts, craft, and food.
- Come and watch a 'mural in the making' as a large contemporary artwork will be constructed from tape on the side of Te Papa. Artists will have three days to create a mural from Friday to Sunday with it being 'ripped down' on Monday - so make sure you see it while it lasts.
- The RNZAF Red Checkers flying team is set to thrill the waterfront crowds with their brilliant aerobatic display on Sunday afternoon at 2.35pm - just before the All Blacks v Canada match.
- Wellington favourites Batucada will lead people to the Stadium from the Rugby Village FANZONE for the All Blacks match.
- The Wintergarden Ice Skating Rink on Queens Wharf opens this Friday for one month so get your skates on.
We have over 150 events taking place in and around Wellington during the Festival of Carnivale. For more detailed information:
Festival Events - Wellington Rugby World Cup 2011 website