Explore New Zealand’s home of winter with this four-day itinerary for a Queenstown winter weekend getaway. With snow experiences, skiing, fine wine and food, and a range of activities surrounded by stunning alpine scenery, you’re in for a midwinter treat.
Queenstown’s easy to get to, with an international airport and regular direct flights from New Zealand’s main centres. From the moment you land on the spectacular runway nestled under snowcapped mountains, you know you’re in a winter wonderland.
Discover our vibrant alpine town with over 150 bars and restaurants, adventures for all ages, and a warm Queenstown welcome.
Queenstown from above
Day one: Welcome to Queenstown
Start your Queenstown winter weekend right, with an indulgent lunch on the lakefront, before immersing yourself in our snowy landscapes.
AM: Winter lunch on the lakefront
Arrive in Queenstown, check into your hotel, ditch your bags and stroll to Botswana Butchery for lunch with a view over Lake Whakatipu. This Queenstown favourite guarantees a warm welcome with roaring fires, snug seating, and a menu that combines modern bistro classics with fine cuts paired with your choice of sauces, sides, and salads.
PM: High on the snowy mountains
It’s time for your first taste of winter adventure. Hire a car or catch the NZSki bus from the Station Building, and drive 16km to Coronet Peak, the closest ski field to Queenstown. Ride up the gondola to the sightseeing deck and bask in the incredible panoramic views over the Whakatipu basin and beyond. For some fun in the snow, hire a toboggan or a yooner (it’s like a sledge on skis), and hoon down the slopes of the Snow Play zone.
When you’re done on the slopes, head to Onsen Hot Pools for a spectacular soak in their cedar hot tubs overlooking the Shotover River. Be sure to book in advance.
Or book a scenic heli flight and land on the ice. From glacier landings with champagne to heli-snowmobile combos, and even dog sledding, there’s an unforgettable scenic flight waiting for you.
Evening: Sunset drinks and dining
Unwind after your adventures with an aperitif at Little Blackwood, located on Steamer Wharf in central Queenstown. This local hangout has views of The Remarkables, delicious cocktails, mulled wine and hot toddies.
Once you’ve warmed your soul and worked up an appetite, wander along the lakefront to dinner at The Grille by Eichardts. Part of Eichardts historic hotel, The Grille is a luxurious bistro serving up a modern take on French classics featuring local, seasonal, and foraged ingredients. The views are as tasty as the food, with floor to ceiling windows framing the lake.
The Grille by Eichardt's
Day two: A day on the slopes
There’s more to Queenstown in winter than skiing, but with skiing this good and so close to town, we recommend you spend a day experiencing some of the finest slopes in the Southern Hemisphere.
AM: Warm up and fuel up
Head to local favourite Bespoke Kitchen for a hearty brunch that’ll set you up for your afternoon on the slopes. Nestled up on the hill with stellar Queenstown views and a seasonal menu offering delights like trifle pancakes and smoked mackerel croquettes, Bespoke Kitchen is big on vegan options too.
PM: Time to ski
With four world-class ski areas with easy access, ski lovers are spoilt for choice. The two closest ski areas to town are Coronet Peak (a 20-minute drive) and The Remarkables (45-minutes’ drive), perfect for half a day skiing. Both mountains have excellent learner areas, lessons, a variety of runs and regular shuttles from the centre of town.
Coronet Peak has its legendary night skiing on Wednesdays and Fridays, and select Saturday nights. Ski through sunset and into the night, before heading to the heated deck for mulled wine under the stars.
Evening: Winter dining
If you’re skiing Coronet Peak, head down the mountain to the Gin Garden in Arthur’s Point to explore their delicious bistro menu and taste craft gin infused with local flavours, such as foraged Bannockburn plums, and rhubarb and quince from Arrowtown gardens. If craft beer’s more to your taste, Cargo Gantley's Pub has a woodfired pizza, locally brewed ales, and a toasty fire in a heritage pub.
If you’re hungry after shredding the slopes at The Remarkables, you don’t have to wait until you get back to Queenstown. Stop off in Kawarau Village and grab a bite to eat at Stacks Pub for pub food in a relaxed sports bar setting, or treat yourself to a luxurious dinner at the Hilton’s Wakatipu Grill.
