Festival History

Icons don't just happen overnight; the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival celebrated its fortieth anniversary in 2014!

Way back in 1975 a bunch of locals decided that the start of winter was a great excuse to have a party. They organised races on the mountain and in town, lollies for the kids, beers for the grown-ups, a concert or two and a town-wide ball, all of which made the Festival a great success. News spread quickly and the next year people came from further afield to join the festivities.

Since then the Festival has evolved into New Zealand's - and perhaps the southern Hemisphere's - biggest celebration of winter. It's a ten day extravanganza of Queenstown's unique culture and community with street parties, fireworks, international and local acts, comedy, family fun, and plenty of Mountain Mayhem.

Town will be a-buzz with around 45,000 people celebrating the arrival of winter in true Queenstown style.

WINTER STARTS HERE and we’re proud of it!

To read about the people and the stories behind the first 40 years of the Queenstown Winter Festival, click here.