winter in queenstown


The Ultimate Guide To Winter in Queenstown

Queenstown is famous for plenty of excitement inducing reasons as well as boasting top-class opportunities to unwind, amidst a striking mountain backdrop. Winter is the season that truly showcases what Queenstown has always been about – Adventure and extravagance, in lots of different forms. So here are not one or two excuses to check it out, but loads…

Things to do in winter in Queenstown


Real Journeys Queenstown Winter Festival: Winter Fest runs from June 24th to July 3rd, this is the most exciting time to check out the winter dream that is the Queenstown winter scene. Watch the local Village Green become transformed by the annual winter ice skating rink, get to a heart-racing ice hockey tournament, watch some crazy fools participate in the Polar Plunge off the Queenstown wharf, and of course chase the action on the slopes with events like the Big Air competition.


Winter Pride has become increasingly popular over the last few years and has now become well known as THE event to be at within the gay and lesbian community. Known as the largest gay and lesbian winter pride event in the Southern Hemisphere, this event runs from the 28th of August until the 5th of September and is a colorful, warm, and lively affair with people attending from all over the world.


Queenstown ski fields- Queenstown boasts two spectacular ski fields on either side of the township. The Remarkables are just that and Coronet Peak is famous for its late-night skiing and boarding available on weekends.


Best Unwind- Onsen Hot pools provide the best spot to unwind and soak those aching mountain bones after the night on the peaks. Take a bottle of bubbles and indulge yourself with a stunning view fit for a snow king or queen


Amongst the stars…. Queenstown Gondola is a great experience during the day but is also a fabulous venue for dinner at night and boasts stunning views above the township. Enjoy a sumptuous buffet year-round – make sure to book ahead in the busy months of winter.


Rest your weary bones- Nothing beats coming down of the mountain, peeling off layers of snow gear, having a hot shower, and then a massage, exquisite! You can find loads of different options from well-known massage clinics to unwind those frozen muscles as well as mobile massage companies, operating as a team and on an individual basis.

Body Sanctum are reputable and The massage clinic specializes in sports and therapeutic massage – which could be sorely needed after a day/night on the mountain! Mobile Massage is well known for its services and for a more alternative experience. Nadi Wellness also provides massage services among other options such as Chakra Balancing and Theta Healing. The center also provides daily yoga classes and has two studios, one in town and one based in Remarkables Park.


Queenstown accommodation in winter

Queenstown is famous for its popularity over the winter months, so make sure you book well ahead to get the best deals available in town. Hotel prices do go up during the busier months – My favourite queenstown accommodation is Airbnb which is awesome if you prefer the creature comforts of home or want to book a holiday home suitable for larger groups.

Here are some of my all-time favourite Queenstown Airbnb’s perfect for enjoying winter in Queenstown.

If you’re new to Airbnb you can sign up with My code to receive $90 off your first booking!!

I’ve stayed in over 90 Airbnb’s myself so I highly recommend giving it a-go!!

Where to see snow in Queenstown

Winter in Queenstown is beautiful, there’s no denying it. Better yet the sun rises later, meaning you get to stay in bed that extra hour longer before heading out. 

Below is a location list for the best spots to see the snow in Queenstown in winter.


Head to Arrowtown early morning and take some pictures in front of that rustic cottage, be mindful that it is situated in a carpark so do arrive early to avoid it being blocked by cars. 

Arrowtown also transforms into a winter wonderland and the frost is captivatingly beautiful. Take some time to walk around the river track, finding the frost-covered plants and trees. If you fancy a winter hike then Tobins Track is nice and easy providing views over the basin below. Sawpit gully is a great hike, but check the snowfall as its high and can be very icy in parts. 

Queenstown Helicopter Tours

Seeing Queenstown from the air during winter is quite something.  There are several heli companies that can whisk you up and away either on a sightseeing tour over the alps or to land on an epic mountain top in the snow.

If you want to celebrate a special moment you can always whisk a friendly photographer (that’s me) up with you to capture it all.


The drive alone is an adventure in itself. 45 minutes of pure beauty lies in front of you. Lake Wakatipu hugs the road and will lead you quite literally into paradise. There is a Jetty, an iconic red boathouse and some mysteriously looking lake tree’s. It is also the gateway to Paradise & the Routeburn track – perfect  for some winter adventures (always check with DOC before you embark on any tracks over the winter months – heavy snowfall can increase the risk of avalanches)

Queenstown ski fields

To get up high above the town and experience the sights from above you should take the trip up the Ski access roads. Both boasting incredible views over the lake and town below. In Winter, you can drive up either road & park in the skifield car park

If you don’t feel like skiing you can hire a toboggan and slide down the learner’s slope or just have a snowball fight or build a snowman. 

Queenstown gondola

We of course can’t leave out the most iconic spot in Queenstown to see that postcard-perfect winter view. The view that is so iconic its no wonder that its the image used to draw people to this beautiful town. In the middle of Winter, The Remarkables are covered in snow and the whole town comes to life. Either follow the Tiki Trail up or jump in the skyline Gondola for a sweet little ride to the top of town. Explore the Skyline base building or take a hike a little further to Bob’s peak for even better scenes.


If you are visiting Queenstown and looking for the best locations for landscape photography then the above will get you started. You may however want to feature in your images and not just be the photographer. That’s where I can help you, let me introduce myself. Queenstown is my home and also my playground. I am local as local gets and can introduce you to some epic hidden locations for photoshoots. I am a couples portrait photographer and there’s nothing more I LOVE than showing people around my beautiful home, better yet, capturing those precious moments for you. Should you want me to accompany you on some Queenstown adventures,  Drop me an email. Let’s make some magic together!

The thing about Queenstown is that you just cannot beat it on a winter’s day; there’s always been such electric energy in the air, thrumming between the people as they gather in the various bars and eateries after an epic day up the mountain. You don’t get that feeling of satisfaction and anticipation in many places in the world, day after day, and night after night. Most are here to experience the snow, the scenery, and the season that is the jewel in Queenstown’s crown – winter in Queenstown is pure magic.