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Best time to visit Queenstown

Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most exciting and beautiful destinations, and if you come to the region you’ll understand why.

Queenstown sits on the shore of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu among dramatic alpine ranges; it’s rumoured that gold prospectors – captivated bythe majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains and rivers – gave this now cosmopolitan town its name. Queenstown is the home of the ultimate adventure bucket list. 

Spring in Queestown

Spring in Queenstown, from October to Decemder, is a time for fun and discovery. The green valleys burst with fresh spring buds and green pastures yet are surrounded by snow-capped peaks, heralding the arrival of spring. Spring is a unique season when you can literally do everything Queenstown has on offer.

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With the ski fields open until early October, but the basin green with fresh growth, you can ski in the morning and either golf, mountain bike or hike in the afternoons. The renowned hiking trails are open, so whether you’re enjoying spring skiing, cycling, hiking or golfing you can pack a lot of adventure into one day.  

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The Queenstown area is also known as a wine growing region, in particular for its Pinot Noir variety and top growing conditions mean the area has more than its fair share of award-winning vintages. Spring is a pretty time in the vineyards and wine tours are a great way to discover the wineries and vineyards. Spend an afternoon soaking up the scenery, sampling Pinot Noir, and nibbling a gourmet platter of local produce al fresco, surrounded by spring blooms.

As well the action on and off the mountain in spring there are also many exciting events in the Queenstown region held during the season. 

The annual Winter Games NZ is held from the end of August for two weeks at the beginning of spring. This prestigious winter sports event showcases some of the world’s best winter athletic talent competing in freestyle skiing, snowboarding, alpine skiing, cross country skiing and curling over 26 snow and ice events.

The Arrowtown Spring Arts Festival in from 3 October – 14 November includes a pop-up market in the Buckingham Green. The festival will see artists and students take over the town to create amazing pieces during a range of workshops including painting and photography classes and walks.

In November the Air New Zealand Queenstown International Marathon hits Queenstown’s streets and trails. The full marathon starts just outside of Arrowtown and incorporates a mixture of road and trail running.

Summer in Queestown

Summer in Queenstown means long sunny days and fresh alpine air. It means food, drink, socialising and an irresistible desire for adventure—whether it’s adrenaline-fuelled or leisurely exploration for an unforgettable Queenstown summer holiday. The longer days and evenings are perfect for getting outdoors and enjoying the diversity of landscapes and range of things to do that the region is world-famous for. 

Airbnb and Vrbo vacation apartments and houses for rent
Airbnb and Vrbo vacation apartments and houses for rent

Make the most of the sunshine and get out on the water on Lake Wakatipu. Options include racing along with one of Queenstown’s four jet boat operators, sailing above the water while parasailing, kayaking, or taking a leisurely lake cruise on a vintage steamship or luxury yacht. Fill your day with adventure and activities or relax on the beaches and go swimming or fishing on the lake and surrounding rivers. It’s also peak season to enjoy the region’s internationally renowned hiking and biking trails.

Of course the tease of an adrenaline fix is what has brought so many people to Queenstown in the early days of adventure. From skydiving and bungy jumping, to speeding along in an enclosed shark-like watercraft or a thrilling ride in a jet boat—coming inches from the canyon’s jagged outcrops. On land, there’s also four-wheel driving, buggy and dirt bike operators around the region—or for a real taste of luxury, scenic helicopter flights from Queenstown to glaciers, mountain tops and picnic stops, provide just the right amount of excitement.  The heady days of summer are the perfect time to the take to the air flight-seeing or head out on a road trip and explore the region’s outlying towns including Glenorchy, Arrowtown and Kingston.

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Summer is the perfect time to explore, discover and write your own adventures.However you explore the region and whatever you choose to do, there is certainly no place like Queenstown in summer!

Autumn in Queestown

Queenstown delivers an unforgettable autumn experience. The outstanding golden and red hues dominate the hills around the region and contrast strikingly with the deep blue of our lakes and rivers—here you can truly immerse yourself in the wonder of the season. Of the four distinct seasons, autumn’s arrival in a blaze of reds and golds is the most dramatic, attracting visitors, artists and photographers from around the world. 

There is also a seemingly endless supply of world-renowned adventure activities ranging from skydiving, bungy jumping, jet boating and paragliding to aerobatic flights, horse trekking, rafting and 4WD, quad bike or off road tours.

For a more relaxed pace, tee up a round of golf, take a boat cruise or scenic flight, sample award-winning Central Otago wines and superb local cuisine, enjoy a treatment at a luxury spa or explore the town’s many shops, galleries, bars, cafes and restaurants.

Airbnb and Vrbo vacation apartments and houses for rent
Airbnb and Vrbo vacation apartments and houses for rent

The Queenstown Trail is a New Zealand Great Ride and the 110km network of trails in the Wakatipu basin wind between rivers, lakes and mountain ranges giving easy access to some iconic Queenstown vistas and experiences. Popular spots such as Queenstown Bay, Frankton, Lake Hayes, Arrowtown or Gibbston’s ‘valley of vines’ can all be accessed via the Queenstown Trail—and many of these spots offer especially wonderful displays of autumn colour.

More challenging biking options include heli-biking, road rides, a bike park and the Southern Hemisphere’s only gondola assisted mountain biking. Bike operators and rental providers offer a range of hire packages and guided tour options whether it’s for an hour or a multi-day trip.

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A trip to Queenstown isn’t complete without a visit to Arrowtown, the historic gold mining village on the banks of the Arrow River. Arrowtown is celebrated for its famous autumn hues when the trees on the surrounding hills turn red and gold.

Winter in Queestown

Nestled alongside the pristine waters of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by majestic, snowcapped mountains, Queenstown is the perfect winter holiday destination.  Whether you have an appetite for adventure, mountains and fresh air or are more at home enjoying a delicious meal and fine wine next to a roaring fire, get away from the everyday and escape to Queenstown.

The cosmopolitan town has a welcoming, vibrant energy that resonates across the resort to make Queenstown a unique holiday destination—and at no time is this more obvious than in winter, when skiers and boarders, or those just curious about snow, gather here to lap up the fun. 

Big enough to offer a wide range of accommodation, activities, four ski areas, events, eateries and bars—yet small enough to make you feel like you belong. 

Airbnb and Vrbo vacation apartments and houses for rent
Airbnb and Vrbo vacation apartments and houses for rent

The region’s four ski areas, all within a handy 20 to 90-minute drive of Queenstown, open from early June and offer a range of terrain for all levels whether you’re keen to conquer the basics, enjoy groomed runs, tackle off-piste, throw down some freestyle tricks or experience the thrill of night skiing. With the first snowfalls, you can feel the buzz in town as skiers and snowboarders gear up for a season of fun.

If the thrill of mountain climbing is what you are after The Remarkables Ice & Mixed Festival in 13 – 16 August 2020 brings together winter alpine climbers from around New Zealand and overseas to advance and promote modern mixed and ice climbing. 

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Just before the first buds of spring start to arrive, but still very wintery, the Winter Games NZ attracts world class athletes in late August to compete for glory in freestyle skiing, snowboarding, alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. The sporting action is complemented by a festival programme, after all snow and partying go hand in hand together. The Games run 21 August – 5th September in 2020.

All year around, Queenstown is the best vacation destination. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, luxury or a family break, it is an ideal place to visit. There is a wide range of accomodation and activities.