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Aerial view of Arrowtown in Autumn

Aerial view of Arrowtown in Autumn

A Season to Celebrate

Reds, oranges, golds: Queenstown and the surrounding hillsides, lakeshores, parks blaze into spectacular colours in autumn.

Reds, oranges, golds: Queenstown and the surrounding hillsides, lakeshores, parks blaze into spectacular colours in autumn. It’s been this way for 150 years, since the first settlers planted poplar trees to protect and nourish the land they had cleared to create farms, and to remind them of the homes they had left on the other side of the world. Today’s Queenstown takes advantage of this most beautiful of seasons, wooing visitors to New Zealand’s premier getaway destination with festivals to celebrate the region’s food, wine and artisan produce as well as to indulge in the artistic side of its nature, too.

One of the longest-running parties in the district has to be Arrowtown Autumn Festival, created in 1985. The town lets its hair down with events produced "by the people for the people’, revolving around the district’s gold mining and farming history. More than 30 years on, the only thing that’s changed is the large number of visitors who turn up for the street parade featuring the Miner’s Band and can can troupe, the Buckingham Belles, among 50 events over 10 days.

Gibbston Valley winemakers traditionally mark the end of their grape harvest with a party showcasing, yes, wine but also their cheeses, stonefruits, meats and craft beer.

Held in the stunning lakeside Queenstown Gardens, it celebrates the best of the local landscape, too. Wine masterclasses and artisan food stalls provide a chance for visitors to mix with locals and producers and experience the region’s famous hospitality.

Light sculptures play off the lake surface and mountainsides in Luma, the brightest nights of Queenstown’s year. The festival, based in the Queenstown Gardens, with pop-up arts events around the downtown area, creates a stunning spectacle at sunset over four nights in June.  

Michael Hill

For the classically minded, the world’s finest young musicians come to town every two years to compete in the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, recognised as one of the world’s finest such contests. From 140 applications representing 32 countries, judges have selected 16 musicians to compete at this year’s event.

The Queenstown Gardens in autumn

At this time of year, though, one of the region’s finest shows is the landscape, and those trees. Some of the most colourful sites – and sights – are the Queenstown Gardens, The Crown Range and Glenorchy but you’ll find the richest foliage in Arrowtown and nearby Lake Hayes during April.

Queenstown annual autumn events highlights:

Arrowtown Autumn Festival
April
arrowtownautumnfestival.co.nz

Michael Hill International Violin Competition 
June
violincompetition.co.nz

LUMA
June
luma.nz

 

For more information on what's on in Queenstown visit our events calendar.

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