Register Sign In My Shortlist Email Us
NZ 0800 467 368

Explore NZ Travel Blog

The Queenstown Winter Festival


22 June to 25 June 2017

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

Opening Party fireworks. Credit: Queenstown Winter Festival

Updated: 8 June 2017

The Queenstown Winter Festival has undertaken a bit of a revamp for 2017. The event is usually held over 10 days with events spread out over those days but this year they have decided to mix things up and cram everything into just four days. That means that you only need to take off four days to enjoy absolutely everything going on at the 2017 Queenstown Winter Festival. Four crazy days!

Whilst the format may have changed, the festival itself is still the same as it always has been and this year will be the 43rd Queenstown Winter Festival! Way back in 1975, a few people got together and thought it would be a good idea to have a great big party. It consisted of a few races on the mountains, some beers, live music and a town-wide ball. It was so popular it stuck and since then the event has been getting bigger and better every year. This year’s compacted version of the festival means the city might not count on the 45,000 people that descended on Queenstown in 2016, but remember, this year they only have four days to play with so everything is going to be running at high velocity.

The Queenstown Winter Festival has a bit of something for everyone and is definitely a family friendly event.

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

Family Favourites

Queenstown Village Rink, 10am-10pm – Daily

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

Open daily from 10am – 10pm, the American Express Winter Wonderland ice rink is a firm favourite with families. There aren’t many better ways to spend a wintery day than skating around and having some fun on the ice. The rink is for people of all ages so whether you want to get embarrassed by the kids or show off some moves of your own, this is a must do!

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

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.

Something for the ladies

SKYCITY Ball – Shanghai Nights – Saturday 24 June, 7.00pm 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

It’s time to get your best frock on ladies – it’s the annual winter ball! 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. The theme this year is Shanghai Nights so get your finest attire ready for a night of music, dance and dining that will transport you to the late night opulence of Shanghai in a bygone era. With a delicious three course meal and stunning wine from Gibbston Valley, this promises to be an unforgettable night.

A boys’ weekend

Ice Hockey – Friday 23 June, 7.40pm Queenstown Ice Arena

What’s better than a boys’ weekend away where you can combine some winter sports of your own with watching some live sport? This year’s ice hockey match ups promise to deliver some high speed action as Queenstown’s SKYCITY Stampede take on the Botany Swarm. Pick and team and get behind them as if you have supported them all your life!

Mountain activities

Macpac Mountain Bikes on Snow – Saturday 24 June, The Remarkables

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 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 your down at the Winter Festival

Best of the Rest

The American Express Comedy Debate – Friday 23 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

This promises to be an awesome night of comedy as some of the best talent from Australia and New Zealand come together for what promises to be an epic battle of Trans-Tasman comedy! Get your seats early as this promises to be one of the most popular events at the festival this year.

Monteith’s Dog Derby

One of the longest standing events at the Winter Festival, the Monteith’s Dog Derby is a perennial favourite. Once an even 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!

Old Mout Dodgeballl

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?

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 our more, visit the official website.

See you there!

Queenstown Complete Guide

GO Play activities in this area

  • 5% Off

    Bungy Jump

    AJ Hackett Bungy is synonymous with innovation and adventure.With over 26 years of experience they are the sport’s adventurous advocate. AJ Hackett Bungy operates 3 bungy sites around Queenstown, the Adventure Capital of the World. If you want to be tied up & thrown off with a friend, then The Kawarau Bridge Bungy is the Bungy Site for you unless you want to try The Nevis Bungy, New Zealand’s Highest Bungy! Renowned as one of the most exhilarating things to do in Queenstown! Not applicable on photo, video and shop.

    Kawarau Bungy Centre, Rapid #1693 S.H.6 Gibbston Valley, Queenstown. Tel : 0800 286 495

  • 5% Off

    Siberia Experience - Fly - Walk – Jetboat

    Experience four hours of unique New Zealand Wilderness Adventure by air, land and water. On these spectacular walks you journey into Mount Aspiring World Heritage National Park and experience nature at its best. Don’t miss one of NZ’s best walks! The combination of these 3 elements is a New Zealand wilderness adventure not to be missed. Great value for money. Siberia Experience: Fly 25mins, Walk 3hrs, Jetboat 30mins. Blue Pools Nature Experience: Fly 30mins, Walk 2.5hrs, Jetboat 1hr.

    Departs Makarora near Wanaka. Tel : 0800 345 666