It’s known as a global adventure capital, but behind the thrilling activities, adrenaline pumping adventures and backpacker haunts, there is a whole other side to Queenstown that can be enjoyed the whole year round.
Flanked by majestic mountain ranges and situated on a glistening, mesmerising lake, Queenstown shines in any season. However, there is no experience quite like visiting this southern gem in winter, when crisp blue days and clear cool nights present the perfect opportunity to explore this stunning alpine town.
Whether it’s your first time to Queenstown, or it’s one of your favourite places to visit year-in and year-out, deciding how to spend your time there is tough. Whatever type of holiday it is that you’re looking for – relaxing, adventurous, sporty or family fun – Queenstown really is a town that serves up everything you could possibly ask for. It’s certainly not a town that lets winter put a dampener on things. In fact, the colder months are when things really start to warm up!
Here are 6 things that you’ll definitely want to add to your bucket list for your next winter escape to Queenstown:
1. Hit the slopes
It goes without saying that if you’re looking for a winter adventure then the many ski slopes should certainly be on your must-do list of things to do in Queenstown for families. There are a range of fields to choose from – the Remarkables, Coronet Peak and Cardrona, which is a little further afield towards the township of Wanaka. Even if you’re not one to throw yourself down a mountain, it can still be a fun experience to play around in the snow and enjoy a mulled wine in the cafeteria while watching the thrills (and spills!) of others.
2. Warm up in the hot pools
Defrost after a day on the mountain with a steamy dip at the Onsen Hot Pools at Arthurs Point. It’s an incredible experience to be soaking in hot, pure water, under a starry sky with views of snow-capped mountains. That’s right – the roof of your private hot tub is retractable, so you can gaze at the clear southern stars while soaking away your aches or worries. Treat yourself to a spa and wellness day without the kids, or surprise your partner for a romantic escape.
3. Cruise in style
Lake Wakatipu is the glistening gem in Queenstown’s crown, and there’s no better way to enjoy it and the incredible views of the mountains than by getting out on the water. There are a number of options depending on the experience you are after – from the iconic TSS Earnslaw, to small boat excursions and private charters, to white-knuckle speed boat rides.
4. Step out in town
A visit to Queenstown wouldn’t be complete without checking out the local nightlife. Queenstown serves up a melting pot of restaurants, chic bars and bustling night spots. Because Queenstown is a favourite spot for backpackers, it’s quite acceptable to go out rugged up in one of your favourite hoodies or snug winter coats. In saying that though, if you want to step it up a notch and enjoy some of the town’s top cuisine, a night out in the alpine village presents the perfect opportunity for your fabulous faux fur pieces to make an appearance! There’s nothing more glamorous than an exquisite faux-fur piece to really make a statement. The best part is that your faux-fur coat is also perfect for a day out sight-seeing around town.
5. A winery visit
Queenstown is blessed with the perfect blend of conditions to produce some of the country’s best wine. Set against the backdrop of stunning scenery, Queenstown boasts a range of wineries where you can sample their drops and enjoy a delicious lunch with the family. Don’t forget to pick up a few bottles that you can take home to enjoy in front of the fire.
6. Join the party
The iconic Queenstown Winter Festival is an event that you’ll want to take full advantage of if you’re lucky enough to be in town. Running for 10 days in June, the festival celebrates the culture and community of Queenstown with a whole range of events and celebrations. It’s a time when the town really comes alive, turning Queenstown into a true winter wonderland with an incredible atmosphere.
With so much to see and do, we really could go on and on, so the best thing is to get yourself there to experience and explore for yourself! A visit to Queenstown should definitely be on your bucket list – but deciding how to spend your days will be the hard bit!
What are your favourite things to do in Queenstown; do you have any secret gems that you’re willing to share? Post them in the comments below.
Do you like what you read above? You could win a wonderful weekend away for two in stunning Queenstown, New Zealand where you’ll enjoy staying at the luxurious Heritage Queenstown – a world class lodge offering postcard views of Lake Wakatipu.