Winter in Queenstown

Nestled in the heart of the Southern Alps, Queenstown is a picturesque alpine town. Don’t be fooled, though – life here doesn’t slow down during the winter months – it speeds up!

Picture this: You’re sipping on a mulled wine surrounded by snow-capped mountains and starlit skies after a jam-packed day of activities including skiing and skydiving. The dream, right?! It’s no surprise that our travellers love this town in the winter for exactly that reason!

A view over Queenstown from the top of the Skyline Gondola and Luge track

If you want to hop-off the bus and spend a few extra days then here’s a list of Queenstown must-dos:

Carve up the ski slopes

Queenstown is New Zealand’s number 1 winter sports destination, so gear up, grab your mates and get ready to send it down the mountain! If you’re a ski-newbie then why not take a lesson or two? Bonus: The fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down – Coronet Peak offers night skiing until 9pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays!

Fresh pow-pow, amazing views!

Get the adrenaline pumping

Want to know the best way to keep warm during winter in Queenstown? Adrenaline. That’s right – we’re talking skydives, bungy jumps, canyon swings, jet boats. You name it! Queenstown is the adventure capital of NZ and a bit of snow won’t stop the fun! Here are 3 of our favourite winter adventure activities:


Your first skydive is sure to be one of the highlights of your life! The butterflies (and most likely your breakfast) will start fluttering away in your belly long before your tandem master starts shuffling you both towards the exit of the plane. Then, before you know it, you’ll be falling literally out of the sky with the snow covered mountains and the glittering blue lake laid out like a canvas below you. Well, you miiiiiiight not notice the view whilst you’re plummeting to the ground at 200kph (try to keep your eyes open…) but it does make for a superb picture!

Warm layers and gloves are a must!

AJ Hackett bungy

This 8.5 second free fall is certainly not for the faint hearted. AJ Hackett offer a variety of bungys across New Zealand (even the worlds first commercially operated bungy for you adventure boffs out there) but if you’re going to take the plunge why not do the highest? THE NEVIS. Note: Call your mother, tell her you love her because, unlike skydiving where you’re strapped to someone else, it’s all up to you to step off that ledge. You’re getting sweaty just thinking about it? See, we told you adrenaline is good for the cold.

Feeling brave? Get dunked in the ice cold water at Kawarau Bridge!

Shotover Canyon Swing

Forwards, backwards, on a chair, with a mate, pin drop, or even down a slide – these are just some of the ways you can do the canyon swing! You’re definitely going to want to do the canyon swing more than once… The staff here really know how to get the adrenaline pumping. Oh, and they’ll even lend you a nice big puffer coat if it’s super cold.

Puffer coat + Adrenaline = Warmth

Go for a winter walk or hike

Keen hikers, rejoice – winter is an amazing time to get out and about! Lace up your hiking boots and head up to the summit of Ben Lomond. The snow does make the walk a little more challenging, so make sure you’re suitably fit with enough warm layers and plenty of food and water. If you want something a little tamer, then you can always walk up Queenstown hill or take a stroll around the Queenstown gardens. If you continue right around the track towards Frankton you’ll get a full view of the Remarkables mountain range – your winter wonderland awaits…

Winter vistas from the summit

Eat and drink your days away

The best part about cold weather is being able to feast on the most indulgent food and drink without having to worry about your beach body! Queenstown is home to heaps of incredible restaurants, bars and cafes and, of course, the famous Fergburger. We know the backpacker budget can often limit you to cooking noodles in the hostel kitchen but we’d highly recommend getting out and sampling some of the delicious delicacies on offer for at least one meal, if you can!

Grab a coffee or mulled wine to keep those hands warm Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

Last, but not least… Visit the Queenstown Winter Festival!

If you’re in Queenstown between 21st – 24th June 2018, make sure to stop by the Real Journeys winter festival. If you’re not going to be able to make it this year then we recommend that you start planning for 2019 already! Celebrating the arrival of winter and the fresh pow-pow on the mountains, this festival has been running for 43 years and is, by far, New Zealand’s biggest winter party. Keep an eye out for fantastic musical performances, fireworks, games, quizzes, cultural celebrations and so much more. Here’s a link to this years programme:

Winter festivities in full swing! Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

So, there you have it – winter in Queenstown is a #nzmustdo! What are you waiting for? Check out our South Island bus passes and tours.

5 Replies to “Winter in Queenstown”

  1. Wow! What an amazing place – stunning scenery and from the pictures of Queenstown I’m getting an adrenaline rush. Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  2. […] only imagine how awesome it would be to go skiing or snowboarding up there. Queenstown still has an incredible ‘buzz’ during winter and there are a ton of adventure activities on offer all year round. I can’t even stomach a […]

  3. Thanks for your usefull tips and sharing them with us.

  4. Stunning Blog!! Very nice

  5. Hi
    All of photos are good.I like your post and pics.really so good.

Comments are closed.