Want to know what you should pack for a holiday to Queenstown? 

In general, you'll want to prepare for adventure and discovery and even if you aren’t planning on hiking or camping, that means adaptable clothing that you can move in easily. Sturdy footwear is a good idea as there are lots of opportunities to get off the beaten track in Queenstown. Solid footwear that is comfortable for walking in is a good idea.

New Zealand is generally a reasonably informal place, so smart casual clothes will be appropriate for most places you want to go, apart from high-end upmarket restaurants and bars.

Packing for the weather in Queenstown

While New Zealand has a largely temperate climate, the South Island and particularly inland Queenstown can be as cold as -10°C in the winter months due to the alpine environment. Rainfall is moderate and sunshine hours are long but the continental-like climate means long, hot summers and cool, crisp winters.

The warmest months in Queenstown are December, January and February, and the coldest are June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20 to 30ºC and in winter between -2 to 8 ºC. It pays to learn more about Queenstown's seasons and weather and plan your packing with these temperature extremes in mind.

In summer you may fancy a dip in one of the many lakes, so pack your ‘togs’ (kiwi for swimsuit). The lakes and rivers are mountain and glacially fed so the temperature stays chilly (between 8 - 11ºC) year-round.

People enoying a wine on the balcony of Nest Kitchen and Bar overlooking the snow-covered Remarkables mountain rangeNest Restaurant and Bar, Fernhill

Packing for exploring the outdoors

If you plan to get out and about in the great outdoors in Queenstown there are a few things to know.

If you are travelling in the summer months it’s a good idea to pack loose-fitting clothing, this will help you to keep cool. However, as Queenstown is an alpine region you can encounter cold weather any time of the year – and it’s not uncommon to experience four seasons in one day here! A good way to prepare for this is to wear two or three thin layers of clothing, rather than one heavy layer. Fabrics such as merino wool are good insulators and great for layering and it’s important to pack wet weather gear if you are heading into the outdoors.

In the winter months, Queenstown gets cold, with temperatures dropping into the negatives regularly. Although snow generally stays on the mountains and doesn't often reach the downtown area. While all gear can be purchased or rented once you get here, it pays to have layers, a warm jacket, gloves and hat for your arrival.

Planning a trip to the slopes? It's easy to hire ski and snowboard equipment in Queenstown, but it pays to book in advance. Check out our Queenstown Ski Holiday Gear Guide for more information.

Before you set off into the outdoors, no matter the time of year, familiarise yourself with the Department of Conservation's Outdoor Safety Code. Head to their site for up-to-date track information and safety alerts for areas that may be experiencing changes, weather warnings and any permits or licenses you might require.

It also pays to check out the Adventure Smart website which has tips, links and advice for you to plan and prepare for any activity safely, and for any level of ability.

People walking through native bush on the Routeburn TrackRouteburn Track Nature Walk

With these useful tips in hand, you're ready to start planning a fun and safe holiday in Queenstown.