1. Access to not one, but four ski fields
Forget having to ski at the same ski field all week long. With a long ski season and four world-class ski areas, Queenstown’s the best ski destination in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Coronet Peak (20 mins from Queenstown, with plenty of fun terrain that looks over some of the most beautiful views New Zealand has to offer).
- The Remarkables (40 mins from Queenstown, and three north-facing bowls to ski and explore).
- Cardrona (an hour from Queenstown, with a combined gondola-chairlift, four terrain parks and the most reliable snowfall conditions of any resort in the area).
- Treble Cone (1.5 hrs from Queenstown and some of the more challenging terrain to be found in New Zealand for those who like to ski hard).
2. Unique skiing experiences
So, you’re a little bored of skiing in resort? Tired of riding the chairlift? Got a little cash to spend on a more interesting experience? Take a day off from resort and opt in for one of the heli-skiing and cat skiing adventures on offer in Queenstown.
Experience your own private ski area, at the exclusive Soho Basin. Ride a snowcat to the top of pristine runs with tremendous vistas, before a three-course lunch matched with wines, from Amisfield, served al fresco on the deck of an alpine hut.
Stroll through Queenstown to find a heli ski operator. Southern Lakes Heli Ski, Harris Mountains, Alpine Heli Ski and Over The Top Heli skiing can all talk you through their itineraries and fly you off to a day of fun in incredible off-piste powder.
3. Action-packed down days
Taking a break from the slopes in most ski towns can be a little dull – but Queenstown has more options on offer than anywhere else you’ll go.
Adrenaline junkies will love sky-diving, bungy jumping or jet boating through the river, while families can opt for taking a spin on the luge, exploring an underwater observatory or trying to bust out of the escape room.
Not enough? Book into a massage, talk your friends into braving a haunted house, or go ice-skating on an indoor ice-skating rink.
Dining in winter
4. Food, glorious food
Queenstown redefines delicious. Some of the world’s best burgers, steaks, pizzas, pastas, bakeries and seafood can be found in town, with every possible cuisine accounted for from fine dining to carnivores, the famed burger joint and even Polynesian.
Wineries and brew bars offer another dimension to your Queenstown dining experience. Think wood fired pizzas, platters and petanque at the Cargo Brewery cellar door in Gibbston Valley, to seasonal cuisine served in a cosy historic cottage at Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan.
Be sure to book ahead for your favourite picks. Or simply spend a couple of nights wandering around town and choosing where to eat based on what looks – and smells – the best.
Sundeck Rooftop Lounge Bar
5. Epic après-ski with cocktails, wine, beer and everything in between
If you’re in the mood for a drink or two – or even looking for a whole week’s worth of debauchery – you’ve chosen the right place. For its geographical size, Queenstown has a serious amount of bars, clubs and pubs to choose from, with everything from a cowboy-themed bar, complete with mechanical bull, to hole-in-the-wall hidden bars with extensive spirits and local wines.
Winter views over Queenstown
6. Million-dollar views, everywhere
Even if you’re not generally the type of person that exercises on holidays, Queenstown may just change you. With glorious Lake Whakatipu on show right in the middle of town, and surrounded by mountain scenery, you’ll want to take a stroll and lap it all up – or take the Skyline gondola for a bird’s eye view, day or night.
Shopping on Mall Street
Queenstown has to be one of the only spots in the world where you can find a kiwi fashion chain store right next to a souvenir shop selling stuffed alpacas. Even if you’re not a shopper, it’s worth a stroll through town to pick up bits and pieces along the way, even if it’s just a postcard of the ridiculously good views.
Pride in the Park
8. A packed lineup of winter events
Queenstown’s winter calendar is packed with activities. The world’s best adventure films and authors come to town for the NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival. Top climbers flock to icy rock faces for The Remarkables Ice & Mixed Festival. And the town gets its party on at Winter Pride, the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest pride festival.
9. Easy to get to
You’re short on time. We get it. Who isn’t? Luckily, Queenstown is serviced by an international airport just minutes away from the centre of town. Doesn’t matter where you are in New Zealand. Leave home in the morning, and you’ll be on the slopes by lunchtime. And if you’re flying in from Australia, there are regular direct flights from the east coast.
10. Legendary snow
We couldn’t finish off a Snowsbest post without mentioning the snow. The ski resorts surrounding Queenstown make up the largest combined skiable terrain in the Southern Hemisphere and enjoy a lengthy season from June to October, with great snow conditions thanks to their positioning in New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
And even if the snow gods aren’t smiling on the town, the resorts have the best in snowmaking facilities to ensure there’s white stuff on the ground throughout the season. There’s even night skiing for those that just want to keep on skiing.
Want to know more about skiing and snowboarding around Queenstown? Click here.