1. Explore our four ski fields
The closest Queenstown ski fields are Coronet Peak and The Remarkables. Both are managed by NZSki, who take great care of our mountain playgrounds. They run biodiversity initiatives across both ski areas and they aim to be carbon neutral by 2030.
- Coronet Peak is Queenstown’s closest ski area, an easy 20-minute drive from downtown. There are fantastic on-mountain facilities, state-of-the-art snowmaking and night skiing (more on this thrill below). They’re also planting thousands of native trees as part of the Coronet Peak Restoration Project, which aims to reforest the mountain with over a million trees.
- The Remarkables Ski Area is a true alpine experience a 45-minute drive from central Queenstown. Perfect for the whole family, beginners, novices, advanced skiers and boarders all flock to the sunny north-facing bowls. NZSki also partners with The Kea Conservation Trust to protect New Zealand’s much-loved mountain parrots. They monitor the small kea population in the Remarkables, while their revegetation and pest control projects aim to make the mountains a safe environment for native birds.
A little further away, towards Wānaka, Cardrona and Treble Cone are managed by RealNZ. They have a big focus on waste management to reduce their impact. They’re also investing in more energy-efficient transport and snow grooming, revegetation, predator control, and supporting wildlife.
- ·Cardrona Alpine Resort is in the Cardrona Valley, just over an hours’ drive from Queenstown. Well known for its extensive terrain park facilities and a range of different cafes and on-mountain accommodation, the resort feels like a small village.
Further down the road, you can reach Treble Cone Ski Area from Queenstown in around an hour and a half. Treble Cone is the largest ski area in the South Island making it a favourite with skiers and boarders alike.
2. Try night skiing for an experience you'll never forget
Coronet Peak is the only ski area in New Zealand with night skiing. Not only is night ski a fun experience, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to meet and mingle with the locals, who love to hit the slopes under the spotlights after their day at work.
After a day exploring the region, grab an early dinner downtown, hop on the bus to Coronet Peak, then hit the slopes at sunset and claim another day’s worth of skiing as you carve up the slopes under the Milky Way. Take time to enjoy a few drinks, take in the live music and DJs, and talk to other skiers around the fire.
Nights on the slopes start late June (subject to conditions), and run Wednesday and Friday nights until late August, with bonus Saturday night skis over the July school holidays.
Coronet Peak, Night Ski
3. Experience vibrant Queenstown nightlife
Hang up your skis for the day and head to the waterfront to check out Queenstown's nightlife. Choose from stylish bars, sophisticated clubs, kiwi pubs, and craft beer bars. Queenstown’s après-ski atmosphere is second to none. There’s a steaming, fragrant mulled wine here waiting for you.
- Be sure to try the iconic local pinot noir that has put Queenstown wine on the maps and in the glasses of savvy wine lovers around the world since the 1980s. famous for its fresh fruit aromas and crisp minerality, Central Otago pinot is a treat with food, or as a drop to savour on its own.
- The craft beer scene in Queenstown has proliferated over the last few years, with a line-up of creative brewers doing interesting things with local ingredients. With seven breweries, three craft beer pubs, and a craft beer tour, don’t miss the chance to sample a local brew or two.
- Check out local events and nightlife. From live music to open mic nights, art openings and festivals, there’s always something going on, and there’s no better way to make friends with the locals. Check out our events calendar to find out what’s going on in Queenstown this winter.
4. Sightseeing is a must in such a beautiful region
The Queenstown region stretches all the way from Gibbston’s dry, golden rocky Central Otago landscapes to Glenorchy’s lush green bush and towering mountains. A drive from Gibbston, through Queenstown and to Glenorchy is one of the most spectacular and scenic drives you can do in the South Island, especially in winter with the Whakatipu Basin surrounded by snow-capped mountain peaks.
Take in the beautiful landscapes on an unforgettable sightseeing adventure with these suggestions for winter sightseeing highlights.
- If you want to explore the region under your own steam, you can hire an EV from Go Rentals, Snap or Europcar and hit the road. Or take a tour with a local guide. Some offer tours by Tesla, and all will be able to enrich your experience with tales of people and places.
- Biking and walking are still possible in winter. There may be snow on the mountain peaks, but the valley floor stays snow-free for most of winter. Some trails can be muddy and unstable at this time of year, so check the conditions before you go. Check out our guides to cycling and hiking, which include seasonal suggestions for trails.
- Extend your stay, so you can explore the region at your leisure. After a few nights in Queenstown, head to Arrowtown, Gibbston, Glenorchy or Kingston for a night or two. We’re also the gateway to Fiordland, one of the Southern Hemisphere’s great wilderness regions with World Heritage Status.
- Knowing the stories of an area always makes a visit more memorable. Start your Queenstown winter activities in Arrowtown at the Lakes District Museum, try gold panning, or take a heritage tour to learn about Queenstown’s rich history along the way.
Glenorchy Red Shed @the_cornishpixie
5. Rest and relaxation to replenish your body and soul
Queenstown offers massages and relaxing treatments in serene settings, and hot pools in the midst of awe-inspiring natural beauty. If you’re more of an active relaxer, Queenstown yoga studios are the perfect place to stretch and recharge. And if you’re seeking full immersion replenishment, try our celebrated lodges and wellness retreats, many of which are set in the most beautiful locations.
Taking time to connect with your body in nature brings so many wellbeing benefits. In Queenstown, many of these relaxing activities are run by people passionate about preserving the natural beauty of our region. By supporting these businesses, you’re not only giving yourself the gift of slowing down, nurturing yourself, and taking time to be in the moment, you’re also helping us care for this place.
