The days are getting longer and warmer with twenty minutes extra sunshine each week. This makes it a great time to get some last minute ski runs in, get your bike or fishing rod out, or explore the regions walking and hiking trails on foot.
There are loads of fun on mountain events in Spring. Watch athletes battle it out at Peak to Peak, the South Island's biggest winter multi sport race on 19 September (pending alert levels). Individuals and teams race by ski or snowboard, mountain bike, kayak, foot and road bike from the top of the Remarkables Ski Area all the to Coronet Peak.
Cardrona Alpine Resort also has plenty of spring events. Catch the Torpedo 7 NZ Slopestyle Showdown on 12 September where skiers & snowboarders compete for the final time this season in the Big Bucks terrain park! Expect to see the most progressive skiing and boarding, with all the latest tricks thrown down. Or watch the SSNZ Junior Freestyle Nationals from 05-09 October, a week of intense competition for junior ski and snowboard athletes over various disciplines including slopestyle, halfpipe, ski & snowboard cross and freeride.
This year's Winter Pride celebration is in full swing and is packed with festivities on and off the slopes from 28 August - 5 September 2020. Winter Pride is a week-long annual festival supporting all things love & fun on the mountain and within Queenstown and Wanaka including parties, dress up's and activities in town and on the mountain. If you couldn't make it this year, we hope to see you in 2021!
On ya bike
For mountain bikers, Queenstown offers three lift-assisted downhill mountain bike parks. Skyline's Queenstown Bike Park opens 17 September 2020 and their season runs through to May, giving you eight months of epic riding. There are blackout periods, so make sure you check out Skyline’s website for details. Coronet Peak and Cardrona Alpine Resort also both operate as lift-assisted bike parks in the summer, with the biking season kicking off from 1 December. For other bike parks in the region read more here.
If you’re keen on mountain biking, without the downhill aspect, check out the Queenstown Trail. The 120km network of bike trails joins Queenstown Bay, Frankton, Lake Hayes, Arrowtown and the Gibbston region, with spectacular scenery and stop offs along the way. There are a number of operators that run self-guided or fully guided tours along all of Queenstown’s bike trails, including trails in Glenorchy, Paradise and Kinloch, with bike hire, maps and hotel pickups and drop offs included.
There’s a number of scenic short walks from downtown Queenstown which range from a leisurely lakeside stroll around the Queenstown Gardens, to an energetic hike up Queenstown Hill. You can follow the sunny lakeside trail along Kelvin Heights Peninsula to Jack’s Point, or for something more demanding in late spring, the Ben Lomond track and summit offer spectacular 360 degree views of the region.
More challenging multi-day hikes include the Hump Ridge, Greenstone and Hollyford tracks and three of New Zealand’s most famous Great Walks - the Routeburn, Milford and Kepler. Hikers can walk these tracks independently and stay at DOC huts or campsites or choose a guided trip for more comfort and convenience. These trips offer fascinating insights into the region’s flora, fauna, geology and history as well as private lodges with comfy beds, hot showers and three-course meals. The Great Walks season runs 27 October 2020 - 30 April 2021, and any trips outside these dates have flood and avalanche risk, reduced facilities including bridges, and are recommended for experienced hikers only. Check in with the local DOC office at 50 Stanley Street before you plan on going on any of these great walks.
Take in the vibe
If you’re after something more relaxing, make sure you head downtown and take in the blossom trees lining Queenstown Mall and the Village Green, or wander around the Queenstown Gardens to see the flowers in bloom and stunning lake views.