Things to do in Queenstown in Winter

Instead of going dormant, Queenstown becomes even more lively in the coldest months of the year. Through the last fifty years, this thriving resort town has emerged as one of the Southern Hemisphere’s leading tourist attractions when it snows. Not only because of its stunning topography – the Remarkables really are as gorgeous as they look in photos – Queenstown is a mid-winter hub for all things snowy and cosy.

Our Top Iconic Activities to do in Queenstown

The following holiday activities will keep you more than occupied for your visit to Queenstown in the winter time.

Tourists enjoying the view of Queenstown's snow covered mountains after skiing.

Photo by:  Roderick Eime on Flickr

Winter Skiing and Snowboarding

Looking for the best slopes for skiing or snowboarding in Queenstown? Our location in the Southern Hemisphere means we have an extended ski season from June to early October. This makes it especially attractive for tourists from the Northern Hemisphere seeking year-round winter sports.

Queenstown well deserves its title as the snow capital of NZ. Situated in the heart of the majestic Southern Alps, the region is bordered by four different ski fields. Of these fields, Coronet Peak is the closest to the centre of town – only a 20-minute bus trip away – perfect for total beginners and night skiing on Fridays and Saturdays. 

The next closest is the Remarkables mountain range, where you can digest one of the country's most beautiful wintry vistas while traversing the slopes. Cardrona Ski Resort, only an hours’ drive away from the township, is also excellent for learners. And last but not least, Treble Cone is a well-loved first port of call for more advanced skiers. 

You can also escape the crowds and bypass the chair lift queues with heli-skiing. Soar through the skies in a helicopter, touch down on a pristine mountain peak, and carve a path down the powdery slopes.

Snow sports and gondola ride in Queenstown New Zealand.

Photo by: Pxhere

Seeing Queenstown’s Gorgeous Views

Winter in Queenstown is truly a photographer’s dream. Queenstown’s selection of helicopter flights is one of the best things to do in Queenstown in winter. Many operators offer winter flights around the Remarkables and other beautiful sights in and around Queenstown. A return scenic flight over snow-capped peaks will be a truly unforgettable experience that you can’t – and won’t want to - erase from your mind.

Scenic drives are another fun way to explore the beauty of the South Island of New Zealand. Jump in your Omega rental car and visit Milford Sound. Then, take a scenic boat cruise to discover dense rainforest, snow-capped mountains, glacier-carved valleys and waterfalls. A road trip to Milford Sound and back can be made in one day.

Take the iconic Skyline Gondola on Brecon street for the best vistas over central Queenstown. Soak in the breathtaking city and mountain views as you journey 450 metres to Bob's Peak. While you’re there, head to the gift shop to find the perfect  New Zealand-made souvenir. Then, stay to watch the sunset and enjoy a coffee or afternoon tea at Market Cafe or a delicious buffet dinner at Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar.


Visiting Queenstown for Relaxation?

At the end of a long day on the peaks or in the air, how about a relaxing soak in your own private hot tub with incredible views? Pencil in a day trip to the Onsen Hot Pools to experience luxurious day spa relaxation with an outlook of the surrounding hills of Arthur’s Point. Prime relaxation in a beautiful place—sounds good to us!

Hopping aboard the legendary steamboat TCC Earnslaw is excellent for families to relax and cruise Lake Wakatipu. Top off your cruise with a visit to Walter Peak farm for a scrumptious buffet BBQ lunch or dinner. Looking to do some wine tasting? The Central Otago region produces award-winning Pinot Noir, making it one of the best places to join a wine tour and visit a few cellar doors. Queenstown’s craft beer scene provides an excellent alternative for those who prefer hops over grapes.


Adrenaline Rush Activities in the Winter

Visit Queenstown during the winter season and get your heart pumping with the town’s vast array of world-famous adventure activities. 

Queenstown offers exhilarating bungy jumping, canyon swings, zip lining and jet boating. The most iconic activity is the Shotover Jet boat ride, which takes you speeding and spinning 360 degrees through the rocky ridges of the Shotover River Canyons.


Leisurely Winter Activities

If you’re not into snow sports or heart-pumping activities, you can still enjoy Queenstown’s wintery charm and natural beauty with slower-paced winter activities.

Experience the magic of a Queenstown winter wonderland indoors at the Queenstown Ice Arena. Enjoy public skating sessions at this indoor ice skating rink with a helmet and skates included in admission. Need a breather or perhaps some liquid courage after a graceful tumble? Enjoy a few drinks at the fully stocked bar to soothe those minor bumps and maybe even your bruised ego.

Play frisbee golf in the scenic Queenstown Gardens. Challenge yourself to a game of disc golf with the locals on the 18-basket course, turning this picturesque setting into your winter playground. 

Embrace the season with a winter hike. Explore the stunning trails of Queenstown Hill, Ben Lomond, and Bob’s Cove. Even in the chillier months, the views from the summits of these hiking trails are unparalleled on clear days.


Winter Festivals, Music and Culture

Over the King’s birthday weekend, the LUMA Southern Light Project takes centre stage in the picturesque Queenstown Gardens. This event is a luminous celebration of creativity, showcasing a thoughtfully curated array of breathtaking light installations and sculptures.

Gear up for Winter Pride in the last week of August. You’ll be swept away by a dazzling array of on and off-mountain events, along with a flurry of vibrant parties. 


Easiest Way to See the Top Destinations in Queenstown

We’re sure you’ll love Queenstown no matter what time of the year you visit. There's always something amazing going on. If you’re flying directly into the adventure capital, pick up a rental car from Omega’s Queenstown Airport Depot, located 1.1km from the airport. Omega offers a free shuttle service between the airport and the depot. Alternatively, pick up a rental car from Omega’s Queenstown town centre depot.