Queenstown in Winter - A Guide to Experiencing Winter Wonderland in the South Island

Settled close by the sparkling waters of Lake Wakatipu and encompassed by superb, snowcapped mountains, Queenstown is the ideal vacation spot. The cosmopolitan town has an intriguing and enthusiastic energy that resonates over the place to make Queenstown an unprecedented holiday destination. Queenstown in winter is when you can see this spirit coming to life. Skiers and adventurists, or those just inquisitive about a day off, are here to slurp up the good times. From early June onwards, the area changes into a winter wonderland, pulling in travellers from all around the globe with its pristine lake, majestic view and blue-sky days.

Below are the must-to-do activities when you visit Queenstown in Winter:
TSS Earnslaw sailing in Lake Wakatipu with Mt. Remarkables in the backdrop

  • Cruise Lake Wakatipu on the Steamship TSS Earnslaw: 

    Over a hundred years old, the TSS Earnslaw was launched the same year as the legendary Titanic in 1912. Many renowned personalities like Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and American President Bill Clinton have been onboard this cruise. A fantastic way to relish the scenery of Queenstown in winter is to enjoy the vintage cruise ship sailing across the Lake Wakatipu with the snow-capped Mt. Remarkables in the backdrop. Savour a drink on its onboard cafe with the fresh winter wind bracing your face. You can even watch guards shovel coal in the engine as done in the good old days and also solicit a tune from the pianist onboard!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
  • Ski or Snowboard down the mountains of Queenstown in Winter:

    Are you eager to get your adrenaline pumping? If yes, then this is your place to be. With four ski areas(Cardrona being the most popular) within roughly an hour's drive from Queenstown, this place offers a great range of slopes for both beginners and adepts. Besides snowboarding and skiing, you can even try heliskiing, night skiing, tobogganing, sledging and much more. After all, Queenstown is called the "Adventure Capital" for a reason!
COST INVOLVED(for Adults): Coronet Peak - NZD 119                                         
Cardrona Alpine Resort - NZD 130                                         
Mt. Remarkables - NZD 95 to NZD 129
Ledge Bungy

  • Non-Winter Sports Activities:

    Queenstown in winter is not at all a disappointment for non-skiers. Snow-based sports are not the only way to get an adrenaline rush. Although there are tons of sports activities, Bungy jumping, sky diving at Lake Wakatipu and the exciting Shotover jetboat rides are the most famous ones. 


  1. Nevis Bungy: Elevated at 134 metres, it is New Zealand's highest bungy jumping site above the Nevis River.
    COST: NZD 275(Adult)                                                                                                                                                                                     
  2. Ledge Bungy: 400 metres above Queenstown, what makes this site unique is that the specially designed harness enables you to jump, spin, run and even backflip.                        COST: NZD 205(Adult)                                                                                                                                                                                     
  3. Kawarau Bungy Centre: It is the world's first Bungy Jump perched at a height of 43 metres. If you are scared of heights but still want to try it, this is the ideal site to wear off your phobia. It is a fun and unique site and the best part - it is free!
    COST: Free

Queenstown Winter Festival

Held in June and lasting for one week, this festival is held annually since 1975 and creates a lot of buzz and excitement among the people of the city and adds a buzz for Queenstown in winter. One of the most awaited events, it attracts over 45000 people every year who come to enjoy live music, comedy, fireworks, treasure hunts, delicious food, polar lake plunging and much more!

What to Pack for Queenstown in Winter?

The coldest months in Queenstown are June, July and August when temperature ranges from -2 to 8 ÂșC. The list below is here to help and make sure you don't forget to pack all the essential stuff:
  • Proper winter clothes, including sweaters, jackets, warmers, gloves, scarves, woollen socks, all of which are ideally waterproof.
  • Most people plan to engage in some sort of sports activities while travelling to Queenstown. Thus, make sure you carry sturdy and waterproof hiking/snow boots, sneakers, and leisure shoes.
  • Do carry skin-care products like moisturizers, lip balms, sunscreen etc. as Queenstown's cold weather dehydrates the skin.
  • Mosquito repellants if you plan to camp or hike.
  • First Aid Kit and pain relievers.
  • If you plan to ski: Most of the stuff like ski gloves, helmets, ski goggles, warm pants, etc. are available for hire. Make sure you dress in layers as overheating while skiing is possible. It will help you cool down, just in case.
  • Swimsuits, as you may come across tempting hot pools at various places.
  • Camera/Drone/GoPro to capture the beautiful memories you are about to make.
  • A sturdy backpack to carry your essentials.
  • Other miscellaneous items
We hope this article has invigorated you to take some time off and plan a trip to the beautiful city of Queenstown in winter. With astounding outdoor activities, night strolls and day trips, I believe your trip to this paradise will be remarkable and all that you want it to be.

This post was published by Vidushi Nigam

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