Whether you have an appetite for adventure, mountains and fresh air or are more at home enjoying a delicious meal, fine wine and a roaring fire, get away from the everyday and escape to Queenstown.
The cosmopolitan town has a welcoming, vibrant energy that resonates across the resort to make Queenstown a unique holiday destination. Big enough to offer a wide range of accommodation, activities, ski fields, events, eateries and bars - yet small enough to make you feel like you belong.
Every year from early June onwards, the region transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting snow sports enthusiasts from around the world with its incredible lake and alpine scenery, crisp blue-sky days, easy access to some of New Zealand's finest ski and snowboard terrain and vibrant après ski scene.
The region’s four ski fields, all within a handy 25 to 90-minute drive of Queenstown, open from early June and offer a range of terrain for all levels whether you’re keen to conquer the basics, enjoy groomed runs, tackle off-piste, throw down some freestyle tricks or experience the thrill of night skiing. With the first snowfalls, you can feel the buzz in town as skiers and snowboarders gear up for a season of fun.
Things to do
Visit Queenstown at the start of the season and experience the electric atmosphere of the town’s annual Queenstown Winter Festival. Winter Festival has grown into the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter celebration and is a true showcase of Queenstown's unique culture and community, with street parades, fireworks, entertainment, live music, comedy, loads of family fun, and plenty of mountain mayhem, and loved by locals and visitors alike.
However Winter Festival is just the start when it comes to Queenstown’s winter event calendar – there’s loads to do both on and off mountain throughout the season!
The NZ Mountain Film Festival is also held in Queenstown in the winter months (usually July) and is a collection of the world's best adventure films and speakers with amazing atmosphere and inspiring films. If the film fest whets your appetite for adventure racing, Queenstown’s famous Peak to Peak is in September. This is the South Island’s biggest winter multisport event and attracts competitors from around New Zealand.
If the thrill of mountain climbing is what you are after The Remarkables Ice & Mixed Festival brings together winter alpine climbers from around New Zealand and overseas to advance and promote modern mixed and ice climbing.
Later in the season, Winter Pride adds its own glitz and glamour when hundreds of revellers come from around the world to Queenstown for the Southern Hemisphere's biggest gay and lesbian alpine celebration.
In late August, Queenstown is home to the annual Winter Games NZ, a complete showcase of snow sports from freestyle skiing, slalom to Paralympic skiing and tons of on-mountain fun for spectators and competitors alike.
Queenstown is famous for its year-round high-octane thrills so if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or want to push your boundaries, there’s activities like bungy jumping, jet boating, skydiving, zip trekking, paragliding, dirt biking, supercar or four-wheel-driving - all guaranteed to get your blood pumping!
If a relaxed, leisurely experience is what you’re after, Queenstown has some great ways to rejuvenate and recharge your batteries.
Wrap up warmly and explore the region’s spectacular scenery by foot or by bike on one of its many trails. The Queenstown Trail provides 110km of walking and cycling trails which link popular scenic spots. Scenic walks from downtown Queenstown range from a leisurely stroll around the beautiful lakeside gardens to hiking up Queenstown Hill for magnificent 360 degree vistas.
Queenstown is also an internationally renowned golf hub. With seven golf courses, three of international standing, within a 45-minute drive of the town centre, they offer everything from family friendly nine-hole courses to immaculately-groomed fairways with snow-capped mountain backdrops so stunning that it’s hard to keep your eye on the ball.
When it comes to eating out, Queenstown’s innovative and award-winning cafés and restaurants offer cuisine to suit every palate. Along with nearby Arrowtown, Queenstown is home to more than 150 eateries ranging from fine dining to fun dining. Stylish bars, sophisticated clubs, Kiwi pubs and late night hot spots also make Queenstown’s après ski atmosphere second to none.
For the ultimate in relaxation, especially after a day on the slopes, enjoy some ‘me time’ at one of Queenstown’s luxury day spas. A full range of treatments are on offer and it’s the perfect way to revitalize mind, body and soul. Or, there are many ways to stretch and recover those tested legs, from languid yoga to Pilates, or even a multi-day retreat designed to help you reconnect with yourself.
Ski area low down
Coronet Peak is Queenstown’s closest ski area and is a 20 minute drive from downtown. World-class facilities, superb conditions and spectacular rollercoaster terrain make Coronet Peak an exciting destination for snow lovers of any ability. Experience magnificent views, a stunning base building, fantastic on-mountain facilities, state-of-the-art snowmaking as well as night skiing on the weekends. Shuttle options available. Scheduled to open mid-June and close early October.
The Remarkables is a true alpine experience just a 45-minute drive from central Queenstown and is perfect for the whole family, from beginners and novices to advanced skiers and boarders. The new base building is a world-class facility for skiers and boarders with improved restaurant, ticketing, rentals and retail areas. With its high alpine location, sunny aspect and relaxed atmosphere, it’s become a firm local favourite. Remarkables features a six-seat, high-speed detachable Curvey Basin chairlift, alongside increased snow making capacity, a large and wide learners’ area, fresh trails, ample car parking, in addition the first 10km of the 12km access road is sealed. Shuttle options are available. Scheduled to open mid-June and close late September.
Cardrona Alpine Resort has a laid-back and friendly vibe, deep snow cover, wide open slopes, serious half pipes, steep chutes and an extensive terrain park for freestylers, great family facilities, and on-mountain accommodation. Cardrona is an hour’s drive from Queenstown and shuttle options are available. Cardrona is scheduled to open mid-June and close in early October.
Treble Cone is the South Island’s biggest ski area and a favourite for advanced skiers and snowboarders with the longest vertical rise in the Southern Lakes, two large basins, great off-piste terrain and stunning views. Novices are also well catered for with a dedicated learning area. The ski area is an hour and a half’s drive or a short 15-minute flight from Queenstown. Scheduled to open late June and close early October.