Nugget Point Day Spa
6. Experience Queenstown's famous food and wine scene
When it comes to eating out, Queenstown’s award-winning cafés and restaurants pack a delicious bite. Queenstown is home to a huge range of different restaurants with everything from fine dining to takeaway burger joints.
- Queenstown offers extraordinary food experiences which speak to the produce and people that shape the Queenstown food scene. From a degustation feast to our farmers' markets, seek out immersive food moments to remember.
- Meet the chefs behind some of Queenstown’s top restaurants, raise a glass with celebrated local winemakers, take a craft beer tour to hear from local brewers, or hang out with a local gin maker.
- Kiwi cuisine is the ultimate fusion food experience, as our unparalleled fresh local produce meets the melting pot of our bi-cultural society, where waves of immigrants from around the world have brought their regional flavours to the table laid by tangata whenua, the Māori people of the land. Fine dining in Queenstown allows you to explore some fine examples of modern Kiwi cuisine.
- The story of wine in Queenstown started way back in the 1860s when a Frech gold miner planted the first grapes and built a winery. But things didn’t take off until the 1980s, when a cluster of intrepid locals broke away from regional farming traditions to plant the first modern vines and produce the mighty Central Otago pinots the region is famous for today. Head out to Gibbston to explore the cellar doors for yourself, or do a wine-tasting tour.
The Nest Kitchen and Bar
7. Bring the kids for winter family fun
Queenstown is a tremendous place to visit with your kids. Family-friendly activities in Queenstown include getting outdoors learning about the region with kid-friendly sightseeing, and exploring fun, enriching, educational experiences.
Shared family outdoor winter adventures include The Queenstown Hill Time Walk up Te Tapunui, which introduces you to different time periods in Queenstown’s history and gives you brilliant views. Explore the Queenstown Gardens and play a round of frisbee golf before checking out the beach playground off Marine Parade. Or hire bikes and ride out along the lake shore on the wide family-friendly trails.
Family-friendly sightseeing includes the sightseeing pass at Coronet Peak and the Remarkables. Take a gondola ride to the summit for spectacular views out over the Whakatipu basin. Build snowmen together or hire a toboggan and hurtle down the hill in the snow play area. Other popular sightseeing options for families include steamship or boat cruises on the lake, and farm tours.
Many activities offer the opportunity for your kids to learn more about Queenstown, meet local experts, or try their hand at a new skill.
- Ziptrek Ecotours combines an exhilarating zipline adventure with stories about local ecology and conservation.
- K Jet’s Time Tripper travels back millions of years, telling the story of the creation of Lake Whakatipu and the Māori legend of the lake.
- Kiwi Park is eight acres of forest wildlife sanctuary in the heart of Queenstown where kids can learn about conservation efforts and see endangered species.
- At Buzzstop Bee & Honey Centre, kids can try their hand at being a beekeeper, and bottle their own honey, while learning about bees and beekeeping.
- Te Atamira, the community arts and culture space in Frankton hosts exhibitions, performances, and events, while resident artists offer workshops and classes.
Night Luging, Skyline
8. Celebrate culture and connect with locals at Queenstown events
Queenstown's winter calendar is packed full of events that showcase the best of our place, from art installations to music festivals on the slopes. Celebrate culture, connect with locals and fuel your appetite for adventure. Queenstown winter event highlights include:
- LUMA Southern Light Project: Held over King's Birthday weekend, LUMA is a sensory experience bringing together illuminated art, light sculpture, performance and community over four days in the Queenstown Gardens.
- Winter Pride: The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest pride festival, held from late August to early September.
- Winter Games: The biggest snow sports event in the Southern Hemisphere, held from late August to early September.
- Snow Machine: Skiing, music, accommodation and adventure. Four days of après events at The Remarkables, Coronet Peak and in Queenstown in September.
Explore what's on in Queenstown this winter here. If you’d like to show your love for Queenstown, connect with locals and contribute to a better future for our place and our people, you can check out opportunities to volunteer for local projects here.
LUMA Southern Light Project
9. Gear up for the cold
As you pack for your Queenstown winter adventure, do you need new gear, or can you hire it from Queenstown snow gear shops or borrow it from a mate? You can rent everything you need here from our knowledgeable locals, who’ll sort you out with gear, give you advice on where to hike, bike, ski, and eat, as well as spinning you some righteous yarns about their own adventures.
This Queenstown ski holiday gear guide is a guide to packing for the Queenstown winter, along with a directory of Queenstown ski shops where you can get yourself kitted out for the season. As you pack your woolly layers, don’t forget your reusables. Bring your water bottle, a reusable cup, a container for takeaway food, some reusable cutlery, and a lightweight fold-down shopping bag or two for the farmers market and those bottles of Central Otago wine.
Snowsports gear hire at Small Planet
10. Get your blood pumping with an adrenaline fix
If you’re wanting an adrenaline fix, Queenstown is the place to be. Many adrenaline activities were actually first invented here. Today, many of Queenstown’s famous adventures are pushing new boundaries by giving back to people and place.
Explore a new generation of adventure firsts; activities on a journey to give back to the environment and the local community. These richer experiences are even more fun for you, as they immerse you in Queenstown’s mind-blowingly beautiful landscapes and connect you with intrepid Queenstown locals on a whole new level. Check out our guide to adrenaline adventures to plan your winter fix of fun.
Ziplining over Queenstown
Plan your Queenstown winter adventure
This winter, be sure to stay a bit longer to experience all Queenstown has to offer, both on and off the slopes – find plenty more ideas for immersive winter adventures in our 6-day guide to savouring winter in Queenstown.
As you explore Queenstown this winter, share your Queenstown winter adventures with us on Instagram and #QueenstownLive.