Born as an 1860’s gold mining camp, 151 years later Queenstown has a compact and sophisticated downtown area tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Dwarfed by the surrounding mountains, there are amazing views from everywhere.
WINTER STARTS HERE and we’re proud of it! Thursday 21st - Sunday 24th June 2018.
It's an extravaganza of Queenstown's unique culture and community with street parties, fireworks, international and local acts, comedy, family fun, and plenty of mountain events.
Town will be a-buzz with people celebrating the arrival of winter in true Queenstown style.
Icons don't just happen overnight; the 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.
PLAN YOUR FESTIVAL
If you've never been to the Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival there are a few things you need to know. There's the obvious stuff like what to bring, how to dress, how to plan your weekend, where to go, what events might suit you best and so on. But, the first thing you need to know is that you've never ever been to anything like this! Nowhere and no-one celebrates winter like Queenstown does.
Winter Festival has something for everyone. There are events for families, snow bunnies, or those just looking for some winter fun.
When does the Queenstown Winter Festival take place?
The 2018 Winter Festival will take place from Thursday 21st - Sunday 24th June 2018.
The Festival runs over four days and there is something happening all the time! Get down and enjoy some hot beverages, food and the festivities that are taking place at Earnslaw Park or up at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
The individual events, performers and entertainers for 2018 will be released in May 2018. Stay up to date by joining our mailing list and facebook page. From there you need to study your favourites and book your tickets.
There will be plenty of events to enter if you wish to take part. Plenty of fantastic prizes up for grabs, so get your mates together and join in the fun!
Want to help the Queenstown Winter Festival show the world why it is perhaps the southern hemisphere's biggest celebration of winter? Why wouldn't you!
Winter Fest HQ is after all the instagrammers, bloggers, content creators, photographers and self-confessed social media gurus to do just that. It's a content creators dream across the long weekend of Festival so you won't be short on that shareable stuff. Apply here.
What to Wear?
Generally the weather is settled and a crisp +7-8 degree Celsius to 0 degree Celsius. However, in the mountains the weather can change dramatically in a few moments so it is best to be prepared for all situations. Average daily max temperature is 7.7 degree Celsius.
Winter is a fantastic time to visit Queenstown, with crisp clean air and often clear blue skies with sunshine. So dress warm, pack your beanie and toss in your dancing shoes and something a little flash just in case you feel like glamming it up. Get prepared to brave the elements and embrace the buzz of winter, just one of the many reasons people come here!
How do we get to Queenstown?
Getting here is easy no matter where you're coming from. Come by foot, bike, bus, pony, scooter, car or plane - we don't care - just get here!
Queenstown International Airport is located 10 kms from the town centre. Airport Shuttles and buses run regularly and there are a number of taxi companies to choose from. If limo’s are your thing we can sort you out with that too.
Approximate Travel times by road to Queenstown.
- Christchurch 6 hours
- Dunedin 3.5 hours
- Invercargill 2.5 hours
Do keep in mind that at this time of year winter driving conditions can apply, check with the AA for current road conditions and make sure you have some chains in your boot and a warm blanket in the car, just in case.
Tips for driving in the winter:
- Plan your trip, check the weather forecast and road conditions before you leave, and think about where you are going and what route you should take.
- The weather in this area during winter can be treacherous, with fog, ice and snow ready to booby trap these roads, so you will need to take extra care and drive to the conditions. You will have to drive slower than they normally would; it only takes a spilt second to lose control in wet and icy conditions.
- You should carry snow chains that they know how to use and fit and should also be aware of when they need to put them on.
Are you just a little bit independent and want to grab a rental car rather than rely on your mum to pick you up and drop you off? We recommend you get your wheels sorted from our friends at JUCY. They have got all sorts and sizes of cars, 4WD's and super-duper deals for the Festival and winter in general. They even have ski racks on top and chains in the boot - like your style JUCY! To check out the cars and the super duper deals click here to go to the JUCY home page.
Also for more information on this beautiful town of ours with things to do, places to go and activities to get stuck into visit Destination Queenstown.
Traveling from Auckland?
Fly later, play longer in Queenstown with Air New Zealand’s new evening flights - flying between Queenstown and Auckland.
Air New Zealand customers will be able to make the most of an entire winter weekend away in Queenstown - flying in on a Friday evening and spending the whole weekend before flying out on a Sunday evening. Air New Zealand’s the last evening flight departs Queenstown at 7:45pm and the last arrival will land at 9:10pm.
Where to stay?
We have a wide range of Queenstown Accommodation partners that support Festival - please check out the options and book your stay!
BYO does not apply to Festival events and central locations come under a clearly marked total liquor ban which covers all unlicensed areas of downtown Queenstown. Only beverages purchased from the official Winter Festival beverage tents on Earnslaw Park can be consumed in public areas on these nights. Please respect our local police – they are here to help.
Free Festival events are all family orientated so please remember the little ones. Make room for children to see the stage and do your best not to bump into them when you are leaping about.