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The Queenstown Winter Festival


21 June to 24 June 2018

Image of the Opening Party fireworks at the American Express Queenstown WInter Festival

Opening Party fireworks. Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

Updated: 21 May 2018

The Queenstown Winter Festival returns for another action-packed, fun and crazy four-day extravaganza in this its 44th epic year!

The festival has come a long way in that time from its humble beginnings consisting of a few races in the mountains, some beers, live music and a town-wide ball. Sounds low-key but it was so well enjoyed that it came back the next year and the next getting bigger and better every year.

Thousands of revellers are expected for the Queenstown Winter Festival from all around the country and abroad and the programme is packed with a wide variety of acts, events and competitions to please them all.

Here are just a few of the things you can get involved with:

Family Favourites

Superhero Sunday Session, 10am – 5pm – Sunday 24 June

Image of two young kids on the ice rink at the Audi Quattro Winter Games in Queenstown

Children enjoying the ice rink at the Queenstown Winter Festival. Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

Dress up as your favourite hero and take to the skates in the Superhero Sunday Session at the Queenstown Ice Arena. There’ll be spot prizes and giveaways and entry (for those costumed) to win a season pass to the Queenstown Ice Arena! A great one for the family to enjoy.

Macpac Treasure Traverse – Daily, 12pm-9pm – Info Hub

Pick up your treasure map and away you go! Find all the hidden treasures located around Queenstown and when you submit your completed map, you will go in a draw for a chance to win some awesome Macpac goodies.


Tiki Taane and Sweet Mix Kids – Thursday 21 June, 5.00pm Queenstown Memorial Centre

Image of Two ladies dressed up in white ball gowns for the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival Ball

Two ladies dressed up in white ball gowns for the Queenstown Winter Festival Ball. Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

Live music has always been a big part of the Queenstown Winter Festival and this year they have an awesome opening act. Tiki Taane, the Kiwi icon who has led the music industry here since his days of Salmonella Dub, will be getting the party started in style on the main stage. The showed will be closed by the very talented Sweet Mix Kids. You won’t want to forget your dancing shoes for this one!

Hollie Smith – Friday 22 June, 8.30pm Sherwood

Another iconic Kiwi music talent, Hollie Smith, will also be featuring at this year’s festival with an intimate performance at the Sherwood. Hollie has worked with some incredible bands (Trinity Roots, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Recloose) as well as being an acclaimed solo artist, renowned for her hit single ‘Bathe in the River’. This promises to be a very special performance that is not to be missed.

Get Stuck In!

Old Mout Dodgeball – Friday 22 June, Festival Village

Ever fancied yourself as a bit of a dodgeball king? Got a bit of a mean arm? Maybe you’ve got the instincts of Patches O’Houlihan and can do this thing blindfolded. Or maybe you just think it sounds like a lot of fun. The Old Mout Dodgeball Championships will be held on Friday 23 June at Queenstown Bay and will feature teams of four battling it out to be crowned Dodgeball Champions. Have you got what it takes?

SKYCITY Ball – Viva le Cirque– Saturday 23 June, 7.00pm (Secret location)

This year’s SKYCITY Ball has an exciting vintage theme, appropriately named Viva Le Cirque! This event has been part of the Winter Festival since the very first event back in 1975 and continues to be one of the biggest and best-attended events at the whole festival. This year, the anticipation and hype are especially high as the Ball will be held at a secret location which you’ll be whisked to directly. All you have to do is dress to impress, enjoy the three-course meal and stunning wine from Gibbston Valley, and dance the night away!

Mountain activities

Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow – Sunday 24 June, Cardrona Alpine Resort

Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow at the Queenstown Winter Festival. Photo credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow at the Queenstown Winter Festival. Photo credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

Mountain biking is tough at the best of times. Uneven terrain, rocks, trees…lots of obstacles that get in your way. Add in some snow to the equation and you have all the ingredients for some mountain mayhem! This is an awesome event for those seeking an adrenaline rush. There are also some amazing prizes up for grabs from Macpac so this is a great event to enter whilst you’re down at the Winter Festival.

Monteith’s Dog Derby – Friday 22 June, Cardrona Alpine Resort

One of the longest standing events at the Winter Festival, the Monteith’s Dog Derby is a perennial favourite. Once an event for farmers and their trusty sidekicks, this event is now open to literally any man or woman and his dog. Slide, skid and tumble down the mountain as you and your best friend try to make it to the bottom first. Awesome fun!

Best of the Rest

Comedy Night – Thursday 21 June, 8.00pm, Queenstown Memorial Centre

Image of The crowd having a laugh at one of the comedy night at the American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

The crowd having a laugh at one of the comedy night. Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

Nothing keeps you warmer in winter than a good ol’ belly-aching laugh, and there’ll be plenty of those this year at the Comedy Night. There’s a fantastic line-up of comedians confirmed including Justine Smith, Ben Hurley and Jeremy Elwood. It’s one of the most popular events so don’t miss out!

The Hits 90.4 Birdman – Saturday 23 June, 12pm Queenstown Bay

The most crowd-pleasing event of the festival sees brave and courageous individuals take to festive costume and leap from the ramp into the icy cold waters of Lake Wakatipu. As you can see, there’s nothing to dislike about this. There are great prizes on offer costuming/contraption, flight and an overall winner. Pure entertainment on every level.

Once again, the Winter Festival promises to be an absolute cracker and if you haven’t made plans already, we highly recommend you get yourself down to Queenstown for this awesome event and get involved in some festive fun!

To find out more, visit the official website.

See you there!

Queenstown Complete Guide

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