queen 5American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

Surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains and the crystal clear waters of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is the perfect snow destination, whether you have an appetite for adventure, mountains and fresh air or are more at home tracking down a delicious meal, fine wine and a roaring log fire.

Each June, the region transforms into a winter wonderland, attracting snow sports enthusiasts from around the globe with incredible scenery, crisp blue-sky days and easy access to some of New Zealand's finest skiing. 

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With the first snowfalls, you can feel the buzz in town as skiers and snowboarders head to the mountains in search of fresh tracks and fun.

Six ski fields, all within a 20 to 90-minute drive of Queenstown, offer a range of terrain for all levels, whether you’re keen to conquer the basics, have a go at tubing, enjoy groomed runs, tackle off-piste, throw down some freestyle tricks or experience the thrill of night skiing.

queen 4American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

Coronet Peak is Queenstown’s closest ski area and is a 25-minute drive from downtown. Multi-million dollar investments have transformed this much-loved ‘locals’ mountain into a world-class experience with magnificent views, a stunning base building, fantastic on-mountain facilities and state-of-the- art snowmaking system. It’s scheduled to open on June 8.

The Remarkables is a true alpine experience just a 45-minute drive from central Queenstown. With its high alpine location, sunny aspect and relaxed atmosphere, it’s become a firm local favourite. Features include wide open bowls, progressive terrain parks, snow tubing, a gentle learners’ area ideal for first time fun, and high alpine bowls and chutes for adrenaline lovers. It’s scheduled to open on June 22.

queen 6American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

Cardrona Alpine Resort has a laid-back and friendly vibe, deep snow cover, wide open slopes, serious half pipes, steep chutes and an extensive terrain park for freestylers, great family facilities, and on-mountain accommodation. Cardrona is an hour’s drive from Queenstown and shuttle options are available. It’s scheduled to open on June 21.

Treble Cone is the South Island’s biggest ski area and a favourite for advanced skiers and snowboarders, with the longest vertical rise in the Southern Lakes, two large basins, great off-piste terrain and stunning views. Novices are also well catered for with a dedicated learning area. The ski area is an hour and a half’s drive or a short 15-minute flight from Queenstown. It’s scheduled to open on June 27.

queen 7American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

Snow Farm is New Zealand’s only Nordic ski area, with 55 kilometres of excellent skiing or skating across a range of groomed trails in rolling hill country. Located in the Cardrona Valley high up in the Pisa Range, it has superb views of the Southern Alps and on-site lodge accommodation. It’s an hour’s drive from Queenstown and is scheduled to open at the end of June.

And the best time to visit? During the ‘10 coolest days’ in New Zealand – Queenstown's iconic Winter Festival – which this year takes place from June 20 to 29.

queen 8American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

The Winter Festival began back in 1975, when a group of locals decided that the start of winter was a good excuse for a party. Today this is the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest winter celebration, which sees locals and visitors take to the streets and ski slopes each June to welcome winter 'Queenstown style'.

queen 1American Express Queenstown Winter Festival

The festival celebrates Queenstown’s unique culture and community with mountain races, street parties, fireworks, international and local acts, jazz, comedy, Mardi Gras, family fun and plenty of quirky action up the region’s legendary ski slopes.