Queenstown is famous for its lively winter nightlife. Start your evening at Atlas Beer Café. This lakefront gem is popular with the skiing, snowboarding, and biking crowd, and it’s a top spot for sipping a craft beer and swapping stories of your day on the slopes. Other après ski gems are Yonder for live music and cocktails, Harry’s Pool Bar for cosy sofas, beers and pool, and Bardeaux for low-key chillin’ by the fire with a fine malt whisky.
Coronet Peak Ski Area
Day three: Historical Arrowtown
Today, you’re heading to Arrowtown, a delightful historic gold mining town known for its glorious setting, heritage, boutique shops and restaurants, just 25 minutes from Queenstown,
AM: Start your day with a massage and rug up for a winter walk
Before heading to Arrowtown, get off to a good start with a relaxing massage at Body Sanctum Day Spa in Queenstown's CBD. Choose from deep tissue, remedial, and relaxing massage in a soothing urban oasis.
On the way to Arrowtown stop off at Lake Hayes for a stroll around the Lake Hayes Loop Track. The whole loop takes two hours on a gentle undulating track but do as much or as little as you feel. On calm winter days, the snowy mountains reflected in the lake make for beautiful photos.
PM: Lunch at Mora Artisan Kitchen and an afternoon in Arrowtown
Just a few kilometres from Lake Hayes and on the way to Arrowtown, Mora Wines & Artisan Kitchen is a wonderful stop for brunch and lunch. A historic cottage in a garden setting, with their own wines. Breakfast is served until 11:30am with delights like French toast brioche and smoked salmon hash. Lunch is all about shared plates with their Central Otago lamb shoulder a must-try.
Once you arrive in Arrowtown, prepare for a leisurely afternoon of discovery. Visit Arrowtown’s boutiques and food and wine shops. Then explore the region’s history at the Lakes District Museum followed by a stroll around the Chinese Goldminers Village, a Tohu Whenua site of national cultural significance.
If you’re feeling energetic, explore some of the many spectacular walks around Arrowtown. As the afternoon wears on head to The Winery where you can taste over 80 wines from boutique wineries across New Zealand. Or take in an Art-House movie at Dorothy Brown’s Cinema, a delightful boutique cinema with a cosy fire, bar, and luxurious large seats.
Evening: Dinner at Aosta (or Little Aosta)
Named after the alpine valley in Italy where chef Ben Bayly lived and cooked for four years, Aosta’s menu is inspired by northern Italian cuisine. Next door, family-friendly trattoria, Little Aosta offers wood-fired grilled meats, sourdough pizzettas, and wines by the carafe.
Aosta Arrowtown. Credit @isabellarubiephotography
Day four: Experience Queenstown's adventurous spirit
It’s your last day in the home of adventure, so start with a delicious brunch followed by a dose of adrenaline to see you flying home with a grin ear to ear.
AM: Breakfast at the Boat Shed Café & Bistro
Enjoy and early breakfast at the Boat Shed Café. This popular spot on the waterfront is set in the restored New Zealand Railways Shipping Office, originally built in 1869. Their Bloody Mary is a fan favourite, and you can choose how spicy you want it, from a mellow one, all the way up to a terrifying 11 out of 10 scale.
PM: Get the heart pumping
Head to the treehouse of Ziptrek Ecotours, at the top of the Skyline Gondola, and get ready for a zipline adventure like no other. Take the Kea 6-Line tour and six ziplines will whiz you through the native beech forest of Bob’s Peak on a guided tour rich in spectacular vistas, and stories of the local landscape, wildlife and history. The steepest zipline in the world will take you down 30 storeys at speeds of up to 70kph.
If that isn’t scary enough for you, drive 20 minutes to Kawarau Bridge, or take the free Bungy Bus from the centre of town. Have a go at one of the original adrenaline-pumping experiences that put Queenstown on the map. Take the plunge into the dramatic Kawarau River gorge, or just soak up the vibes with a coffee and watch from the safety of the café and viewing deck.
There are even more ideas for winter weekend getaways in our guide to things to see and do in Queenstown. As you explore Queenstown this winter, share your Queenstown winter adventures with us on Instagram and #QueenstownLive.